Do you know what sets wedding photographers and videographers apart from many other professions? It's the permanence of their work. Unlike other industries where a dissatisfied client might return a faulty product for a replacement or refund, in our industry, there's no room for mistakes. If we miss a shot or lose a file, we can't recreate those special moments. This responsibility is enormous, similar to a doctor's role. But unlike doctors, we can backup our work.
Unfortunately, many wedding photographers and videographers do not prioritize backup and file management as much as they should. We believe it's the most crucial aspect of our job—nothing else before, during, or after a wedding is more important than securing those files.
As you'll see, it's surprisingly easy to lose files.
So, let me walk you through the best practices for file backup, storage, and protection.
Rule Number One
Always to record on two cards simultaneously. This way, if one card fails, you have a backup. Think of it like a skydiver who always carries two parachutes. It's a matter of life and death, just like our client files.
Most modern cameras have two slots for SD cards, so use them. Depending on your shooting style, 64GB SD cards should suffice for a day's work. But always shoot on two cards simultaneously. It's a small investment for a huge security gain.
Now let's move on to videographers. Interestingly, very few videographers I've met record on two cards, mainly because they find it expensive. But let's do the math. If you're shooting on two cameras in a day, which you should, a 256GB card (around $70) should suffice for your main camera. Your secondary camera can make do with a lesser storage card, say 128GB or 256GB. So, your total backup for two cameras for a day would cost around $200—a small price to pay for peace of mind.
"This is MANDATORY rules in our company" – CEO of Lana & Aleks Photography
Rule Number Two
If you're working in tandem with someone else, make it a habit to swap SD cards. The process should be such that the chief videographer takes all the photo SD cards and the lead photographer receives all the video SD cards. They exchange these at the commencement of the wedding and swap back at the conclusion. This method ensures that each person departs with all the raw footage from the day, creating an additional backup and spreading the risk.
Rule Number Three
Irrespective of your role as a photographer or a videographer, make it a non-negotiable to backup your SD cards immediately upon returning home, regardless of the hour.
Aim to store your backup in two distinct locations, preferably cloud storage and a physical hard drive. This redundancy further safeguards your files, protecting against both hardware failure and physical damage or loss. This seemingly tedious process goes a long way in ensuring that those precious moments captured on your cards are always secure and accessible.
Following these steps might seem like overkill. But for our company, client files are everything. We always back up the backup, and then back up that backup. This diligence is what makes us the best in our field.