photo representing a 3-2-1 image back-up system

Image Back-up: Are Your Images Safe From Catastrophe?

Updated March 2022

Are Your Images Safe? What is your image back-up strategy?

Here is a simple image back-up system we use at Gilmour Photography to protect every image from the camera to the archive. The instant the shutter clicks a duplicate RAW image is captured on a back-up drive built into the camera. Instant back-up means that in the event of data loss, damage or corruption we always have a back-up of your images.

Before leaving your photo shoot another image back-up is made to our laptop creating a triple back-up before we even leave the photo shoot. Keep reading to find out how we back-up the images after the shoot.

3-2-1 Image Back-Up

Simply put, the 3-2-1 photo back-up system means:

  • 3 separate copies of the photos are backed-up
  • 2 different media or hard drives are used for the back-up
  • 1 copy of the images are backed-up in a different geographic location

3 Copies of Each Image

  1. Copy 1, upon arrival at the photo studio in Calgary, the images are copied to a set of mirrored hard drives in our photo editing work station.
  2. Copy 2, the images are uploaded to our cloud storage. The cloud storage is a pair of data centres. Read more about our cloud image back-up.
  3. Copy 3, a back-up is made to an external RAID array kept in our Calgary photo studio. This back up is for long term redundant storage.

2 Media Types Are Used For Image Back-Up

Our images are backed up to multiple media types.

  • One copy is on the mirrored hard drives in our photo editing work station.
  • One copy is on solid state drives in our cloud storage data centres.
  • One copy is on a tape back-up in our cloud storage data centres.
  • One copy is on the HDD RAID array we use for long-term image back-up at the studio

1 Copy In Multiple Geographic Locations

For long term image back-up we store the images in multiple geographic locations so they are safe from natural disasters and catastrophes.

One copy of the images is made to an external RAID array kept in our Calgary photo studio.

Another copy is saved in the cloud at a pair of military grade data centers. One data centre is located on the East Coast and the other on the West Coast. Read more about our cloud image back-up.

When a hard drive crashes or a disc is damaged we always have another copy. If you lose an image we can send you a replacement, ususally on the same day, via our cloud back-up system.

For a deeper dive into the 3-2-1 photo backup workflow see this article at PetaPixel

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