Photographers with Macs should travel with 2 external hard drives

When I travel I always carry two external hard drives. With the Mac computer you can have a complete copy of your hard drive on an external hard drive.

Making of mirror backup

I use the SuperDuper software to create a duplicate hard drive of my computer.

There are a few benefits to having a copy of your hard drive. First of all it is a backup. If your computer hard drive fails and is not recoverable then you have everything on your backup hard drive. Well you will have almost everything, from the time you backed it up till the time you use it all that material will be lost.

When the software launches it will look like this screen to the right. The hard drive on your computer is on your left and then the hard drive you are backing up to is on the right. 

There are a few options, but I pick the full backup. The first time it backs it all up and later it will only add the changes.

For the Mac user when you have an external hard drive that has everything on it, you can borrow another person’s Mac and launch your computer.

Turn the computer off and then when you launch the computer just hold down the option key until you see your hard drive pop up as an option. Just click on your hard drive and now you are on your computer. Now it is not quite as fast as if it were built in, but it works great.

If your computer is giving you trouble then running repair permissions from your external hard drive will let you do an even better job of clearing up errors on your main hard drive.

You see your computer cannot fix something that is running. The only way to fix it is to run it from another hard drive sometimes.

To run “Repair Permissions” go to your utilities folder and click on Disk Utilities. It looks like the icon here with the stethoscope on the hard drive. Pick the hard drive you want to repair and then click on “Repair Permissions”

Now one more software I recommend buying is DiskWarrior. This software will do major repairs to your hard drive for you. However you must either use their CD or an external hard drive to run it. It really improves the performance of my computer.

I recommend running it about once a month.

It does more than just repair permissions. If your computer crashes ever, run DiskWarrior to clean up any damage done.

The reason I use an external hard drive to backup my system is to have a duplicate with me in case of emergency and to help me improve the performance of my main hard drive.

Hard Drive for Pictures and Video

My second external hard drive is where I put all the photos and video I shoot on jobs. I never put them on the main hard drive.

First of all shooting with a Nikon D4 in RAW mode creates a 24 mb file. My first hard drive was only 40 mb.  It will not take long to fill a hard drive shooting in RAW mode.  Videos are easily hundreds of megs in size as a bare minimum. Some run a few gigs and having this size file will wear out your primary drive if you put them on and off repeatedly.

Beyond Travel

I have more than one backup of my primary drive. I have at least two more of these back in my home office. I also have multiple backups of the photos on different hard drive.

My recommendation is to always carry at least two external hard drives to do at least at a bare minimum what I am doing.