Photographer's backup guide

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While many factors remain outside a photographer's control, CrashPlan can help protect your images by ensuring that your most important files are backed up. This article describes features and considerations for advanced amateurs and professional photographers alike who are thinking about using, or already using, the CrashPlan app to manage photo backups.

Essential features for photographers

Protect your most important files

CrashPlan does not set any file size limits, so you can protect your critical images. Perhaps most importantly, we'll never charge you to restore your photos.


Reliability is a key feature of CrashPlan. The CrashPlan app monitors your devices in real-time to make sure all new files and file changes are backed up right away, and also automatically validates the health of your backed-up files. In addition, we perform regularly scheduled maintenance to ensure the security, quality, and reliability of our products, websites, and cloud infrastructure.

Onsite and offsite backup

The best way to protect your files is to take advantage of the benefits of both onsite and offsite backup. CrashPlan makes it easy to get the best possible protection and access with faster onsite backup and secure offsite backup.

Lossless compression

To increase the efficiency of your backup, the CrashPlan app compresses your files before sending them to your backup destinations. We use lossless compression, which means restored files are identical to the original and you will never experience a loss in quality.

Enterprise-grade security

Whether you're adhering to contractual obligations or simply conscientious about intellectual property, as a photographer you have a vested interest in ensuring that any files you back up are securely protected. All CrashPlan products use a rigorous security model that's passed the stringent security audits of numerous large enterprise businesses.

Special considerations for photographers

When it comes to backup, there are some unique challenges facing photographers, who produce a prolific amount of digital data compared to the general population. If you've been an active photographer for any length of time, you probably have a large amount of existing data to back up. You also probably add large amounts of data regularly. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.

System resources

Available computer memory may be a limiting factor for very large file selections. If you are backing up more than 1 TB of data or more than 1 million files, it may be necessary to increase the amount of memory the CrashPlan app is allowed to use. See our guide to adjusting CrashPlan app settings for large archives for configuration information related to memory usage. See our system requirements for additional information on the minimum requirements needed to use the CrashPlan app.

Speed for initial and ongoing backups

Another consideration for any large archive is the time it takes to complete backup for both initial and ongoing backups. There are two major considerations for speed:

  • Internet connection (bandwidth): The CrashPlan cloud has a finite amount of bandwidth that is shared by all of our users. Even if you have a very fast Internet connection, it's unlikely that your upload to the CrashPlan cloud will saturate your upload bandwidth.
  • Computer power (CPU): By default, the CrashPlan app has limits in place to prevent it from using too many system resources. However, many modern computers can support increasing the amount of CPU the CrashPlan app is allowed to use without impacting system performance. See our guide to speeding up your backup for more information on adjusting your settings for faster speeds.
Back up to the cloud
On average, you can expect backups to the CrashPlan cloud to progress by at least 10 GB of information a day, as long as your computer is powered on and not in standby mode.
  • For raw image files averaging 25 MB each, you can expect to back up about 12,000 files (300 GB) in a 30-day month (your average file size may vary).
  • For JPEG files averaging 5 MB each, you can expect to back up about 60,000 files (300 GB) in a 30-day month.

Rate of growth

After your initial backup is complete, incremental backups take much less time to complete. However, if your backup file selection grows by more than 300 GB a month on average, then it is unlikely that your backup to cloud destinations will regularly reach 100%. Consequently, if your monthly total of new data exceeds 300 GB, we strongly recommend a multiple destination backup strategy that includes backing up to a local destination, like an external hard drive.

Post-shoot backup
Backing up several thousand new raw images to a cloud destination may take several days (assuming your computer is powered on and not in standby mode). However, the same number of files can typically back up to an external drive in several hours.

Backup priority

The CrashPlan app is designed to intelligently prioritize your backup without your intervention. Nonetheless, because photographers have large archives, you may want to take greater control over backup priorities. With backup sets, you can opt to segment your file selection into sets with unique settings and priorities for each.


Every photographer has a unique workflow for capturing, processing, tagging, and editing photos. While there isn't a one-size-fits-all "correct" workflow, your workflow can impact your backup. For example, if you process your photos on a laptop that is frequently closed or off, it will take longer to back up your files.

Backing up Lightroom
See our guide to backing up Adobe Lightroom for best practices and considerations unique to that application.
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