I Have My Wedding Photos: Now What? | 4 Steps to Backing Up Your Wedding Day Images
You’ve spent months (or years) planning every detail of your wedding day, played mediator when it came to guest list drama with family, invested thousands of dollars into your wedding photography experience, and had the time of your life celebrating marrying your best friend. A few months later, you receive a stunning gallery of wedding images from your photographer and relive the moments over and over again (and just in time, because post-wedding depression is setting in pretty strong!). A few weeks later, you’re settling into married life and maybe look through your online gallery once a week, instead of every hour and eventually download all the images onto your computer before the online gallery expiration date. Either that, or you have a thumb drive from your photographer of wedding images shoved in a drawer somewhere in the spare bedroom.
You have a beautiful documentation of your wedding day but how can you protect those memories for decades to come? And we can’t leave out a nightmare scenario: what if something happens to your computer and those precious images are gone forever?! (cue “dun dun duuunnnnn” horror movie sound effect)
It’s likely your wedding photographer has clause in your contract outlining how long they keep your wedding files for. Typically, this is one year, but I wouldn’t plan on relying on that as a backup plan! Here’s four simple backup strategies in order to preserve the memories of your wedding day!
1. Use External Hard Drives
This is one of the easiest ways to keep your images backed up. A general rule of thumb is the more places your images live, the less likely you are to lose them in the event of one of those sources failing. External drives are also fairly inexpensive and a small price to pay for peace of mind!
So how do you actually backup your images once you have your external hard drive? The answer is fairly simple. All you need to do is copy your wedding image files (copy, not move!) from your local computer to a new folder on your external drive.
I recommend using two external hard drives to backup your wedding images. The first: stored locally. The second: stored off-site. Offsite meaning at your office, your parent’s house, your third cousin twice removed, etc.. any location you’re able to store a hard drive outside of your home. Another nightmare situation: you have your wedding images on your local computer, and two external hard drives, but they’re all stored at your home and your house goes up in flames while you’re out of town. THE WORST! But luckily for you (besides.. you know, losing your entire home), you can hop on over to your parent’s house and know your wedding images are still safe.
Here’s a couple brands I highly recommend:
And if you have a little more cash to spare, I’d go with this one:
2. Harness the Cloud
Another solid step in your backup system is backing up your image files in the cloud. Going back to that nightmare house fire situation (I know.. I’m starting to become a downer here), if you had one of your external hard drives stored off-site as well as a cloud backup, you’d have double the protection for keeping your images safe! Most Cloud backups are automatic so you don’t even have to think about it. In addition to having images on your local computer and two external drives, I’d also highly recommend setting up your computer up to a cloud backup system! Here’s some great ones:
iCloud (50 GB for .99 a month)
Amazon Drive (up to 5 GB of free storage with a Prime membership or $11.99 a year for 100 GB)
Backblaze (this baby is only $5 a month)
With cloud storage that cheap, there’s truly no excuse for not having your wedding images safely stored in the cloud!
Here’s a handy dandy graphic for my fellow visual leaners:
*Quick note on cloud backups: You can also set up external drives to back up to whichever cloud service you decide on. For sake of simplicity, I excluded that option the graphic above, but it’s just another layer of protection for your images!
3. Invest in Albums + Prints
One of the best ways to preserve your wedding day memories is through a gorgeous wedding album and professional prints. Most of you have heard me talk about how important wedding albums are. Not only is an heirloom wedding album and prints an incredible final piece to your wedding experience, but it’s also another form of preserving your wedding day memories. Technology is wonderful and taking the above steps to protect your images is a necessary first step, but technology does fail sometimes. A wedding album does not require internet, software updates and doesn’t have the potential to become corrupted and crash. It’s an incredible heirloom that stands the test of time for generations to come, no subscription needed. If you recently got married and your collection didn’t come with an album, chances are your wedding photographer still offers beautiful albums and professional prints you can invest in. If you’re one of my past wedding clients and didn’t purchase an album at the time of your wedding, feel free to reach out and I will send you some info!
4. Don’t put all your eggs in one backup basket
Relying on only one backup source for your wedding images is simply not enough. Let’s say your wedding images are stored on your computer and are backed up to the cloud as well. You might think you’re fine if something happens to your computer. But if your computer crashes and your cloud drive wasn’t updated or something went wrong with your account, you’d be out of luck. The same goes for only relying on externals or prints in your home. The more places your images are stored the more secure they’ll be. And by taking a moment to review some of the steps above and implementing a solid backup plan, you can rest easy knowing your wedding memories will last a lifetime. Don’t forgot about your family photos and portrait session images as well!
I know technology and backups can be a bit overwhelming, especially if something as simple as turning on your computer is difficult task! So if you have any questions on this, just ask!