My Portrait Session Workflow - File Management
When I return from a portrait session the first thing I do is get the photos off the card. The time between when I take the photos and I get back to my desk is stressful for me...I just cannot wait to back up the photos! I use Lightroom to import the photos off the cf card. When I put the card in the reader, Lightroom will launch and ask me if I'd like to import the photos. I create a new directory to import them into (my structure is /2010 Portraits/MMDD_ClientName/Originals/ in case you care). On this same screen, Lightroom will give you an option for making a copy to a secondary location. I used to backup the originals straight to DVD, but now instead I backup to the virtual backup drive that is connected to the online backups (using a similar structure: /LIVEDRIVE/2010 Portraits/MMDD_ClientName/Originals). Then I just watch while Lightroom imports the photos to my hard-drive AND to my virtual backup drive.
[NOTE: If you have large files or a lot of files from a session or a wedding, it is important that you keep your computer on and connected to the Internet while the files have a chance to backup to the server. If you are backing up a large number of files for the first time...this can take a VERY long time. I do this on my desktop so I don't have to worry about waiting for this process to finish. The only problems I've had with files not backing up completely are when I shut down my computer before they've completely uploaded.]
Automatic Backups While I Work
The other option with LiveDrive it to set specific folders to automatically backup to the server if it sees that there is a change in the file or the addition of a new file. This is great for backing up not online the files you are working on, but any local copy of documents, your actions directory, and even the directory that you download all those great templates you buy. You'd hate to have spent good money on templates and then loose them! I have the directory where I work on sessions setup to automatically backup. This means when I generate PSD files, they are backed up. When I crop proofs they are backed up.
Saving my A$$
So, computers go down. Hard drives fail. Bad things happen (how many of you have spilled diet coke on your laptops). So having an easy backup solution is critical. I used to back up to DVD and to an external drive but then I had trouble accessing my external drive, and I have WAY too many DVDs for that to be practical. Plus, if something happened my house house where all this stuff is stored, I'd be out of luck. How many of you have some sort of off-site storage? GET ONE! Recently I had a request to order some reprints from a session from December of last year. Well, since December my computer had a major melt-down and had to be completely wiped and reinstalled. And thankfully those files were saved on my online backup so I could get to them.
Double the Fun
Now, because we are a little fanatical here, we double our backups. My husband setup another computer at our home whose job it is to go see what is on the LiveDrive, and back it up to that computer. So that makes our process
Copy files to workstation -> copy files to online backup -> copy files to second workstation
We figure that way if anything every happened to LiveDrive, at least we have another backup. Probably overkill for most folks but a nice safety net.
Now Macs Can Play Too, and more
The last time we wrote about LiveDrive it was PC only. But they have recently come out with a beta version for Mac.
I have multiple computers I work on. I have a primary workstation, a secondary workstation, a PC laptop, and a Mac Air Laptop. Yah, a lot to keep track of. So that makes it especially wonderful for me to have everything automatically backing up online so I can get to it from the other computers. And there is a web portal which means I can log into the website from ANY computer and access something if I'm not at one of my computers and need to get to something.
The pricing for a year of the service is around $150 and it has definitely saved me MORE than that in security and time. Heck, it has probably saved that much in DVDs.