Photo Gear,  Travel

3 Techniques to Back Up Your Photos while Traveling

A single photo back up technique may not always work for all of your photography trips.  I have used 3 different techniques for backing up my photos while traveling.

Regardless of the back up technique, I always keep two copies of each photo on different media.   Why?  Anything can happen?  The storage card can be lost or dropped in the water.  You may accidentally drop your hard drive or it may be stolen.

Here are some reasons that you may want to vary from one back up technique to another.

  • Traveling light on a small commuter plane
  • Taking a really long trip
  • Not taking a laptop
  • Electricity is not readily available
  • Just taking a day trip
  • Traveling for work and don’t have much room for photo gear

Back Up Technique 1 – Back Up to an External Hard Drive

If you are bringing a laptop, this can be an effective and inexpensive back up method.  Portable external hard drives are fairly inexpensive and take up little space in your carry on.

For this back up technique, simply bring along your card reader, a laptop, and an external hard drive.  Every day, copy the photo from your cards to a folder on the hard drive using the laptop. I like to use a different folder for each day of the trip. This approach will not work with an iPad.

CF and SD Cards

Back Up Technique 2 – Dual Card Slots

This is a really easy way to get an immediate back up of your photos.  This approach is also very useful to ensure you have immediate back up of critical photos that you just can afford to loose such as someone’s wedding or a client photo shoot.

For this technique, load two cards of the same size into your camera and set your camera to record to both card slots simultaneously.  Check out my blog on how to record to dual card slots on a Canon 5d Mark iii.

Compact flash and SD cards continue to drop in price making this an affordable approach for short trips.  However, if you are going on an extended trip, you may need to carry quite a few cards.  Also if shutter speed is a concern, this approach may not work for you.  The camera buffer may fill up a lot quicker writing to two cards.


Back up Technique 3 – Use a Multimedia Storage Device

The advance of using a Multimedia Storage Device is that you don’t need a laptop or a card reader to back up your photos to one of these devices.  These devices are like external hard drives with card readers and an LCD screen.  They come in multiple hard disk sizes and some units let you swap out the hard drive.

These multimedia storage devices are very handy, don’t take up much room, and can also be used on day trips to back up your photos.  The down side is that this technology is still developing and the reviews on many of the devices indicate some of the devices may not be completely reliable.  So far, I like the Sanho HyperDrive COLORSPACE UDMA2 device that I purchased.  Check out my review on this multimedia storage device on my blog.

Related Blog Posts
Sanho HyperDrive COLORSPACE UDMA2 Multimedia Storage Review
Travel Light for Photography – Canon 5D Mark III Dual Card Slots
Top Tips for Travel Photography

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