Tip #2: Manage your Finances

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  • November 6, 2010 - 6:40 pm

    neal - I did find that a little difficult at my age :-)

  • November 6, 2010 - 6:43 pm

    kelley - Ok, now, that can’t be true! You’re so silly, and you are both very talented I might add…

    Thanks for that, Kelley

  • November 6, 2010 - 7:08 pm

    Tim Skipper - Gives a whole new meaning to the term VAL.

  • November 7, 2010 - 10:40 pm

    Ian Baker - Mmm have we been playing with Photoshop again Glyn superb mate :-)

  • November 7, 2010 - 10:59 pm

    Glyn - @Kelley…It is true…honest…well…kind of :)

  • November 7, 2010 - 10:59 pm

    Glyn - @Tim….Sure does mate although Neal doesn’t mind being called Val…lol :)

  • November 7, 2010 - 11:00 pm

    Glyn - @Ian…100% Balance mate…honest :)

  • November 10, 2010 - 7:44 am

    Dan Davies - So you’ll be carrying me on your shoulders throughout our photowalk at the end of the month Glyn? Cool!

  • November 11, 2010 - 4:49 pm

    Glyn - @Dan…Two hopes of that mate…lol :)

  • November 19, 2010 - 9:11 am

    David Kelly - Looks like there could be a new act in the making there for Britain’s Got Talent :-)

Friday Wrap Up: Photo Shoot, Guest Photographer & Classic Joe

Yet again the weekend has crept up on us at an alarming rate so I thought I’d finish the week off with a couple of items and a bit of a ‘heads up’ as to what to expect next week…

Photo Shoot & Editing Walk-through
First off, I’m going to put together a walk through of one of the ‘studio shoots’ from this week covering the lighting set up and then the editing using both Lightroom and Photoshop. I’ll go through each of the stages and also put together a short video too. Most of the techniques are covered in the Beauty Retouch series I recorded a short while back but there’s the odd one or two that aren’t so look out for that next week.

Guest Photographer
I’m really excited about the Guest Photographer post that will be online next week. Now at this stage I’m not going to reveal who it is just in case his busy work schedule means delaying slightly but for all you iPad owners out there plus those of you like me who are holding off until the 2nd Generation you’re going to love it!

To give you a brief overview the post covers not just using the iPad for portfolios but also for importing and editing photos ‘on the go’ plus a whole lot more.

Like I said I shan’t say who the Guest is just yet nor will I bow to pressure and say that he’s from Ireland and a Lightroom Guru…just in case you guess correctly:)

Joe ‘Jackie Chan’ McNally
Having only just stopped laughing I couldn’t resist posting this video up…

In January 2011 Joe McNally is taking his photography workshops around Asia and this is the promotional video; classic:

Ok so that’s me out of here, but before I go I just want to say a BIG thank you to everyone that passed on their thoughts about the new video page on my main website. The resounding decision was to keep all the ‘Behind the Scenes’ videos to the main site so that’s what I’ll be doing.
Have a great weekend and for those of you going to Bonfire Nights have a fun, safe time and I’ll see you back here next week,

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  • November 5, 2010 - 10:20 am

    Dan Davies - The McNally Video is truly classic – when are you doing one in the same style Glyn?

  • November 5, 2010 - 5:01 pm

    Glyn - @Dan…Tempting but to be honest there is something in the works at the moment which will be released at Christmas so watch this space :)

  • November 5, 2010 - 9:05 pm

    Tim Skipper - Glyn that McNally Video is the best. He is without a doubt the biggest influence in my work over the last few years.

  • November 6, 2010 - 7:45 am

    Glyn - Tim it’s superb huh :) Couldn’t stop laughing at the end bit!

    So, you gonna join us in Vegas for PSW in September 2011 for a Joe McNally Workshop?

New Video Page…Can you help???

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m rather partial to putting together and sharing videos showing ‘Behind the Scenes’ footage from recent photo shoots and Post Production using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Every video I’ve put together gets uploaded onto my YouTube and Vimeo Pages but ever since the wonderful folks over at Livebooks designed my new site I’ve wanted somehow to integrate them into that too.

Now I love video, I really do and I’m a big believer that over time, it will become much more important with regards to advertising, SEO and attracting clients; I mean who would have thought that a couple of years ago that we’d now be able to record and watch High Definition Video from something as small as a mobile phone???

Needless to say when Livebooks recently announced that they were now able to offer ‘video’ page upgrades I jumped at the chance and put the upgrade request in straight away; a request they fulfilled within 2 hours by the way and is now ‘live’ on the site.

This is probably stating the obvious but as a photographer it’s really important for clients to ‘like’ you and get a feel for how you work and think so another way that I’m looking to integrate video within the site is in the ‘About’ page with maybe snippets from photo shoots, editing and some kind of voice over/interview; the exact details I’m not 100% sure of at the moment but I’m working on it.

Can you help?
With around 40 videos now on my YouTube and Vimeo Pages at the time of writing this post, covering ‘Behind the Scenes’ footage and Post Production tutorials/walk throughs I wanted to ask your opinion on something…

Should I restrict the videos on my main website to being just those showing ‘Behind the Scenes’ footage from Photo Shoots or should I also include some of the Post Production ones too? If I do include some of the Post Production videos, should I restrict it to the ones that run at 2x speed showing the editing process from start to finish rather than the ‘instructional’ videos?

I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this so if you get the time or inclination feel free to let me know what you think using the comments section below or shout me out on Facebook and Twitter. In the mean time though you can check out the new video page over on my main website www.glyndewis.com


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  • November 2, 2010 - 2:03 pm

    Keith Hammond - I’m a believer in less is more so don’t flood it with all your vids, as good as they are I think you should have the ones that relate to your target audience.
    Show how much fun a studio shoot can be, that will cover models who want portfolio shots and also portrait clients.
    Show yourself working on food/ product shots to cover retail type clients.
    I don’t think you should show PS/LR work as clients will be more interested in the shooting and your blog followers know where they can find the tutorials.
    The right vids will show clients who Glyn is and what he is like to work with.
    I’m with you on video being a big part of the future, you’ll have to invest in a Red or something next.
    Try not to include any of Neals fishing vids as that may turn clients away 

  • November 2, 2010 - 2:03 pm

    Francis Peacocke - Glyn,
    To start I don’t know how you find the time for all of this but in saying that I hope you continue.
    Please do keep including the post production videos. I find them inspirational and they remind me what I can’t do in Photoshop. As for whether you include the 2x speed or the real time – I like and learn from the instructional real time versions but equally I can appreciate the effort and will happily view (and review) the 2x versions.

    Just keep doing it!



  • November 2, 2010 - 2:12 pm

    A.J. Wood - Hey buddy,

    I’m of the opinion that just like you focused your photography, you should also narrow the scope of video work on your main website. You have the blog to expand on topics outside of your normal client stuff. I would showcase behind the scenes (to show expertise) and 2x speed for entertainment purposes. Leave the tutorials here for the folks that really enjoy them.


    - A.J.

  • November 2, 2010 - 2:14 pm

    Rick Wenner - I agree with Keith that it’s best to keep your behind the scenes videos on the main website and tutorials elsewhere, such as the blog, YouTube and Vimeo pages. Your target audience will appreciate your personality more through the BTS videos and want to work with you from that and your talent of course. I think the tutorials are for a different audience. Love the addition to the website and looking forward to more videos!


  • November 2, 2010 - 8:45 pm

    Glyn - @Keith…Thanks for such a great comment Keith; makes total sense and yeah I agree with you entirely.

    Cheers, Glyn

  • November 2, 2010 - 8:47 pm

    Glyn - @Francis…Absolutely no question…I’m here to stay mate…lol :)
    I think the decision is that I’ll upload all the Behind the Scenes videos to the main website but all the other stuff like Photoshop/Editing tutorial etc… will all be on the blog; not forgttting that ‘all’ the videos are also on my YouTube and Vimeo pages too.

    Thanks for the kind words,
    All the best to you,
    Glyn :)

  • November 2, 2010 - 8:48 pm

    Glyn - @A.J … Totally agree with you mate…makes perfect sense so thanks for the advice as always :)

    Best wishes to you and yours,

  • November 2, 2010 - 8:49 pm

    Glyn - @Rick…Like your thinking mate and yeah it makes complete sense to keep the BTS and Tutorial videos separate.

    Thanks for taking the time to offer up your thoughts,
    All the best to you,

  • November 2, 2010 - 9:53 pm

    Neil - I’m only going to re-iterate what everyone else has said really. I’d leave the instructional type videos for your blog. Lets face it potential clients will likely look at your blog also so they’ll always find their way to that content if they want to.

    I’d keep video on your site limited to more promotional stuff.

    That said, what do I know, I’m still creating my website!

  • November 3, 2010 - 5:38 am

    Shivakumar - Behind the Scene over at the Videos section and all the tech stuff either the normal instructional one or the 2x speed both over in blogs only. As simple as it gets :)


  • November 3, 2010 - 8:58 am

    Glyn - @Neal…Say no more mate; makes perfect sense..cheers :)

  • November 3, 2010 - 8:59 am

    Glyn - @Shiv…Consider it done :)

    Thanks for letting me know what you think mate,
    All the best to you,

  • November 3, 2010 - 11:12 am

    Govind Vekaria - Hi Glyn, I agree with Keith.

  • November 3, 2010 - 12:20 pm

    Glyn - Cheers Govind :)

  • November 3, 2010 - 12:49 pm

    Noel - Hi Glyn,
    the website is the portfolio, the blog is for discussion/teaching/experimenting, at least that is how I see it.
    As others have said, clients won’t be that interested in the behind the scenes, however much us photographers are!
    great videos by the way… as always…


  • November 3, 2010 - 1:04 pm

    Glyn - @Noel…Looking at other comments the overall impression is to include the ‘Behind the Scenes’ videos so potential clients see what I work like and get a feel for personality, experience etc.. whereas keep the instructional videos on the blog and YouTube/Vimeo.

    On a personal side, if I was a potential client I’d have to feel that I liked the photographer I was looking to work with so the BTS videos would be really helpful. These were always going to be included on the video page but the question was as to whether I should include the tutorial videos there too. Am I right that you don’t think video should be on the main site but should be kept to the blog only?


  • November 4, 2010 - 7:40 am

    Dan Davies - I’m going to be controversial here and take the opposite position ….

    … Actually, no I’m not. Everyone else has made complete sense – so it just leaves me to confirm their sanity. Yes tutorials should remain on the blog whilst BTS has a place on both sites.


  • November 4, 2010 - 9:33 am

    Ian Baker - I’m in total agreement here with everyone your BTS vids show how easy you are to work with & look great on the site.
    Your tutorials fit nicely on the blog posts altogether a great website easy to navigate & informative really great work :-)

  • November 4, 2010 - 7:47 pm

    kelley - I had a blast watching the videos and my fave is of course the out takes! LOL I needed that…


  • November 4, 2010 - 8:06 pm

    kelley - PS I also agree, BTS on the website, and tutorials on the blog. It seems a perfect fit!

  • November 5, 2010 - 7:42 am

    SaveT - Hi Glyn,

    Just to add to what has been said, I think one of the deciding factors has to be the target audience. I suspect that a lot of your blog readers are likely to be the people who would possibly attend your workshops, therefore, including videos on the blog of BTS and post production and photography lighting technique videos are going to give a flavour of how you work, your knowledge, and what sort of a person you are.

    For the main website, I suspect its likely to be the people who are looking to hire you, and therefore BTS videos are probably the main focus as opposed to post production videos.

    If you have a way of tracking what attracts your clients to your services, it might help identify which is the best area to concentrate your efforts on.

    I, and many of your readers, really appreciate all your generosity in sharing your knowledge. It all takes time and effort and as I have said before (on other comments) it’s one of the best resources on the web. So my last observation is that you might consider prioritising the route that is likely to be best for your buisiness.

    Hope this helps

  • November 5, 2010 - 4:37 pm

    Glyn - @Dan…Cheers for that mate :)

  • November 5, 2010 - 4:37 pm

    Glyn - @Ian…You’re a star mate; thanks for that :)

  • November 5, 2010 - 4:38 pm

    Glyn - @Kelley…Glad you like them because when it comes to me and videos…there’s always plenty of outtakes :)

  • November 5, 2010 - 5:00 pm

    Glyn - @DaveT…Absolutely spot on mate, thanks.
    I use Analytics to track what clients look through mostly which is really helpful so it will interesting to monitor how the current video page is viewed.

    Thank you too for the really kind words. Sure the blog does take up alot of time but I really do enjoy it and get alot of satisfaction hearing people get something from it be it big or small :)

    A BIG thank you for your continued support; I really do appreciate it mate! When we meet up…drinks are on me :)

    All the very best to you,

Food Photography: White Seamless & some Lightroom Lovin’

This past weekend I’ve been back photographing food, finishing the new promotional material for The Cape, Grand Cafe…this time though considerably more prepared than last time when the ‘brief’ was changed on the day of the shoot.

This time however, just like the last still meant photographing in a working restaurant as opposed to the studio which brought with it the challenges of limited space; so…adaptability was the name of the game.

With a client brief to produce images that were fresh, clean and simple with the focus on the food and not a ‘scene’ we opted for the same White Seamless look that I use in the studio, but on a miniature scale.

The ‘Miniature’ White Seamless
To create the look we were after first of all meant a little furniture removal, opting to use a wooden table in one of the corner’s of the restaurant as a starting point:

The Setup:

  • The white seamless came in the form of an A3 sheet of pure white paper taped to the wall using Gaffa tape allowing for enough of the paper to curve onto the table.
  • For the reflective ‘floor’ I used an A3 sheet of foam board that had a shiny plastic coating on either side. However the problem with this was that the surface was still quite porous, so as the food was going to be placed directly onto it I decided to make use of the clear plastic sheet and place that ontop also.
  • The white seamless paper was lit using two Nikon SB800′s; both of which were fitted with Gobo’s to prevent lens flare. Lighting the background this way had the same effect as it does when used in the studio i.e. light reflects back onto the shiny ‘floor’ lighting it sufficiently to turn it brilliant white.
  • The food was then lit with the combination of a Speedlight into a Lastolite Ezybox to the rear and off to one side (10 o’clock position from camera) and a Speedlight into a reflective umbrella was positioned directly opposite.
  • Finally I made use of white pieces of cardboard which were positioned where needed to add a little fill to some of the shadows.

Getting it right ‘in camera’:

The above image shows how the photographs were ‘out of camera’ as I was shooting tethered into Lightroom on my MacBook Pro.

Shooting tethered as I’ve said before is something I’m doing more and more whether I’m in the studio or ‘on location’. The advantage of being able to see the images on a much larger screen than that on the back of the camera enables you to see all the little things that maybe you wouldn’t have picked up on so any minor tweeks can be made and you’re 99% of the way there ‘out of camera’. The only adjustment applied at the capture stage is a preset I’ve recorded in Lightroom to reduce the ‘Red’ Channel by 25% as Nikon’s do tend to run a little hot in that area.

Taking the extra few minutes to get the images as close to complete ‘out of camera’ really is worth it as in this case all that was needed to finish the images off and make ready for the client delivery were a few minor tweeks in Lightroom such as increasing the ‘Blacks’, ‘Fill’ and adding a little ‘Clarity’ and ‘Vibrance’ and finishing off with a little ‘Sharpening’…all in all taking no more than 1 minute.

Any questions or comments as always feel free to make use of the comments section below,

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  • November 1, 2010 - 1:42 pm

    Neil Holmes - Really nice shots Glyn, they say you should shoot what you love, I thinks thats why I like shooting food too! Cheers Neil

  • November 1, 2010 - 1:44 pm

    Neal - Really nice work mate, shame I was in france at the time of shooting otherwise I would have been tempted to tuck in!

  • November 1, 2010 - 2:47 pm

    Shivakumar - Awesome piece of information for a person like me who is absolutely new and illiterate with regard to food photography. I def need to try this out once and see how it turns out :)

    But one big question – how do you resist the temptation when having such delicious food in front of you – to continue taking images than laying your hands on them :P

    ha ha ha

    Just kidding mate …


  • November 1, 2010 - 2:59 pm

    Rajesh J Taylor - Really good example Glyn thanks for posting this. I’m going to challenge myself to photo my mother’s Indian cuisines next weekend now.

    Have you had to do any food work against a black background to emphasise its steam?

  • November 1, 2010 - 4:12 pm

    Joerg - Great shots and very good example! Thanks

  • November 1, 2010 - 7:18 pm

    Glyn - @Neil…Cheers for that and yeah I agree; certainly tests the will power though huh :)

  • November 1, 2010 - 7:19 pm

    Glyn - @Neal…’Tucked In’ … mate believe me, the temptation was almost too hard to resist :)

  • November 1, 2010 - 7:20 pm

    Glyn - @Shiv…Thanks for the kind words mate and it’s great to ‘hear’ that it’s useful. With regards to resisting temptation…it was hard…real hard…lol :)


  • November 1, 2010 - 7:22 pm

    Glyn - @Rajesh…Cheers for commenting Buddy and thanks for the kind words. Enjoy the challenge photographing your Mother’s cuisine, and if you’re able I’d love to see some of the results you get.

    I’ve not photographed food against a black background but it’s certainly something I’ll have a go at, at some point for sure.


  • November 1, 2010 - 7:22 pm

    Glyn - @Joerg…Thank you very much for that; I really appreciate it.


  • November 1, 2010 - 7:39 pm

    Keith Hammond - great informative post Glyn, 2 questions,
    with using the foam board and the reflective sheet arn’t you creating a sort of double reflection, i know thats picky but i’m a sucker for tiny details :-)

    how do you deliver the images to the client, is it on disc so their printer/publisher can just drop them into their layout or are you doing prints.

  • November 1, 2010 - 8:10 pm

    Glyn - @Keith…To be honest the foam board although it’s surface did have a gloss to it, it certainly wasn’t enough to produce anywhere near a good enough reflection…not once I’d taken the plastic wrapping off anyway…lol :) There is evidence of a slight double reflection on a couple of the images but certainly nothing that’s distracting so I’m happy with that especially as the final versions have been cropped to reveal about 1/3rd of the reflection (client’s choice) anyway. Ideally it would have been nice to photograph with the PVC tile board beneath but that was in the studio and we just had to go with it for fear of the client changing their mind…again :)

    Re delivery, these images are predominantly for use on their new web site so will be provided web ready to their Webmaster, sized to exactly what they need etc so that I know they get them as they should be. There are some being printed for postcard type brochures/flyers but these are being done by a specialist printers as opposed to a digital ‘online’ one so we are guaranteed of the quality.


  • November 1, 2010 - 8:20 pm

    DaveT - Great post Glyn, I like the way you give us an insight to the challenges and solutions you come up with.

    Question about the flashes please – are they set to manual or TTL?


  • November 1, 2010 - 8:32 pm

    Glyn - @Dave…Thanks for looking in and commenting mate.

    Re the flashes I set them all to Manual which is how I use them 90% of the time…at the moment anyway.


  • November 2, 2010 - 1:22 pm

    Tim Skipper - If I hadn’t been eating like a pig all this last week while working in Tampa, Florida I would be hungry right now.

  • November 2, 2010 - 1:42 pm

    Glyn - @Tim…lol :) Mate, I was well and truly ‘stuffed’ at the end of the shoot :)

  • November 5, 2010 - 12:34 am

    Mike Nelson Pedde - Thanks for this! BTW, I’ve added you to my ‘Lightroom Links’ page: http://bit.ly/LRTips


  • November 5, 2010 - 4:38 pm

    Glyn - @Mike…That’s really kind of you mate; thanks of the ‘shout out’ on your blog :)

  • November 19, 2010 - 9:00 am

    David Kelly - Nice work as other have said Glyn. Haven’t put my hand to any food photography as yet but thanks for the tips for when I do.

  • November 19, 2010 - 1:03 pm

    Glyn - @David Kelly…Cheers Buddy

  • June 11, 2011 - 9:04 am

    Thai - Hi! I have a canon. what do I need to get started?

    This is on my list so far.

    1. 580ex (do I need to get 3 of these?)
    2. gobo?
    3. umbrella


  • August 3, 2012 - 8:23 am

My Backing Up Workflow aka ‘My Battle with Paranoia’

“Hard Drives are only ever in one of two states…failing or about to fail” ~ Unknown

Now I’ve no idea who it was said this but it’s something that’s stuck with me and I’ve no doubt has contributed to my paranoia about backing up, but then as a photographer I don’t think I’m alone. Certainly the experience of having a hard drive fail on me earlier in the year didn’t help…despite Apple’s Time Machine saving the day.

Workflow is something that’s very personal born out of previous experiences & recommendations but also something that’s forever evolving in the search for the perfect solution. Speaking for myself I’ve been looking for a better way of doing things for sometime now as I’ve come to realise that the attitude of “That’ll do” maybe isn’t the way to be.

My Backing Up Workflow
Over the past few months I’ve made a few changes with my Workflow….both in Post Production and with Backing Up, so I thought I’d share my own Backing Up Workflow with you here. Now I understand that we all do things differently but this is what I’m doing (at the moment) and I’ll bet you any money it’ll change again at some point in the future; such is the way in the digital world.

Point of Capture
More and more I’m shooting tethered to my MacBook Pro with images going directly into Lightroom but of course there are also the shoots when I’m shooting directly onto the cameras memory cards so here’s what I do in both of those situations:

Direct to the camera
One of the many things I love about shooting with a Nikon D3 is that there are slots for two (2) memory cards and consequently a few choices as to how to the camera uses them. One way is so that you have the second card act as an overflow so you have more space to store files as you shoot and another is to have RAW images appear on one card and the same images in JPEG format written to the other.

Now I always shoot in RAW so what I do is choose the other option which is to have the camera write identical images on both cards so immediately at the point of capture I have a backup. Setting up the D3 to perform this backup is really simple and accessed via the SHOOTING MENU:

Before I was shooting with a Nikon D3 I used to use an Epson P5000 Multimedia Player to backup the cards immediately at the end of the shoot but to be honest it seemed to take forever so I stopped using it. I know now that Epson have since updated this unit to the Epson P7000 which is a massive improvement and very popular so who knows in the near future I may well go back to using one.

Shooting Tethered
Whenever I’m shooting in the studio and more increasingly ‘on location’ I’m shooting with my Nikon D3 tethered to my MacBook Pro with images going directly into Lightroom, but the one thing I’m not keen on is the fact that the images are not written to the memory cards. So to make sure that I’m as safe as possible I have an external Hard Drive attached to the MacBook Pro also. This 500Gb Hard Drive is partitioned, giving over 400Gb to Time Machine and the remaining 100Gb to image files.

Basically as I shoot, images appear in Lightoom and those original files are written onto the MacBook Pro’s Hard Drive. As this happens I use a piece of software called SuperDuper to then Backup those original files on to the external Hard Drive, so now I have two(2) versions of the same image. Finally, every hour the whole system is backed up using Time Machine incase the unthinkable happens:

This whole process happens automatically leaving me to just keep shooting and the only thing I manually do is to make another Time Machine backup when we’re all finished and packing up.

Importing & Backing Up
Ok so once the shoot is over the next stage is to get the images into the main computer for sorting through and Post Production.

I use a superb piece of software called Photo Mechanic for importing the image files directly into a folder on my desktop which I have named ‘PM_IMPORT’ and the reason I use Photo Mechanic for importing the files is that it’s blisteringly fast. I used to import files directly into Lightroom but always found it a slow process plus another advantage of Photo Mechanic is that I can import from more than one card reader at a time.

*Note: If I’ve been shooting tethered then the files are imported directly off the MacBook Pro’s external Hard Drive which I connect to the iMac.

Ok so to explain the above workflow diagram…

  • Image files are imported off the memory cards and/or the external Hard Drive via Photo Mechanic into a folder on the desktop called “PM_IMPORT”
  • I’ll then sort through these RAW files selecting the ‘keepers’ and it’s these ‘keepers’ that are then imported into Lightroom.
  • All of the RAW ‘keeper’ files are then backed up onto the Drobo, and Time Machine is activated manually to create an entire system backup.
  • The folder in which all the RAW files from every shoot are stored is backed up ‘off site’ automatically using Carbonite; a superb online utility that uploads your files to a secure server when your computer is inactive…that way it doesn’t interrupt your internet speed if you’re browsing the web, using email etc…
  • Finally I burn a copy of the RAW files onto a DVD and store this in a Fire Proof Safe, and also make a copy of that DVD and store it off-site.

* I also have an external Hard Drive that is used to automatically back up Time Machine using SuperDuper.
* Backing up onto DVD used to be all I did but having heard that DVD’s might degrade over time I thought it about time for a new way of doing things)

Once this whole process has gone through, then and only then will I format the memory cards and/or delete the files off the MacBook Pro’s external Hard Drive.

Now there are things that I do at a later stage once I’ve gone through all the Post Production such as exporting all the edited images to their own folder and backing this up on the Drobo, Time Machine and Carbonite. That’s something I do since I had a catalogue corrupt in Lightroom and all my edits were lost; like I said workflow is born out of experiences:)

•     •     •

So there you have it, my own personal backing up workflow which like I said at the beginning I’m sure will change over time but for now I’m quite happy with this.
BIG thanks to everyone on Twitter that recommended some of the utilities that I’m now using such as Carbonite and SuperDuper; awesome bits of kit!

Sure there’ll be ways that you do things very differently to the way I do, and that’s great because there’s no real right or wrong way so long as you backup in some form or another, and that being said it’s always great to get some feedback, so if you have any questions, comments or maybe some recommendations then as always feel free to make use of the comments section below.


ps> I was going to ask if you thought that doing this amount of backing up made me paranoid but then decided against it as you were probably talking about me last night anyway to your friends saying exactly that:)

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  • October 29, 2010 - 10:06 am

    Keith Hammond - Paranoid yes the whole post smacks of paranoia :-)
    Only ribbing you mate, you just cant take chances with your digi negs, as i said in my last comment we used to keep our film negs in a draw or box and not give them another thought untill we wanted a re print but because we know electronics no matter how sophisticated can fail at any time we have to do all we can to cover that situation.
    Gotta say that is some set up mate, the more you can automate the system the easier it will be.
    I wonder what the future has in store for us re storage, i suppose it should get cheaper, smaller and easier we will have to wait and see in the mean time back up, back up again and may be once again just in case :-)
    BTW Have you given Neal a list of all this gear he has to get next, i bet he thought it stopped with the purchase of his D700 eh :-) :-) :-)
    PS i think i will be going down the Mac road soon so a beer and a Mac chat needs to be arranged

  • October 29, 2010 - 11:43 am

    Neil Glover - Great post mate and very timely since I’m reviewing my backup strategy right now. I’ve been using external hard drives but even those are now running out of space. I know I need to get better at deleting the non-keepers because there is little point in me backing those up. Out of interest are you importing into lightroom to sort out the keepers?

    I’m considering the Drobo too but it’s a pricey option. What’s your opinion on it? I wonder whether to just buy a couple of huge hard drives and do the striping myself.

    I’ve been using AllSynch which is a great bit of free software for synching my laptop with external drives for back up. You can set up several jobs and have the synch go in various directions.


  • October 29, 2010 - 12:29 pm

    Dave Clayton - Great article Glyn, even though I am not a photographer I do create a lot of Photoshop and Illustrator files as well as photos. Seriously looking at Carbonite for offsite back up AND for releasing some space on my Mac drive and backup drives for both essential and non-essential files.
    I too have lost work in the past an now use time machine AND 3 external back up drives.

  • October 29, 2010 - 3:25 pm

    Shivakumar - Hey Glyn,

    Thats a very aptly written blog with full info on what goes on in your shooting and backup workflow. But i have few specific queries which others might be interested in knowing also :)

    a. Am i right in saying you have about 9 backups or copies of your files at the end of a day ?

    1 Macbook pro
    1 Macbook pro ext HDD
    1 Macbook pro Timemachine
    1 iMac HDD
    1 DROBO
    1 Carbonite
    2 iMac Timemachine
    1 DVD

    Does this mean at the end of a month or a time period you flush out everything in Macbook pro and/or iMac and/or Macbookpro HDD – and retain only others ?

    b. I presume the DROBO is a RAID type backup so there again you have multiple instance or copies of your data ?

    c. How do you organize your files when you shoot both when you shoot on camera and when on tethered – ie folder structures and file naming – and does everything and anything from your shoot goes into all the backup or only keepers ?

    d. Do you backup your high res processed tiff images and/or webimages + video tutorials etc in the same way ? ie do they fit in the same workflow or they get backed up in a separate channel ?

    Hope i didnt bombard you with too many questions :)

    Once again thanks for the insight into your workflow model


  • October 29, 2010 - 7:39 pm

    Dan Davies - Well you’ve gone and done it boots and braces. Typically thorough of you Glyn.

    I’ve always struggled with the competing needs of keeping something as simple and automated as possible so that it runs without thinking and having the security of knowing that you’ve manually done something and you actually know it’s worked. You seem to be pretty close to acheiving both of these.

    I’m currently trialling BackBlaze (backblaze.com) as a Carbonite type solution. What I’m not sure though is how able it is to keep up with the new images during busy periods and of course theres a risk to any type of cloud storage should the company go bust. Let’s hope we never find out eh?



  • October 30, 2010 - 11:05 am

    Glyn - @Keith…Yeah I guess the future is going to be really interesting when it comes to backing up; with storage solutions getting smaller and alot more use of ‘Cloud’ utilities I expect…but we’ll see.

    Re Neal…he’s been away fishing this past week so he knows nothing about this…yet :)

  • October 30, 2010 - 11:10 am

    Glyn - @Neil…Hi mate, thanks for stopping by and commeting.
    Regarding importing and sorting out the ‘keepers’ I use Photo Mechanic to get the files off the memory card or external hard drive and they then go into a folder on my desktop called ‘PM_Import’. Once they’re in the computer I then use the browser window in Photo Mechanic to sort through the images and put my initial keepers into another folder designated to the shoot. It’s this folder that I then import into Lightroom and then start working on. Occasionally I’ll reject the odd photo or two once they’re in Lightroom and I’ve had another look through them.

    Once they’re into Lightroom and all the backing up had been done I’ll then reformat the memory cards (in camera) or delete them off the external HDD and the MacBook Pro…does that make sense?

    Thanks for the ‘heads up’ re AllSync…I’ll head over and check that out cos I’m liking the sound of what you say it can do.


  • October 30, 2010 - 11:11 am

    Glyn - @Dave…Hi Mate. Yeah horrible feeling when you lose the files huh :( … not good.
    Carbonite seems to work really well; the first backup takes quite a while but once that’s done it flies along nicely.


  • October 30, 2010 - 11:20 am

    Glyn - @Shiv…Thanks for dropping by and commenting mate.
    Re your queries…

    If I’ve been shooting tethered then once the images are into the iMac and then backed up fully i then remove them off the external HDD and the MacBook Pro but leave the Time Machine to do it’s thing.
    Image files remain in the iMac for editing and once they’re edited, the final versions are exported into a folder of their own and this folder is also backed up onto the Drobo, Time Machine, MCarbonite etc… I’ll then remove the RAW files etc off the iMac leaving only the folder of edited images in Lightroom; does that make sense?

    Re the Drobo…I love it!!! It basically shares your data over a series of discs and should one fail it then empties it and shares it across the others. Certainly helps with the sleep at night :)

    I have no specific way of organising files when shooting both tethered and in camera for the same job. I generally just import them all and back up in the normal way.

    All of the video files, web images etc are all backed up automatically onto the Drobo also using SuperDuper; saves me having to think about it. A ‘watched’ folder is backed up each evening.

    Hope that helps mate, but feel free to give me a shout if there’s anything else.

  • October 30, 2010 - 11:22 am

    Glyn - @Dan…Thanks for commenting mate :)
    Yeah backing up as you know is v.important but it’s keeping it simple and remembering to do it that’s the hard part. Thankfully utilities like SuperDuper, Time Machine etc take the worry of forgettinbg to do something out of the equation.

    Thanks for the ‘heads up’ re BackBlaze…sounds interesting so I’ll go check that out too.


  • October 31, 2010 - 7:03 pm

    Keith Hammond - “I’ll then remove the RAW files etc off the iMac leaving only the folder of edited images in Lightroom”

    Don’t you keep your RAW’s, or have i missed that back up part ?

  • November 1, 2010 - 5:45 am

    Glyn - @Keith…The original RAW files have already been backed up on the Drobo and the two (2) external HDD’s acting as Time Machine and Time Machine Backup plus Carbonite and the DVD’s so I just get rid of them off the iMac’s HDD to free up space. I definitely keep the original RAW files but just not on the iMac once all the editing has bee done…hope that makes sense :)

  • November 1, 2010 - 11:29 am

    Keith Hammond - yes…….i got a little lost in what was saved where :-)
    that Drobo looks good, been watching some demo vids on it…….another item to add to the list

  • November 1, 2010 - 7:18 pm

    Glyn - @Keith…Worth it’s weight in gold mate; love it :)

  • November 5, 2010 - 1:47 am

    A.J. Wood - That’s quite a lot going on, but I can understand the need for 100% uptime & multiple redundancies. I would ask the following questions:

    1. Where/How do you find an image if you need to recall it later? I assume your edits are all divided out into Collections or do you goto the Exported Edits folder you created?

    2. Are you backing up both the RAW “keepers” and the edited versions?

    3. Are you writing out your changes from Lightroom’s database to the RAW files? (Hence there would not be a need to export files, except for the client)

    4. Have you tested the backups? (Yeah, I know I hit you with this one already, but we weren’t on the blog)

    I have not incorporated Photo Mechanic into my workflow, although I continually hear good things about it. My process is similar to Scott Kelby’s making an initial backup of the RAW files, then overwriting that backup with the edited versions later.

  • November 5, 2010 - 4:55 pm

    Glyn - @A.J…It sure is mate. Re your Q’s…

    1. Yeah all my edits are in their own collections but to be honest this is only something I’ve made use of over the past couple of months so it was a nightmare to find files not knowing where they were stored. All of the image files are imported with individual keywords relating to that specific shoot as opposed to generic terms like…’portrait’ ‘landscape’ and so on. Sure I use those but I also keyword the subjects name in there too; easy to search for them then :)

    2. Yes mate…keeping both which I guess does mean more space but hey, that’s my paranoia kicking in :)

    3. Once all the editing has been done I generally export to the ‘Export’ folder. This is ‘generally’ a temporary place they are held before sending off or burning to discs etc…

    4. I’ve tested the backups so far as loading images in off the HDD’s but no more; oh no now you’ve got me thinking…lol :)

    PhotoMechanic is superb mate but to be honest not really necessary unless like me you want to import really quickly and from a couple of readers at a time.

    Hope that makes sense but any suggestions you may have…I’m all ears :)


  • November 18, 2010 - 12:37 pm

    David Kelly - Geez that’s a set-up and a half there Glyn but absolutely understand the need for being safe than sorry!

    Haven’t had a look a Carbonite but I currently use Mozy to back up my PC’s files off site. The problem I’ve had until recently though is just the amount of time it takes to back-up upstream. Thankfully with my new fibre DSL service recently installed it now whizzes away upstream at mega speeds.

    Need to get some extra HDs soon though as I’m running out of space for drive images & back-up. Nice that HD prices are always falling down in price, just pity that our space requirements keep going up :-)


  • November 18, 2010 - 2:24 pm

    Glyn - @David…Yeah the ‘off site’ backing up can take quite a while…especially for the first backup. Your mega speed uploads sounds superb mate; hopefully in the not too distant future we can all benefit from warp speed broadband :)

    Might be worth looking at a Drobo mate to save on space especially as the 4 Bay version seems to be dropping in price on an almost daily basis.

    Must try and meet up soon,
    All the best to you,

  • December 10, 2010 - 6:24 am

    Callum Winton - A footnote to your Lightroom corruption that you had ….
    If you save the changes to .XMP then you only lose virtual copies if the catalogue corrupts.

    In LR go to:
    Edit | Catalogue Settings | Automatically write changes into XMP

    I used to convert to .DNG, but by using .XMP this saves a lot of time when I make lots of changes as the .xmp file are tiny.

    I still backup everything though, but using .xmp is a big time saver and safer in the longrun.


  • December 10, 2010 - 7:54 pm

    Glyn - @Callum…That’s great; thanks for that :)

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