Weekend Projects

Take Care of This This Weekend, and Save Yourself Some Serious Heartache Down the Road

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Think right now about all the digital photos you have on your computer hard drive. Take a moment to relish the thought of all those memories, preserved: your college trip backpacking through Europe, your wedding, your baby’s first steps, your family portraits through the years, all of which you can go back and look at any time a reminiscent mood strikes. Now imagine that they are gone in the blink of an eye. This weekend, set up a backup system to make sure that cold feeling of dread and panic never comes over you.

Don’t think that because your photos are on an external hard drive that you’ve backed up. According to the 3-2-1 principle, you should have three different copies of your data (original and two copies), on two different storage types, with at least one copy at a different site than the other two.

This Weekend’s Assignment: Get a Photo Backup Workflow in Place

Create a Digital Photo Hub

The best way to make sure all of your digital photos are backed up is to create a workflow that gets them all into one central, dedicated place, called the Digital Photo Hub. This is where every original photo you take will live. For most of us, the majority of our photos will come from our phones and maybe from another camera.

Back Up Your Photos — In Two Places

The photos from your Digital Photo Hub need to then be backed up onto another hard drive and also onto the cloud. Backing up to the cloud takes care of having a third copy of your pictures and of having one copy offsite.

I personally back up all my iPhone photos on Dropbox and eventually (regularly) move them over to my hard drive with my camera photos. My hard drive is my Digital Photo Hub (where all my originals live), which is then backed up onto another hard drive in the house and also to the cloud through CrashPlan.

CrashPlan can be set up to automatically back up to the cloud and to another hard drive; that’s why I chose it. Wirecutter explains extensively why it’s a good option. Other popular backup services include Backblaze and Carbonite. Read more about them here.

It’s Only a Time Investment Once

This is a big project, and can be mentally overwhelming. You probably won’t finish backing everything up this weekend. But making the commitment to a backup plan, getting started, and making a checklist of items that need to be completed in order to finish will give you peace of mind and insurance against the poignant pain of losing your precious photos.

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Remember, as with all of our Weekend Projects, just do what you have the time and energy to do. This is a marathon, not a sprint!

  • Help motivate others by letting the rest of us know how things are going! Share your tips and photos of your Weekend Project work on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #ATweekendproject.
  • Check out 2017’s entire Plan for a Healthy & Happy Home to access all Weekend Project ideas, so you can pick and choose what to do this weekend.