Just recently a professional photographer friend of mine texted me in a pure panic about her hard drive not working. “Lexi, have you ever had to send in your external drive for recovery? Mine isn’t working.” My initial reaction was that this was just a secondary copy of files so I answered in a non-panic. “No I haven’t had to send in anything, I did have to replace a RAID drive once though, is this your copy drive?” “No” was all she wrote back. My heart sank because I know this feeling of panic. As it turns out she was able to recover almost all the files through a data recovery service (thank goodness for data recovery experts) but for a very hefty price tag. It was years of photos. As a photographer, you know that your digital images are some of your most valuable pieces of your business. But whether you’re a professional or an amateur, losing your photos due to a hardware failure can be devastating, not to mention costly. That’s where a RAID hard drive for photographers comes into play.
What is RAID?
RAID, or Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, is a technology that allows you to store your digital files on multiple hard drives simultaneously. This means that even if one drive fails, your data remains intact on the other drives. But why is this so important for photographers? In short, it’s all about protecting your work and your own peace of mind. RAID provides an additional layer of security for your images, ensuring that you won’t lose everything if your hard drive crashes. Let’s take a closer look at why a RAID hard drive is essential for photographers, how it has saved me from many headaches, and how it can help you keep your precious photos safe.
Importance of data backup for photographers
Backing up your digital files is essential, no matter what type of business you’re in. But for photographers, it’s especially critical. Your images are irreplaceable, and losing them can mean losing your entire portfolio, not to mention your reputation. In the past, photographers would rely on physical backups, such as CDs or external hard drives. While these options can still be useful, they are not foolproof. CDs can become scratched or lost, and external hard drives can fail just like any other hard drive. That’s where RAID comes in.
I talk more about how I use RAID in my photography workflow, but it is the most important part of my workflow that assures me a truly restful night, free from all those nightmares of losing images or showing up without my camera (you know you’ve had them too). RAID provides redundancy, meaning that your data is stored on multiple hard drives at the same time. This ensures that even if one drive fails, you won’t lose your data. For photographers, this means that you can continue to work with peace of mind, knowing that your images are safe and secure.
RAID hard drive benefits for photographers
So, what are the benefits of using a RAID hard drive for photography? First and foremost, RAID provides redundancy. As mentioned earlier, this means that your data is stored on multiple hard drives at the same time. So, if one drive fails, you won’t lose your images. This is especially important for photographers who work with large files, such as RAW images. Losing a single RAW file can mean losing hours of work.
Secondly, RAID can improve your workflow. With RAID, you can set up your drives to work together, meaning that you can access your images faster and more efficiently. This can save you time and improve your overall productivity.Finally, RAID can save you money in the long run. While RAID hard drives can be more expensive than traditional hard drives, they offer a higher level of protection for your data. This means that you won’t have to spend money on data recovery services or risk losing your clients due to a data breach or loss. So again, money saved. I have a story to tell.
Setting up a RAID hard drive for photography workflow
There are several different types of RAID configurations, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. The most common types of RAID for photographers are RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 5.
RAID 0 is the simplest and fastest type of RAID, but it offers no redundancy which is kind of pointless. This means that if one drive fails, you will lose all of your data. RAID 1, on the other hand, provides complete redundancy by taking 2 drives and copying from one drive to the other. My favorite RAID system is by G-RAID and is the 12TB. I use a RAID 1 so this really means 6TB of space (because it is copied on the second drive).
Other backup options for photographers
While RAID is an excellent option for data backup, it’s not the only option. There are several other backup options that photographers can use to protect their images. In addition to RAID I also use cloud storage. Cloud storage services, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, allow you to upload your images to a remote server, where they are stored securely. This provides an additional layer of protection, as your data is not stored on a physical device that can fail.
Another option is to use an external hard drive in conjunction with RAID. By backing up your data to an external hard drive, you provide an additional layer of protection in case your RAID system fails. I choose this option, so each file gets copied in triplicate—one on an internal or external drive, then the second one one RAID where it gets copied for the third time. Then all finished files are uploaded to the cloud, where they remain permanently.
Essentially, a RAID hard drive is important for photographers who want to protect their digital images from hardware failure. By providing redundancy and improving workflow, RAID can save you time and money in the long run. There are several different types of RAID configurations to choose from, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. And while RAID is an excellent option for data backup, it’s not the only option. By using a combination of backup methods, such as cloud storage and external hard drives, you can provide an additional layer of protection for your images. So, if you haven’t already, consider investing in a RAID hard drive for your photography business today.