2020: Photo Backup Scheme

I have written about this before, and I thought it was time to update it. I was using Aperture last time I really worried about this, and that is not even a product anymore. My tools have also changed, back then I had a Nikon D80, a Fujifilm f200EXR, and my iPhone as a third device, but never the primary device.

With kids, the iPhone 11 Pro is the primary shooting device, which I pair up with a DJI Osmo Mobile 3 gimbal, but I have also added to my "arsenal" some niche devices, Nikon D5200 (also old), a GoPro Hero 3 black(old now too!) and a DJI Mavic Air 2. Pictures come in from the iPhone unless I am doing a specific shoot that requires the technical captures.

With this iPhone centric shooting, I decided to go all-in on iCloud. The neat thing about iCloud is that it stores all your images in full-res, the not so neat thing is that it all counts against your storage. However you always have access to your full library! If you have some time and you decide to start working on a video of your last road trip, its all there on your Apple Devices.

The Photos app is adequate, but importing from it to Lightroom is no big deal. I don't feel like I'm missing out there either. Plug-in your device to your Mac, everything gets added to iCloud, its in your phone in seconds.

How about backups? This is the most important part of this whole thing. I don't want to lose a shot! Well, in addition to iCloud, I have a Mac Mini attached to a Drobo 5D that has redundant storage. This means, 2 of the 5 drives on the NAS can fail and no data would be lost. Then that gets synced up to a second portable HD that I can move around if I need to work with hard-copies. Finally I also have Amazon Prime Photos backup-agent running on it which backs it up to a second cloud.

Capture Device -> Photos (Mac Laptop) -> iCloud -> Photos (Mac Server) -> Drobo + Portable + Amazon Prime Photos

This is obviously overkill since the 3-2-1 backup system works 99% of the time but it has made me very confident that my work is safe and the extra access to images has created quite a few fun video montages of family fun that I would not have thought of otherwise.