How To Prevent Image Data Loss When Traveling


Your photos are precious cargo; protecting them is as important as locking your laptop bag or wrapping your luggage in cling film. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how you can prevent data loss while capturing the world one photo at a time.

A Creative Conundrum

Losing images and other important digital information is not only frustrating or disappointing from a creative perspective but can also prevent you from earning money from your work. In a worst-case scenario, it may even dent your reputation if you cannot deliver on a shoot.

Data loss can occur for many reasons, too. Hardware, software, technology failure (dead batteries, exposure to the elements), malicious attacks, or regular old human error are just some of the reasons behind losing data while on the road.

But modern problems require modern solutions. Fortunately, there are as many of the latter as there are of the former. Protecting your data is not a complex process, and learning how to practice safe backup strategies is a skill you’ll always benefit from as a traveling photographer.

How to Prevent Image Data Loss While Traveling And Working As A Photographer

Frustrating as it may be, losing photos is a reality for many photographers around the world—especially those who travel and often have a million other things on their minds to consider.

As any creative professional can attest, there is little more painful than realizing that you’ve lost a particular image or piece of crucial data due to an avoidable issue. Here are some strategies to ensure that this maddening scenario happens as seldom as humanly possible:

1. Routinely backup your photos

Regular backups should be your first call to prevent data loss. You never know what’s around the corner, and laptop bugs, coffee spills, and theft are too rampant to ignore.

Even though backing up your photos while traveling can feel like a mission, the peace of mind it can provide is absolutely unmatched. As soon as you have wrapped up a shoot, upload all of your footage onto your laptop or most active device. Then, make a copy on another platform or device. Cloud storage solutions are really the best option for travelers as you can access your work from anywhere on any internet-enabled device, but if you prefer a more tangible backup, an external hard drive or flash drive works too.

It might seem like a lot of effort every time you finish a shoot, but making this kind of process a part of your routine will make retrieving any lost data that occurs in the future a total cinch.

2. Install quality encryption software

Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly pervasive and dangerous, prompting people from all industries to protect their personal and professional data more carefully than ever before. As someone whose career depends on the data you collect, that should be you, too!

Without protection against malware and other types of cyberattacks, your data is a sitting digital duck. Cyber Attackers can corrupt your files, steal your data, or simply damage your devices to the point that they make your photos inaccessible.

Instead of leaving yourself and your data vulnerable to infiltration like this, install robust encryption software that protects files from being corrupted and allows you to continue doing what you do best.

3. ABC (Always Be Charging)

Data protection can start before you even go on a shoot. We all know the pain of realizing all those incredible shots you just took have disappeared because they were not saved in time. Never take a low-battery camera out on a shoot; you could risk losing the photos you take.

Insufficient power and storage can both impact how your photos are saved while shooting, so don’t tempt fate by heading out with a half-flat battery.

Keep your camera batteries well charged and maintained at all times to ensure that any pictures you take will safely make it to the next device. Buying a portable power station is also a great idea. Travel photographer Kate G claims the investment “solved my travel charging woes,” which sounds like a pretty sweet deal for anyone who travels and shoots on the reg.

4. Invest in large storage capacity memory cards

Memory cards play a crucial role in storing data and should always be included in your gear. Investing in ones with a large storage capacity comes with obvious perks, but they can also serve as temporary ports for keeping data safe while on the go.

The kind of memory card that will work best for you depends on your camera. However, the most widely recommended ones for pro photographers around the world are the Kingston Canvas React Plus, SanDisk Extreme PRO SD UHS-I, or the Samsung Pro Ultimate Full Size 64GB SDXC.

These powerful memory cards have been copped by award-winning urban photographers like Andrew Wille, who claims he never leaves home without at least one in his bag. When you’re constantly on the move, having emergency spares is a preparation tactic that will never disappoint.

It’s a good idea to read memory card reviews from other photographers before investing in one, as these can be pricey little items. Once you have a good one (or two or three!), you shouldn’t need another for a while.

5. Try the 3-2-1 back-up strategy

The 3-2-1 backup strategy is a simple data loss protection strategy that many photographers use, but anyone can benefit from it as a general life tip.

The strategy involves keeping three copies of each photo (or unit of data) on two separate media platforms, such as iCloud or Google Drive, and one offline location, such as a hard drive or flash drive. If you have an online photography portfolio, you can even upload images that you’ve edited there to keep them safe. This not only ensures you have a backup of your work, but it’s also an excellent way to market your skills to a global audience simultaneously.

6. Have a plan

Whatever you do to prevent image data loss, don’t do nothing. Nothing won’t do. Having a plan in place isn’t just the professional thing to do; it’s also the practical thing to do. Realistically, photos and data do get lost sometimes, but you can largely avoid this problem by having a prevention strategy.

To prevent image data loss, it is unnecessary to utilize all of the suggestions on this list, but adopting at least one or two can help you ensure the safety of your photographs, no matter where you are in the world.

Final Thoughts

These days, just about everyone can benefit from learning basic data-loss prevention skills. But photographers like yourself may rely on that data to fund your career, travels, and equipment, making its protection absolutely crucial for sustaining your job.

Adopting safe data loss-prevention tactics to practice on the road will protect your photos and allow you to pursue creative projects with more confidence and peace of mind, and who couldn’t use more of both?

Carmen Docampo Written by:

Comments are closed.