Personal data whats???
I am sure many photographers and artists alike have come across the problem about storing their master works.
And further it goes to what should you store?
Considering a large amount of members shoot their images in RAW, space becomes an issue somewhat quickly.
I can personally attest to the fact that going from jpeg to RAW shooting has drastically increased my requirements for space. Filling up a DVD of jpegs was a hard thing to do.
So what am i really getting at here?
Basically this is my process of handling and storing/backing up my data.
Firstly i separate shoots by months and days, or even subjects (if i have had 2 major subjects taken that day).
Inside that folder i have a sub folder called RAW Images. in which i place un-edited direct from camera files.
Along with that sub folder i have my final product images (ie white balanced, cropped, touched up etc) in a folder called MASTER JPEGS.
*A note here is that after i finish creating my master files, i make the folder and its contents read only.
And then i create another sub folder for client related purposes. Eg Dreamstime. In which i select images for the client (DT in this case) and any modifications clipping background removal interpolation etc
Basically an example of my directory structure would look like this...
----- RAW Images
----- Master Jpegs
----- Customer X
Additional to this i make it a habit of making backups of these images at least once per month. A more active or professional may do this weekly. Creating copies on two DVDs.
After these discs have been created i check them and remove the files from the PC. Mostly to maintain free room for data as well as keeping things organized.
Keep one disc for usage and another for a true backup. Discs can be scratched a i have found out =( Plus they are not that expensive anymore.
I realize this can be a bit pedantic, but the benefits can be immense.
Take for example DT's minor outage of pending images.
All images needed to be re-uploaded.
Sometimes accidents happen, and if you are in the business of selling you work (you wouldn't be reading this or on this site if you didn't) accidents can prove costly.
A client may loose a submission or a commissioned piece of work. Or the issue can be in your own backyard. A hard drive may fail, virus may force a pc refresh, or heaven forbid theft can occur.
If you are delivering your work, and are unable to provide replacements, are delayed in your delivery, have lost your work. It drastically reduces your chances of having your client return for additional work.
Backing up your work can be a bit time consuming but with it integrated into your work flow, can drastically improve your output.
Not to mention that you can still re-style the image from the original, not for a copy of a copy, causing loss of detail.
I have personally been saved a few times with this process. By having easy to find data, I have been able to replace 'lost in transit' data, as well as survived a few hard drive and PC crashes.
I hope you never loose any data, but if it does happen, i hope you have it organized. Because its hard to get your customers but very easy to loose them.