The fabulous Chase Jarvis provides a very detailed overview of how to backup your photographs and other digital content.  Although this is aimed at professionals and serious amateurs its a valid lesson for everyone.  These days we all have an awful lot of digital media – be it music, photos, movies and videos.  I’m saddened to report that a good percentage of my friends have no backup’s in place.   That’s crazy and it really bugs.   In very simple terms everyone should

  1. Have at least two copies of all of their digital media at home.  Be that be two separate computers or one computer and an additional backup hard drive.
  2. Have an offsite backup somewhere.  Be that at your office, a friend or family member’s home or maybe a safety deposit box.  And make sure that the offsite copy gets updated frequently, at least once a month. 

Specific to the offsite copy, the simplest approach is to buy two external hard drives of the same size (this will vary depending on how much digital content you have).  One of these always lives offsite.  The other one if kept up-to-date at home.  Then, once a month take the ‘current’ one to the offsite location and swap it for the ‘old one’.  Over the next month you update the ‘old one’ so that it is ‘current’ and then take that to the offsite location and swap it. 

I know this might sound like a pain, but this is your insurance.  And just like car/home/boat insurance the only time you need it is when the accident happens.   If you don’t do this sooner or later you will likely loose all or most of your most important memories.  And that would suck. 

The reality is, specific to hard drives there are only two types of people in this world.  First, there are those people that have had a hard drive fail on them.  And then, second, there are those people that are about to have a hard drive fail on them.  Sooner or later it will happen so get ready. 

Anyway, enough from me, now watch the Chase, the true expert in this!  


This may well be the most important behind-the-scenes video we’ve made to date. Not because it’s fancy or sexy, but because it covers arguably the most essential information on a set of topics that every photo and video person should understand: workflow, storage and backup of your precious images. This video covers all the ins and outs, the theory and the details of our complete photo and video workflow from capture to archive and everything in between. So whether you’re a seasoned pro, an aspiring amateur, or just starting out in photography or video we’ve worked hard to make this worth your time.

Chase Jarvis Photo + Video Workflow Map


Complete Workflow, Storage & BackUp for Photography + Video | Chase Jarvis Blog