Here's what happens after your photography session.
To say that I'm a control freak would be an understatement. I have...ways of doing things that I feel have to be done just so. My home needs to be clean, my computer needs to be shut down AND unplugged at night (in case of a sudden lightning storm), and I always have to check to make sure I turned off the oven (multiple times). Maybe I have obsessive compulsive disorder. It drives my husband crazy. However, I promise you that I have reasons behind my craziness.
The main driving force behind most of my actions here is data. To be specific, my clients' pictures...especially wedding pictures which cannot be recreated. Here are some of my literal thought processes:
What if there's a power surge or lightning and my computer is wiped clean?
What if I leave my straightener on and it catches on fire, burns my apartment down, and all of my files are lost? (not to mention everything else I own)
What if I drop my computer and it jolts the hard drive?
What if a giant magnet (think Breaking Bad) somehow gets close to my computer and my external hard drive? (Ok, that one is a joke)
You get what I mean. There are a lot of bad things out there that could happen. The thought of losing someone's wedding day makes me absolutely SICK to my stomach. You have no idea.
But this is where my OCD-ness comes in handy. There is no way possible for me to lose a wedding day because of the system I have in place (unless I get in a fiery car crash on my way home from the wedding or the cards are stolen from me before I get home or again, magnet. I have issues).
Here is my lock tight back up system that I perform for every single session:
1. When I get home, I immediately go through all of the cards and transfer them to my computer.
2. I then begin backing up the files on the computer to the cloud. I use a cloud back up system called Carbonite. My files are automatically uploaded. Having a cloud back up is extremely important to me because it protects against physical threats like fire and theft and computer issues like viruses, accidental deletion, and hard drive failure. The RAW image files are never removed from Carbonite because I have unlimited storage.
3. Then I back up the files locally to my external hard drive. This is in case something happens to my computer. For most people, three backups would be enough. I'm not most people.
4. I then back up the files to a USB drive. This USB drive goes in my car as an additional off-site backup.
So, we've got the files in four places: computer, cloud, hard drive, USB. Why? Because I care deeply about my clients' memories. They are paying me for a service and this is a huge part of that service. I have never lost a client's files but I know that the first time it happens would be the last...because I would probably want to crawl in a hole and die and never shoot another session again.
That's why I proactively protect the images and I would encourage anyone who is considering hiring a photographer, to ask that photographer what they do to ensure they won't lose their images. This will be a tell-tale sign of how dedicated that photographer is. I have heard of a photographer here in Amarillo who failed to even transfer the images to her computer in a timely manner. A few days after she photographed the wedding, all of her gear, including her SD cards, were stolen from her car. All of the wedding pictures...gone. Forever.
Stories like this are why I do what I do. Call me crazy...but it works.