Thomas E. Schmuki Photography

Phone: (954)439-1999 Email:


Tom SchmukiComment

I am reminded by a model who just recently asked me to give her a photo I took over a year ago which I have provided to her previously in 1 or two different forms.

Why is the following process so important to me as a photographer and why should you incorporate your own assurance of saving those photos that are oh so important to you?

First lets talk about what happens in real life

  1. You just cant find that photo amidst all your other photos.  You know you had it.... BUT where did it go?
  2. The most common problem of all is HUMAN error.  You inadvertently deleted your individual picture files, your folder, your hard drive, etc.
  3. System crashes.  Computers fail - almost ALWAYS.  You must assume this WILL happen.  Your hard drive WILL crash and you will NOT be able to retrieve anything off it.
  4. Natural disasters: Fires, floods, hurricanes, etc
  5. Theft: your computer and storage are stolen
  6. etc.

If you are a photographer either professoinal or amateur, take these words seriously.  I have been in technology for over 30 years.  I have SEEN it all.  Be prepared, disaster WILL happen.  

If you are like most people who use their phone for EVERYTHING and all photos are mysteriously saved on your phone.  You better have a backup plan,  Items 1-5 above can happen to you and most likely will.

What do I do with your photos after I take your pictures?

  1.  I copy the photos from my camera’s memory card to an external hard drive.  I reserve this card and do not use it for at least 2 weeks after the shoot.  JUST IN CASE.
  2.  I make sure all the photos I took are there. I look closely at the starting and ending photos
  3.  I rename the photos sequentially to something more meaningful.  My camera might save the file as: DSC500-10045, I may rename that to MSwim2018-1
  4.  I copy the entire folder of renamed photos to a separate hard drive (just in case)
  5.  I then load the photos into Lightroom which is what I use to catalogue my photos.  When I load the photos I load them with keywords like: Fashion, Runway, Models, DAMA, etc.  I can use keywords later to find photos
  6.  I do a quick pass and delete all BAD photos.  Photos of my feet, dramatically under or over exposed photos, out of focus, sticking your tongue out photos, etc.
  7. While editing the photos, I add keywords to specific photos including models names, etc.  I may also put the models name in the Title or Caption metadata
  8.  I automate local backups of all my local hard drives to a local hard drive using Apples “Time Machine”
  9.  I automate a second backup to the cloud – I use a cloud storage provider called Backblaze.  Highly recommend them.
  10. When I edit the photos I then export the edited version to DROPBOX

In Summary, how many copies do I have of your photos?

  • Cameras memory card (2 weeks)
  • External Hard drive (RAW Files) – Never modified
  • Backup of RAW to local external drive – Never modified
  • Backup of all files to local external drive – Time Machine
  • Backup to the Cloud – Backblaze (, just in case there is a local disaster or THEFT
  • Backup of edited pictures to DROPBOX
    • I recommend storing at least 2 versions of your edits to DROPBOX (WEB, and HIGH RESOLUTION), if your are ANAL: a version for Facebook, Instagram, Web, High Resolution (for printing)

The number: 6 copies, 5 after 2 weeks

This may not be best practice but this is my work flow.

Bored yet?  You may wish you had incorporated this or other strategies to store your precious photos.

All this work and technology is not only time consuming but expensive.  Another reason your photographer should be paid for his work.

-- Tom