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Since weddings are quick paced, one-shot events, backing up your image files as you work is imperative. Unless you plan on carrying a pocketful of memory cards, you’ll need a device to store your files so you can unload your memory card and pop it back into the camera. (Always carry spare cards in your kit.)
Your choices for backing up and archiving include several options, starting with the hard drive of your portable Apple, Windows or Netbook computer. Additional options include Wi-Fi connectivity to a remote server or “Cloud,” along with external handheld storage devices such as the PST-251 Photo Safe II. Transferring your images directly to a portable pocket drive simplifies viewing and editing on multiple computers, tablets, and laptops; accessory card readers can be an essential option to employ when an integral card slot is not present.
Many wedding photographers upload their work onto password-protected Flickr, Facebook or Photobucket accounts for near real-time viewing by the bride and groom’s friends and relatives who could not attend the ceremony or reception. (Additional sites include Shutterfly Web, Mozy, BackBlaze, Carbonite, Amazon Cloud Services, Windows Live SkyDrive, Adobe Photoshop Express and Rackspace.
On a similar note, “the cloud” has by now become a popular medium for storing all types of data and is an option you may want to consider. The advantage of online/cloud backup is the ease of access available no matter what hardware you have before you. It is, of course, advisable to keep hard copies.
A popular service offered by wedding photographers is the presentation of a photo slideshow during the wedding reception. Slideshows can easily be put together on a computer as small as a netbook, and the computer can be connected to a portable projector pointed at a tripod screen. The most common way of linking the computer and projector is through a VGA port. An alternative to a computer is a small media receiver that accepts a USB hard drive or Memory Stick full of pictures. Just like the computer, it would plug into a projector, but typically with HDMI or composite video cables. Unlike a portable computer, a media receiver has no display of its own and comes with a remote.
We advise against a pocket-size (pico) projector because the picture will likely be competing with room lighting, and the image size won’t be large enough to attract guests at distance. Any portable projector with lumens of at least four digits should do the job.
If you can’t count on a spacious white wall for your projector, consider bringing along a collapsible screen. Tripod screens are best since they’re freestanding and also easy to carry when folded. What you probably can count on is a table for the projector, but even in such cases, scouting the venue with an eye out for electrical outlets is recommended.
Reception guests might like to have professional pictures available at the reception to take home with them. The enterprising photographer can accommodate them with the use of a speedy-output printer, the HiTi Hi-Touch Imaging Tech P510S, a workhorse of a 6-inch dye-sub printer that’s also easy to use and transport.
So, to backtrack: Regardless of how you choose to back up your images, be proactive about it and avoid a potential disaster.
What techniques and hardware have you used to back up your image files when photographing a wedding? What methods do you prefer? If you have any tips, suggestions, questions or great “war” stories to share, please do so in the Comments section below. We look forward to reading your posts.