Memory Cards and digital storage | Photography Basics

There’s a saying that goes something like “Nothing exists in digital unless it exists in at least two different places”. It’s good advice on its own but here’s a coupe of other things you should consider.


Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

Back up by uploading and burning.

The future is in the Clouds.

Photography Basics Memory Gate


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The first is in reference to memory cards. It’s very tempting to buy big ones that can hold hundreds of photos but I prefer to stick with 4GB cards.

This is for three reasons.

1. On a 4GB card I fit about 120 RAW files which for me is more than enough for a portrait session.

2. A DVD can easily hold 4GB of data.

3. They are cheap enough for me to have a lot of them.


Uploading and burning


When I have finished a shoot I download my cards to an external hard-drive which is backed up by another hard-drive and then I burn a DVD of the files which I then archive. I then upload the RAW files to cloud based storage. When I am done editing the images I upload them to cloud storage and keep them backed up on two hard-drives.

This means that I actually have 4 different places where I can access these images if something goes wrong. Most importantly one of these is off site (the cloud storage) so if there is a fire in my office I will still be able to access them.


It’s also worth noting that I use external hard-drives because photos will use up too much space on my desktop hard-drive and slow down its performance.


DVDs are OK for storing images but they don’t last forever and some only last a couple of years.


Hard-drives always fail, it’s not if, but when.


Memory cards


By using one card from each shoot it means that if there is a problem with one of the cards I only lose one shoot. It’s better to lose one shoot than four or five from the same day.


I also number all my cards and use them in order. If I have 10 portrait sessions in a week I know that I will be photographing on card 1 for the first shoot, card 2 for the second and so on. If I forget to download a card then I’m pretty sure what number it is and it’s highly unlikely that I’ve worked my way through all my cards that I’ve formatted it and photographed over it.


Don’t chimp


Chimping is the act of deleting images in camera as you go. In some cameras it can corrupt your memory cards but essentially it’s a bad habit to get into. What are you missing whilst you’re looking at the back of your camera? How can you really judge an image from a small thumbnail? If you get too comfortable deleting images you might delete the wrong one!


Cloud storage


Think about all of the photos you have on your phone. Do you have a backup of those anywhere?


Phones are probably the worst place to store images the second being the in-built hard-drive on a cheap laptop.


There are lots of good cloud storage companies to look at but one that gets a lot of usage from me is Dropbox. It’s really good for backing up photos from multiple devices.

Sign up for free Dropbox Account


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