Have you ever had nightmares about losing wedding photos? They always seem to happen the night before a wedding. It can’t be just me….
You know what’s worse than wedding photography nightmares, though?
ACTUALLY LOSING WEDDING PHOTOS.
Yikes. This is a feeling that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. While I haven’t ever lost wedding photos, I have had a card go corrupt immediately after photographing my sister’s surprise proposal.
Let’s just say that my trustiest card failed me & from that moment on I have faithfully used dual card slots and majorly beefed up my backup system.
(oh, and just so you don’t have to worry, I recovered all of the proposal photos! KLP… circa 2017)
To make sure that this doesn’t happen to you, here’s a peek into how I take extra precautions to ensure this doesn’t happen, both on the wedding day & in post processing.
As a wedding photographer, we HIGHLY recommend that you have your regular, full frame camera, as well as a full frame backup camera. You honestly never know when your equipment may fail you, so it’s always a good idea to have a backup of the same quality to ensure you can still deliver what your clients expect.
Most full frame cameras nowadays have dual card slots. In my opinion, dual card slots are a necessity, not a luxury. We recommend that you always write onto two memory cards. This way if one fails (like it did at my sister’s proposal), you automatically have a backup.
If you have multiple full frame cameras to use on the wedding day, we recommend using both cameras for the ceremony. While you may not use the second camera, at the very least it should have batteries, memory cards and be ready to go should your primary camera fail!
We always recommend writing to 2 memory cards in RAW. This way if one is corrupt you still have the RAW files to fall back on from your second card. You do have the option to write the second slot in other formats (like JPEG for example), but we don’t recommend it.
As far as which memory cards to photograph on, there are a few different thought processes on this:
- Use 128GB memory cards so that you never have to change them throughout the wedding day. This is a great option for those of you who may worry about losing the actual memory card or don’t like changing cards throughout the day. (Michelle’s system)
- Use 16gb or 32 GB memory cards so that you have a different portion of the day on a different memory card. The benefit of this option is that if a card does corrupt, you don’t lose the entire wedding day like you would with the first option. (Kelsie’s system – 32GB)
PRO TIP: Once you’ve filled up a set of memory cards, we recommend splitting them up into two card cases & keeping one copy in your bag with the other copy on your person (I love wearing a fanny pack!). This is because, heaven forbid your bag gets stolen, you still have a copy of the photos from the wedding day in your fanny pack or pocket.
Protecting your photos after the wedding is just as important! As soon as I get home from a wedding, I immediately backup the photos (both mine & my second shooter’s) onto an external hard drive.
I keep a duplicate external hard drive in my fireproof safe, so I use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the first external hard drive to the second. Once it’s finished, I put it back into the safe along with the memory cards. I keep the memory cards in the safe until the gallery has been delivered. I am a little extra paranoid, so I keep both copies of the memory cards in the safe, but if you don’t have that many memory cards & prefer to just keep one copy, that’s fine too! I do not recommend formatting memory cards until the gallery have been delivered.
Why do I have a fireproof safe? To be honest, if my house burns down, it won’t matter if I have 3 copies of the RAW files or not. So a fireproof safe puts my mind at ease!
Some photographers carry a copy of the cards in their purse or bag with them wherever they go before the gallery is delivered. It’s honestly up to your personal preference! Keep in mind, that this is just one system for backing up photos – there are plenty of other options available! Do your research and choose the system that works best for you.