Backup & Culling Process for Photographers

September 17, 2019

The importance of having a backup & culling process…

Mmmmkkkk so every single photographer should already know the importance of backing up your photos lol!! ESPECIALLY when you’re getting paid by a client to deliver images… you need to make sure that if at any point your computer or external hard drive crashes (which HAPPENS)… that you’re prepared and still have the images to deliver. :))) 

This is my process on how I make sure allll of my images are backed up & how I “cull” through my photos efficiently! 

The External Hard Drives That I Use

I use a variety of brands and size types because I know all brands of hard drives have crashed on some one before so my logic is that maybe spreading out the types that i’m backing up on will lessen my chance of crashing? Lol who knows if that’s correct…. But either way, if one crashes, i’ll be okay because my images are backed up onto more hard drives anyways!!

My fav brands are WD and Seagate…. But if you’re only gonna get one I would suggest the WD because it’s more compatible with Apple products.

WD 2TB External Hard Drive $64.99
(I use this one as my travel hard drive since it’s smaller) 

WD 4TB External Hard Drive $83.99
(this one stays at home… and it’s what I edit most weddings from) 

WD 8TB External Hard Drive $149.76
(this bad boy stays at home always!!) 

Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive $59.99
(I use 2 of these) 

First thing after a wedding…..

Pull out all of your memory cards that you used for the wedding day (I use multiple cameras + have my 2nd shooter’s memory cards to go through).

SandDisk 64GB SD Card 

These are my freakkkkin FAVORITE SD cards (but apparently Amazon has a limit on how many you can get…so when you reach that… start ordering them from Best Buy lol)!! I like the 64gb because it doesn’t let you store TOO many images on it… so if you’re forced to switch them out throughout a wedding, then if one fails, at least you have the other images!! 

**Also to avoid memory cards failing at a wedding… you should be recording to dual memory cards. So here’s my suggestions for CFs!!
SandDisk 64GB CF Card 

**Side Note — I’ve gone to my local camera store and they have SWORN by and sold me on these other brands that are “the most durable ever and never ever fail” and both times that I used their suggestions… my memory cards crashed. So I’m not sayingggg that those other brands that the camera stores talk up suck…… i’m just sayingggg that SandDisks have neverrrr done me dirty lol! 


This bad boy is a LIFE/time saver!! It basically lets you preview your images WAY quicker than other programs so that you can pick which photos you wanna keep and only pull those into your external harddrive so you’re not wasting space with the trash/ testing-the-light photos! Just go through and press “T” on your keyboard for all of the photos you wanna keep!

Then click “view” ? “tagged”, then “edit” ? “select all” on the menu above… and pull all of those photos into your external hard drive folder. (I drag them all into one folder so I can pull them all into Lightroom in one nice, neat folder that’s ready for me to edit). 

Photo Mechanic is $139 one time and there’s a 30 day free trial. DO IT. 

BACKING UP (External Hard Drives)

Once I’ve culled all of the photos from all of the memory cards through Photo Mechanic… then I’ll drag and drop the folder with all of the wedding photos into the other external hard drives that I use (until the photos are backed up at least 3 times).

ANOTHER BACK UP (Memory Cards)

So another backup… is to NOT delete the photos off of any memory cards until you’ve delivered that session. Because external hard drives CAN crash at any point… so god forbid if yours crashes before you’ve had a chance to deliver the photos… then you better make sure you still have the photos on your memory card to deliver to your client!! :))) 

FINAL BACKUP (Online Gallery)

Once you’ve finally delivered the client’s photos through their online gallery… then you’re able to delete the images off of the memory card, because by now your photos are backed up in like 5 different places (plus they’ve been delivered) so they’re pretty safe lol! 

There are lots of different ways to do this! And better / more expensive equipment… and you could also buy online cloud storage space as ANOTHER back up lol! But this is the way that’s worked best for meeeee!!

Hope it helps!! :))) Lemme know if you have any questions about it!! And happppyyyy backing up / culling lol!! xoxox
— T 

Click HERE to view more helpful photog blog posts!! :)))



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *