What’s the one thing you love doing as a photographer? Taking photos right? What gets in the way of taking photos? Making a business out of taking photos!
Help is at hand though. This is the first of a series of posts dedicated to letting you know about the different services, apps and ways of working that can help you automate and better organise your photography business—starting today with the very important but sometimes messy domain of files and data.
When was the last time you backed up your photos? Yesterday? Last week? Last month?! The answer should be continuously.
Your photos are your business and you can’t afford to take any risks with them. Backblaze is a cloud based backup service that for $5 per month (discounts are available on their yearly plans) will backup an unlimited amount of data from your computer to their cloud based servers.
This is great for a number of reasons:
- Backblaze works continuously in the background meaning you won’t have to think about backups ever again
- You can backup an unlimited amount of data
- Backups are offsite (away from your home or office) meaning even the worst happens, your data won’t be affected
- If you use a Firewire or USB hard drive, that will get backed up also
- If your computer explodes, you can either restore mission critical files directly from their website, or get everything send to you on a flash drive or USB hard drive
It does take quite an amount of time to complete your first backup (think months not weeks depending on the speed of your Internet connection) but once your initial upload is complete, you can begin to feel a deep sense of calm knowing your important data is safe.
Bonus super sleuth feature: Backblaze also has a computer tracking feature meaning that if your computer gets stolen, you can turn this feature on and get some incredibly useful information (a handy map of where the thief is currently hiding, the IP address of your computer and what new files it’s now backing up) to allow you, or the authorities, to try and recover it.
How many machines / devices do you have? A desktop at home and a laptop for traveling? An iPad for meeting with clients? There’s bound to be a smartphone in the mix somewhere too.
Services like Dropbox and Google Drive bridge the gap between all of your different devices / computers and have all but put an end to the era of burning CDs, transferring files via USB flash drives and emailing attachments.
Getting this type of synchronisation setup is as easy as installing their software / app onto your computer / device, logging into their service on each device / computer you’ve got, moving some of your files into their synchronisation folder and then sitting back to watch as your files get seamlessly synchronised to every digital device you own.
You can use these services in your photography business to great effect when sending files and photos to clients also. Rather than creating 23 emails titled “Urgent Photos That Must Each Be Smaller Than A Silly Quota (1 of 23)”, you can compose a single email with a simple link to the file you want to send, or invite your client to view and even edit entire folders.
Depending on the size of the files on your machine you can under certain circumstances use Dropbox or Google Drive as a backup service although it’s worth noting that they will cover only the files you’ve deliberately moved into their synchronisation folders—Backblaze covers your whole machine (but doesn’t do synchronisation between devices).
3. IFTTT.com—One service to rule them all
While this post is about files and data, that’s only part of what IFTTT.com does. I wanted to include it in the first post of this series because it’s really a service that sits over the top of many other services and allows you to connect, mash and sync them all together with amazing creativity.
IFTTT.com works on the basis of channels and recipes. Channels are the different services, apps or things (e.g: email, Dropbox, Instagram, the weather, dates, Twitter etc—the list is long) and recipes are ways of connecting these channels together and making them interact.
For example, if you want IFTTT.com to send you an email each morning telling you what the weather is going to be like, then you can create a recipe to do that (or more likely someone will have already created a recipe).
There’s a seemingly infinite amount of recipes you can create and ways you can make services connect and these ways will be unique to you and what services you use however think in terms of automating tasks that you may do manually now.
When you create a blog post, do you manually post that on Twitter, Facebook and other services etc? Try creating a recipe for it. Want all your Instagram photos saved to Dropbox? No problem. Need your Evernote account to interact with your email? Your Twitter account with your Phone? All of these channels and many more are covered by IFTTT.com.