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File Management for Digital Content Creators

A hard drive in a docking station next to a laptop with and external hard drive next to the mouse pad
"Archive" drive inserted into the docking station, with the "Everyday" external hard drive on the laptop.

Make sure you have a back up!!!

They say your data isn’t safe unless you have it saved in at least three places, two of which being different physical locations!

Now I know "file management" isn't the most sexy topic, but like it or not, it's super relevant and should be a top priority for anyone who does something creative digitally, be it photography, videography, music, graphic design, vlogging, name it.

All too often however, file management tends to be overlooked and under-utilized, that is, until that fateful day that for one reason or another, your data is corrupted, deleted, or somehow made inaccessible. These incidents are rare and unpredictable but should still be considered an inevitability.

Luckily for the audio engineers, music producers, artists, photographers, videographers, graphic designers, illustrators, and other content creators and digital collectors out there, archiving old/completed projects and organizing current ones in a way that defends against data loss can be accomplished with a simple two-pronged approach:

1. Have an organization system (how you name and sort files)

2. Have a physical back-up (a separate hard drive)

Organization system

Sort files as soon as possible!

Name files and folders as soon as possible

Use a similar format for all of your projects:

Example Folder Hierarchy:

Project Folder - "YearMonthDay - Project Title" = "20190213 - File Management"

Chronological Folders - "YearMonthDay - Note/Description" = "20190213 - Photo Shoot"

File Type Folder = "Footage"

Details Folder = "GoPro"

Physical back-up

Instead of breaking the bank on multiple portable hard drives, a more affordable approach would be to buy 3.5" desktop computer hard drives and a dock that can connect the hard drive to your computer. These are the types of hard drives that are found inside desktop computers, and are usually much cheaper than portable hard drives. For example, my 3.5" 4TB hard drive was $90, while my portable 2TB hard drive was $200.

I use the 4TB as an archive for old/completed projects and keep only current projects on the 2TB, which acts as my "everyday" drive. When projects are completed, I transfer them over to the 4TB and only keep the finished product on the portable drive (if at all, I usually remove them from the everyday drive once the project is posted/turned in to the client).

Gear Discussed: (NOT sponsored, NOT an endorsement)

-Insignia Dual Hard Drive Docking Station - $50

-Western Digital 4TB Desktop Hard Drive

Two-slot hard drive docking station with a hard drive in one of the slots
Two slots for backing up the back up or doubling the capacity

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