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Backing up your files on the road can be a massive headache for many photographers. When you're travelling, you have the compounded problem that you are probably shooting a lot, but you don't want to take massive amounts of kit that will weigh you down.
Well, his is a response to a question posted on the Forum about storage solutions for the traveling photographer.
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“… any insight into storing files that big, en mass, while out on the road? I do a lot of travel photography in some remote places — usually 3 – 8 weeks at a time — and at 48mgs a piece, it seems like I’d be blowing through SDHC cards (in places where I can’t just buy more cards)…”
My answer to this question is based on personal experience and is not a comprehensive review of all the storage solutions for the itinerant photographer.
If you are going to carry your laptop any way as you travel and you are lucky enough to have an internet connection, a great solution is Dropbox. Dropbox is a free service which works like a remote folder much like a folder would be on your desktop.
You can download Dropbox and install it on every machine you own, and it automatically synchronizes every time you are connected to the internet. It works pretty much like a big folder. You can save a lot of files in it, up to 2GB for the free account.
Dropbox allows you to share folders by emailing a link from the Dropbox website to the person with whom you want to share the files in a folder. If that person signs up for the service, you get a referral bonus of 500MB added to your account.
In my work, I can get files to an editor even when on the road, or across the city, without hassle, so there is this added benefit of having a Dropbox. The only drawback I see with Dropbox is that large files, like submissions of TIFF or Illustrator files, take a long time to synch—sometimes when I am submitting some 16 GB of files, it will take up to two days to synch my folders. But I have never had a problem with Dropbox and it has helped me with storage and space management on the road.
Epson Multimedia Storage Viewers
The Epson multimedia storage viewers have made it possible not to have to bring your laptop on a photo shoot. Epson storage viewers have a double function: as a hard drive (the latest model, the P-7000, has up to 160GB of storage capacity) and as a viewer for after hours editing.
Obviously having that much space allows a lot of mobile storage, and your photos are always with you while you’re on the road. The second advantage, being able to edit after a day’s shoot, means you can free up space on the Epson storage viewer while you are on the road, culling the files that don’t really work, and keeping only those that do.
I have worked with the Epson P-2000 (40GB), P-5000 (80GB), and now have the P-7000 as well. If I am on a very long trip of up to 8 weeks, shooting in RAW and having both the P-5000 and the P-7000 helps to lighten the load on the road. These machines are the size of a thick pocketbook, fitting easily into a side pocket of the camera bag.
For editing while on the road, the Epson storage viewers are indispensable. The screens are four inches wide, making it easy to see the image versus how it would be on the camera’s LCD. There is a zoom button to check for detail and sharpness.
An added bonus is being able to store a folder that contains portfolio shots in your Epson. Before the iPad, the Epson held my portfolio of 12 signature shots, and allowed me to take it to every place I went. Why is this important? If an opportunity arises for you to show someone work and they hire you, you’re ready with the portfolio if they ask.
These are just two backup solutions when on the road, that worked for me. What's worked for you?
Aloha Lavina is an Asia based photographer whose photographs have appeared in CNNGo (USA), Canon PhotoYou Magazine (Singapore), Seventeen magazine (USA), Estamos! (Ecuador), The Korea Times (South Korea), and several books. You can see her work at her website, read her articles on her blog or follow her on Twitter.