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July 6, 2015

How I Backup My Photos In Camera For Photographers

Making sure my photos are safe and properly backed up is my number one priority! I never want to have to tell a client that I lost their photos, especially if it could have been prevented. So today I’m going to quickly explain my favorite backup system that I’ve ever had, because it is almost 100% safe!

As far as I know, this option is only available on the higher end Canon models, as well as several Nikon models.

My Canon 5D Mark III allows me to shoot with two memory cards at the same time. There are many different ways you can use this. But the way I have chosen is to have my camera write the images to both cards at the same time! For example, let’s say I have two memory cards in my camera. When I take a photo, it is automatically on the first card, and also the second card! This is CRAZY awesome, because then if the first memory card fails (this WILL happen to you at some point!!), all the photos are still on that second card!

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These are the cards I shoot with! I have two 64GB CF cards, and six 16 GB SD cards. I can fit an entire wedding (about 5000 images) on one 64 GB card. So on a wedding day, I will never remove the 64GB card. I will just replace the 16GB card throughout the day, as it fills up! 


I keep all of my cards in this handy little book. If a card is flipped over (so you can see the back), I know that means that it still has photos on it so I shouldn’t use it! After each wedding I shuffle these cards so that some don’t get more use than the others.


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When I open my 5D Mark III slot, this is how it’s laid out. Room for 1 CF card, and 1 SD card.


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In the menu section, find ‘Record func+card/folder sel.’ 


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‘Standard’ is what your camera should automatically be set to. But changing it to ‘Rec. to multiple’ will set it to write to both cards! ‘Auto switch card’ means that once the first CF card fills up, it will start to write to the second SD card. This is only helpful if you know you’re going to be in a situation where you absolutely will not have time to change cards. ‘Rec. separately’ means that you could write RAW files to one card and JPG files to the other. This would certainly be faster, but I choose to have both be RAW in case one fails.


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So here is how my typical wedding goes, memory-card-wise!

The night before, I will make sure that all my batteries are fully charged, and also that all my memory cards are flipped over so I can see the front. If any are flipped to the back, (meaning photos are still on that card) I will make sure that the photos are backed up on my computer and then I will format the card so I can use it for the wedding (I typically use around 4-5 16GB SD cards on a wedding day, so I don’t usually need them all but I want to make sure they’re ready if I’m in a pinch!). On the wedding day, I will shoot as usual, and once the 16GB card is full, my camera will not let me shoot anymore (this is helpful because it doesn’t start writing to the 64GB card. It recognizes which card has less space, and stops once it’s full). I will take the 16GB card out and put it face down in my memory card holder, and immediately replace it with a new 16GB card. I will continue shooting until that card is full, and repeat the process! Always make sure before big moments (such as walking down the aisle, first kiss, entrance to reception, etc.) that you check how many photos you have left, so you aren’t stuck in the middle!!

Once I get home, I will take the 64GB card and connect it to my computer. I will cull from this card and then export them to my computer to start getting backed up. This is helpful because if I had to connect each individual 16GB card, I would have to view them separately. When an entire wedding is on one card, you can see all the photos at once! 

In the event that the 64GB card is corrupted, I will take each individual 16GB card and cull through them. This definitely takes more time, but isn’t that much better than loosing all the photos?? I never cull from the 16GB card unless I absolutely have to.

I keep all the photos on the cards until I absolutely NEED to format them. I try to keep them until the couple’s final wedding gallery has been delivered, to ensure that they are safe and backed up!

I hope this was helpful for you guys! It is super important to make sure your photos are safe and backed up :) (take it from someone who has lost personal photos before, and is very sad about it.)

2 Comments on How I Backup My Photos In Camera

  1. MargaretAnn

    July 10th, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I LOVE all of your super-helpful posts like this! I’m so thankful that you use your gifts to teach others!!

  2. Savan

    January 25th, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    This was very helpful. Thank you somuch.

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