Backing UpFeaturedPhotography

Backing Up Your Photos: How To Make a Backup Of Your Backup

This is another one I get asked a lot (and it came up numerous times at the Lightroom Conference), and if you caught my session (or if you’ve watch3ed my SLIM [Simplified Lightroom Image Management} system, you know I’m always saying to make sure you have a backup of your main back on a separate external hard drive (ideally in a separate location). So, anyway I thought I’d share how I make a backup of my backup external hard. There are two method’s I’ve used — they both work great.

The first and my current method is using the 3rd party software “Carbon Copy Cloner” which is a Mac-only application, but a popular alternative for Windows (it does he same thing) is Acronis True Image, which also offers a cloud-backup option which is nice. (If you need more Windows alternatives, including free options, check out this article).

Here’s how it works:

STEP ONE: You plug-in both of your external hard drives (in this case, my Photo Backup 1, and Photo Backup 2), and launch Carbon Copy Cloner. A window appears and a bar displaying any available drives appears (seen above). you click on a Source drive (which external hard drive you want to copy), and then click on a Destination (which external drive you want to copy to) (as seen above).

Step Two: It’s really clear what’s going to happen; it’s very visual. You can see my Source is Photo Backup 1, and I’m copying any files that have changed since my last backup to Photo Backup 2. Once it’s clear that it’s set up correctly, click the Clone button and it makes an exact duplicate (a clone of your first external hard drive. That’s it.

You can set-up a schedule to do all this — it can send you reminder emails, or just automatically backup any time you plug-in your Photo Backup 2. It’s got some nice options, and it’s super easy to use, which I love.

The other backup and copy program I’ve used (for many many years now, and it’s never failed me), is SuperDuper. It’s super simple.

There’s really only one step. You plug-in your external hard drives, and from the pop-up menus you choose which drive you want to Copy from on the left, and which one you want it to copy to from the pop-up menu on the Right, and you click Copy Now. They kind of over-explain what’s going to happen and sometimes that makes you read and re-read the explanations so you know you’re doing the right thing, but in reality its hard to do the wrong thing as long as those two menus are set correctly (as seen above).

So, why did I switch to Carbon Copy Cloner?

The single only reason I switched was that so many people asked me questions about Carbon Copy Cloner I felt it would be helpful if I started using it so I could answer those questions. That’s it. They’re both great and do a great job.

I hope you found that helpful, and if you only have one backup of your photo library, please take this is that flashing yellow light warning you to do something important quick. 🙂

Have a great weekend, stay healthy, see ya’ll next week. 🙂




  1. Robert Farrell 24 May, 2020 at 17:24 Reply

    Do you have anyone at Kelby One or maybe here on Lightroom Killer Tips that could walk us Window guys through Acronis True Image?

  2. John 18 May, 2020 at 12:02 Reply

    Thanks to your SLIM advise, I now have backup online with Backblaze, so backing up to a second hard drive is next on my list. (I’m using a Drobo, so not too worried about it, and I do have backups on a spread of other drives, but that obviously isn’t ideal). My question has to do with what to do if the first drive can’t be used: Do you just change the name of the second drive to what the first one was and LR will just continue on as if nothing has changed? If not, what’s the recovery method?

  3. Gilberto Vera 18 May, 2020 at 08:54 Reply

    When using either if the two softwares CCC or SD, the LR photos copied to the (to follow your example) Photo Backup 2 drive will be recognized by the LRcat, when this drive (Photo Backup 2) is connected to the computer?
    That would mean that if I start working or adding new pictures in the Photo Backup 2 drive (instead of the Photo Backup 1), I could mirror the two drives again by cloning whatever I did to the Photo Backup 2 Into the Photo Backup 1?

  4. Stefan van Rozendaal 15 May, 2020 at 16:11 Reply

    I have a Synology NAS which also automates the backup progress for my external harddisk with the app USB Copy installed on my NAS. I created a backup task so every time I connect the external harddrive to the USB port of my NAS, it automatically starts syncing the new data (photos) to the NAS. No need to press a button or anything else.
    The NAS itself is then backed up to a second storage onsite and also backed up to a NAS I have seated with my parents as off-site backup. So I always have at least 3 copy’s of my photos.

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