Let’s Go On To Catalog Digital Photography


 Let’s Go On To Catalog Digital Photography

So you've picked up a cool new hobby, but you're not quite sure how to go about it? Or perhaps you're a professional photographer looking for an easy way to backup your work? Well look no further! This guide is for the absolute beginner through to the more experienced photographer with our step-by-step instructions.

It'll cover everything from choosing your first camera to mastering methods of editing, including tips and tricks for both hardware and software that will have your images looking like they came straight from a magazine in no time.

The first thing you will need is a decent camera or webcam, we'll go over some of the best at the end of this article. With that in mind, let’s take a look at your storage options.

There are many different types of hard-drives on the market today from standard to network attached storage solutions (NAS) which are very useful if you want to back up multiple computers. The main issue with these is that they require an external power source as standard HDDs are not designed for continuous operation and can quickly overheat and cause permanent damage. This leads us nicely onto Network Attached Storage devices (NAS) which are a much better option for long term storage as they do not require external power and can be placed in a box or even hidden away out of sight so you don’t have to worry about your hardware overheating. The downside to these is that they are far more expensive than standard hard-drives and only really come into their own if you want to backup multiple computers or install the device in an area with no power supply.

The next consideration is disk speed, which roughly translates into how long it takes to transfer image files from one location to another, the faster the better of course but this does come at a price premium.

The last thing to consider with hard-drives is their design, there are several different sizes and designs on the market making it very difficult to know exactly what you need before buying. The ones we are talking about here are 3.5" disks for all drives except the NAS versions which we'll explain later.

Once you’ve chosen your hardware it’s time to think about how you will backup your photographs. The first thoughts that come to mind are online services such as Flickr or 500px as these offer free accounts and allow you to keep your photos under constant watch. The main issue with taking photos using any of these services is that you will not be able to upload them for a set amount of time, usually a maximum of 90 days. There are also cheaper alternatives available such as deviantART which allows you to automatically back up images daily but will charge you per image if you want to back up multiple images at once.

On the hardware side there are multiple options, the first and most popular being an external hard-drive. You can get your data on a thumb-drive or flash memory card which is very portable but isn’t as durable as a hard-drive. If you’re planning on backing up a large amount of images then this might not be the best option for you, but there is no reason why you can’t backup your images onto an external hard-drive.

As noted above, we now have NAS drives available which allow multiple computers to share the same drive and make backing up much easier. You will definitely need to keep in mind that while these devices are more expensive than standard hard-drives they offer a lot of extra storage space and a lot more flexibility and reliability. These devices also tend to run at faster speeds compared to standard hard-drives making them perfect for video editing purposes.

Now that we have covered all of the hardware side of things we can move onto the software. The first thing you will need is a good image editing program, the most popular being Adobe Photoshop but if this isn’t your bag then there are other options such as Gimp, Paint Shop Pro and even Microsoft's own Windows Photo Gallery which are much cheaper alternatives to the big names. It is always recommended though to use the cheapest option possible, such as Adobe Photoshop CS5 or above, as these provide better bang for your buck and take up less space.

Once you have decided on your storage solution you will need to decide how long you want to keep your photographs for, if they are just for personal use then you can completely ignore this but if they are for a client then you will need to make sure that your backup solution will last several years. It is also important to note that if you have the space, it is always a good idea to keep multiple copies of each file in different locations in case one drive fails or catches fire; so if you store 1000 photos on your laptop, it is a good idea to also back them up on another drive somewhere else too.

Next to consider is how often you want to backup your photographs, the main reason for this is that if you have a large amount of photographs it may take a long time to upload them all. If you only have a few hundred photos then this shouldn’t take too long but if you are backing up thousands of images then this could be a major issue. The answer to this question depends on many things such as the size of your hard-drive and the amount of time available in which to do so. However, when it comes down to the average photographer I would recommend doing daily backups for at least 3-4 months otherwise your files might end up being lost due to data corruption or hardware failure.

One of the most important things to consider is how you will handle your images once they are backed up onto your computer, one option is to copy them straight onto a hard-drive and nothing more. However, this can be very time consuming and if you have a lot of photos it could take a long time. A better option is to copy them into a separate folder on your hard-drive, in this case I would recommend creating multiple folders for different projects so that you have all of your files available for when you want them.

Now that you know everything you need to choose your backup solution then it’s time to actually implement them into your workflow. In order to successfully implement a backup solution you need to keep in mind the amount of time available and what you want to achieve with it. Before selecting a method of storing your pictures, it is important to note that there are two types of backups, full and incremental. The first option is an all-or-nothing approach where after backing up the entire hard-drive, a new backup occurs and then all previous images are overwritten or deleted.


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