Why you should backup your photos

January 13, 2020

Now that you have your full wedding gallery, you want to make sure that your wedding photos stand the test of time– starting with knowing how to backup your wedding photos.

I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of people accidentally losing their photos

misplacing their thumb drive, deleting an image and you can’t find it anywhere, or can’t remember the login to their online gallery is. And sometimes photographers delete images from their hard drives after a couple of months… so if you lost your photos, and your photographer doesn’t have them, then it’s bye bye wedding photos- for good.

Bridesmaids fixing their hair

I get it. We’re all human and mistakes happen.

Before I became a photographer I totally misplaced important images too and I was devastated anytime it happened. Whether it be a picture of my dinner from the night I was celebrating a job promotion, or a selfie of my boyfriend and I on vacation, the pain of losing those memories stung.

Don’t let this happen to you with your wedding photos (or any important photos).

Nothing digital exists unless it’s in 3 places.

My genius, techy brother

It’s so easy to lose digital files that if one backup source fails, then you still have your images from your Plan B and Plan C backup sources. When it comes to your wedding photos, there’s no such thing as too many precautions.

When I backup weddings and sessions for my clients, I backup the images to 4 different locations as soon as I get home. No way in heck that I’m going to lose your memories

First and foremost, download all of images- high resolution and web sized

After you’ve taken some time to relive your wedding (go ahead, soak it allllllll in and embrace the tears), you’ll want to download your entire gallery. Download the high resolution images first, and the web sized photos second. Categorize your photos in folders with the titles “High Resolution Wedding Photos” and “Web Size Wedding Photos.” Sometimes when you download a gallery, this is done automatically and you don’t need to do this step! But before you start downloading anything, make sure you:

1. Have a good wifi connection.

Your images are large files and it could take a good 30 minutes to download your images. Try not to interrupt the download, otherwise you’ll have to start the download again from scratch and you may end up with duplicate images.

2. Make enough space for the images on your computer. 

I know you’ve got a lot of files on your laptop that you haven’t look at in a million years, so now would be a great time to clean up some space. As mentioned before, your images are giant hunkin’ files so you’ve gotta make some space for those bad boys.

3. Get an 8gb thumb drive. 

If there’s no way you can download images to your laptop, you can download them to a thumb drive instead. Personally, I recommend downloading them to both a thumb drive AND your laptop.

Now that you have all of your images downloaded, it’s time to backup your wedding photos!  

1. Backup your high resolution images to the cloud (twice)

The cloud is one of the safest and easiest ways to ensure you’re never going to lose your images. I always recommend you backup your wedding photos to the cloud first after you receive your gallery. If it’s the only backup you do, you’re pretty well protected against photo loss. Upload the high resolution images of your photos to one cloud backup service, then backup your images to a SECOND, different cloud backup service.

Some examples of online cloud services are: Google Drive,DropboxOneDriveiCloudAmazon Cloud Drive

2. Keep the web size wedding photos on your laptop and/or desktop

I always recommend keeping a version of your photos on a platform that you regularly interact with. This way you’ll always have quick and easy access to your photos without having to login in anywhere or search around your desk drawer for the thumb drive. And it makes for easy sharing whenever you want to quickly send a photo or two!  

3. Backup your wedding photos to two thumb drives

Okay so maybe 2 thumb drives is overkill, but we are talking about how to backup your wedding photos and I don’t think you can overdo it.

So why do you need two then? Because you’re probably going to lose one, freak out that you lost it, and then breathe a deep sigh of relief when you remember you have another one stored safely away.

Backup the high resolution images of your photos to two separate thumb drives and store each of them in two totally different locations.

For example, store one thumb drive at your office and the other at home. I’m thinking that in case something horrible happens like your office flooding or your house burning down, you’ll still have a hard copy of your images somewhere (in addition to having them in the cloud). Sorry to get a little morbid there, but sometimes you have to think about the worst case scenario to properly prepare for it!  

These are the same backup techniques I use for all of the weddings and sessions I photograph

Although I use different programs than the ones I mentioned, this is basically the same process I go through to make sure I dont lose any images from a wedding or session. I also add 2-3 more steps in my backup process for redundancys sake too.

I also NEVER delete photos. Like ever.

Digital storage is so cheap these days that it doesnt make sense to me to delete images just to save space. I probably have six or seven 2TB external hard drives and a HUB back at home to store all of the photos I have ever taken.

This backup method is tried and true and has worked for me for the past 2 and a half years.


1. Download your full gallery, both the high resolution and web size version of your images, to your laptop/desktop

2. (optional) Organize your images by making 2 folders for them on your laptop/desktop. Label them “High Resolution Wedding Photos” and “Web Size Wedding Photos”, and move your photos into the corresponding folder.

3. Upload the high resolution images to 2 different cloud storage spaces

4. Copy your high resolution images to 2 different thumb drives

5. Store the thumb drives in two different locations

6. Delete the high resolution images from your laptop/desktop (only if your laptop/desktop doesn’t have space for them)

7. Always keep the web size photos on your laptop/desktop

And there you have it! You have successfully backed up your wedding photos!

What are your thoughts? Do you have any suggestions on other ways to backup your wedding photos? Leave a comment below!