Why I back up my best photographs in Evernote

You can never have too many backups of your most important or precious files. In my case, my best photographs are both important and precious, so I back them up multiple times. One of them is in Evernote.

Every time I mention this, people look at me like I'm insane. You're probably thinking that right now!

Let me explain my overall photography backup programme first so I can put the backing up photographs in Evernote idea into context.

Evernote Photography Backup Notebook

Evernote Photography Backup Notebook

I organise and keep all my photographs in Aperture as managed files. This means each Aperture Library is a single special type of folder called a package that behaves like a self-contained entity. It includes everything in one place. I like the managed approach because I never have to worry about where my original photographs are.

I have 2 Aperture libraries: a Main library in an external Thunderbolt drive that has everything, and a Mobile library in my retina MacBook Pro's internal drive that has only a copy of the projects I'm actively working on. I merge the mobile one back to the main one regularly.

In the external Thunderbolt drive I keep my main Aperture library and my main Final Cut Pro library. Nothing else.

This is my overall backup strategy:

  1. Time Machine: One at home via Wi-Fi and one at work via USB. They back up both my rMBP and external Thunderbolt drive, which includes all my photographs.
  2. Backblaze: Continuously backing up both rMBP and Thunderbolt drive to the cloud.
  3. Clone: About once a week I clone my rMBP using Carbon Copy Cloner. This only backs up my Mobile library.
  4. Aperture Vaults: This is my primary photo backup. An additional external USB drive holds Vaults for both Main and Mobile libraries. Vaults are one of the great things about managed files in Aperture.

My photographs live in at least 5 places: the original drives, two Time Machine drives, the Backblaze cloud, and the external drive with the Aperture Vaults. I think I'm covered.

So where does Evernote fit in?

Aperture is non-destructive. Many photographs don't exist in their final form since Aperture doesn't touch the original files. Any adjustments you make in Aperture are just instructions that Aperture interprets. This is good because it preserves your originals intact, you can further adjust the photos later, and you don't fill up your drive with duplicate files.

However, I still like to keep an extra copy of my very best images in a final "rendered" format. Full size JPEGs are good quality even for print and will be readable for a long time by pretty much any computer.

I used to export these to MobileMe Galleries back in the day. Now I store them in Evernote.

Once I'm done with a project in Aperture, I filter out the 4 and 5 star images and export JPEGs in their original resolution. In Evernote, I create a new note for each project with the same title as in Aperture and I add all the JPEGs to it. All these photo backup notes are then stored in a dedicated stack called "Photography Backups (JPEGs)".

UPDATE: Several readers asked me to expand on how I put the photos into Evernote, so I wrote a follow up explaining it.

Backing up my best photographs in Evernote is really just in case the worst happens. I don't think I'll ever need them, but it helps me sleep better at night.

If you want to learn or get better at Evernote, I suggest you get Brett Kelly's ebook, Evernote Essentials. It will save you a ton of time and give you great ideas to get the most out of Evernote. I believe it's a good investment. You can find my review of the ebook here.