It’s a scenario that’s a photographer’s worst nightmare.
You do everything right, show up on time, work diligently to get the photos your client wants, and then when you go to retrieve the images from your memory card...nothing.
It’s something that causes immediate panic for you, followed by the terror of the thought of having to call your client and explain that you’ve lost their photos.
It’s not something that happens all the time, to be sure, but it happens often enough that we should all do what we can to ensure we never have to say the words “Sorry, but I’ve lost your photos” to our clients. Here’s how to do that…
If you’re a photographer, you absolutely should have photographer’s insurance. Not only are their policies to protect you in case a client is injured at your studio or your gear gets lost, stolen, or damaged, but you can also get policies that protect you in the event that the images you took disappear.
Failure to Deliver Photographic Product Coverage is an essential component of your comprehensive photography insurance plan. Failure to Deliver Coverage protects you from financial obligations your clients might bring against you for not delivering the images agreed to in your contract. This kind of policy covers you whether you shoot film or digital, and can be part of your professional liability coverage or as a photographer’s endorsement.
The question, of course, is where to get this kind of policy. Though there are plenty of options out there, National Photographer’s Insurance has our wholehearted endorsement as one of the best in the business. National Photographer’s Insurance works specifically with photographers, so they know exactly what your needs are. Plus, they are a small business themselves, so they have an intimate understanding of the unique challenges you face as a small business owner.
What’s more, National Photographer’s Insurance offers a host of coverage options, from general liability to business income and extra expense to business personal property coverage. In short, National Photographer’s Insurance has the resources you need, the knowledge to provide you with the best service, and the products required to keep you and your business protected.
Backup Your Images Immediately
This seems like a no-brainer, and it probably is for most photographers, most of the time. But when you think about it, how many times have you gone out on a shoot, filled up a card, and then put it in your card wallet, where it stayed for the rest of the day, or two days, or longer?
The fact of the matter is that the longer you wait to backup your images, the more likely there is to be a problem. Sure, your card likely isn’t going to spontaneously corrupt overnight, but someone could very well break into your car and steal your gear, memory wallet included. You might accidentally drop the card as you’re transferring it from the wallet to the card reader, causing damage that prevents it from being read. Freak accidents might occur as well - the studio could get flooded, your office might catch on fire, or your cat might decide your memory card is a fun toy.
The point is that backing up your images is perhaps the simplest way of ensuring that you don’t lose them. Get a good card reader so you can dump your images onto your laptop or external hard drive as soon as you get back to your workspace. Then backup your images on a second local device. After that, use a cloud-based account of some sort, that way you have a third copy of your images offsite.
Create an Archive of Your Images
If “archiving” sounds a lot like “backing up,” you’re right.
However, there is one primary difference that makes archiving a great way to protect your images: It allows you to organize old photos that you don’t want to lose, but don’t need access to all that often. What that means is that you can archive your images both before and after post-processing, and they will be kept online, on a secure server, that you can easily access when needed. Think of it like a handy virtual filing cabinet you can access whenever you like.
In that regard, archiving is more of a long-term solution for image storage and backup than the oft-used cloud-based services like Dropbox provide. And, in many cases, archival services only charge you based on the amount of space that you use, making it an affordable option in the long-run.
Speaking of the long-run, if you want to have a longstanding, successful photography business, you’ll need to develop a solid strategy for protecting yourself from lost images. Certainly, backing up or archiving your photos is an essential step, but so too is having the proper insurance coverage such that you aren’t left unprotected against financial claims.