Crashes! Malfunctions! File corruption! Data loss! When disaster strikes, the Dream Tech flies to the rescue and saves the photographer's . . . neck. Top tech Richard Marot explains what he carries on his hard drive to every shoot so that in the midst of a crisis he can become the Dream Tech.
Michelle Brady is a photographer and educator. While teaching and photographing, she spent several years as a digital tech and digital systems consultant, helping photographers set up their digital workflow. She currently owns and operates Catskills Workshops & Retreats.
"Overprepared" is not a bad word.
It’s very common to encounter challenges during a shoot—like computer crashes, software malfunctions, uncooperative tether cords, random dust bunnies rearing their ugly heads on the sensor . . . the list goes on.
It’s nice to believe that all photographers are prepared for these occurrences with backups (and backups of backups), but, as any good digital tech knows, this is not usually the case. To be the heroic digital tech—and more than justify your rate—assume responsibility and prepare for such occasions by carrying your own emergency kit.
What should you carry? Glad you asked.
Digital techs usually carry a bag stuffed with hardware and grip suitable for the job they’re doing, but one piece of gear every great digital tech I’ve spoken to will never leave at home—whether they’re going to a studio or on location—is an external hard drive.
That hard drive is stocked with the latest software updates and the latest installers for the most common capture software (and certainly what they need for their own workflow). There’s nothing worse than booting up a computer and realizing that it doesn’t have what you need to get to work.
The techs I chatted with tell me there are always three categories of software to have on your external hard drive:
- Installers for the most common capture programs
- Backup software
- Recovery software
Richard Marot, one of NYC’s top digital gurus, was generous enough to share what he keeps on his hard drive. Marot emphasized that you shouldn't carry just one software program for each task. Give yourself plenty of options, in case your first try doesn’t work. Here’s his list of must-have software:
- Every image capture program, including the latest, the updates, and the last few versions. (Capture One Pro, Leaf Capture, Phocus, Canon RemoteCapture, Nikon CaptureNX2, and any other program related to the gear that will be used on a specific shoot )
- Trial versions of Adobe CS4 and CS5, in case the photographer's system does not have Photoshop on it.
- Bootable versions of Apple OSX10.5* and 10.6*
- Apple Disk Utility (a thorough knowledge of its uses can go a long way)
- RescuePRO Deluxe, for drive and CF/SD card recovery
- TechTool Pro for hardware tests and maintenance
- Drive Genius for hard drive maintenance
- Data Rescue for hard drive recovery and file recovery
- DiskWarrior for drive repairs
- Super Duper to clone hard drives
- A Better Finder Rename to rename files
- ChronoSync to sync folders from drive to drive or machine to machine
What a fantastic list. If you have all of these on your hard drive already, you are well prepared.
This is a sharing zone—so let us know what you have on your backup drive by leaving a comment below.
Read more from the Dream Tech series:
Dream Tech: Get Your Digital Tech On
The Way of the A-List Tech
The Well-Equipped Tech
The Essential Grip Kit
Network Your Macs
Category:Digital Capture Tech
Featured photographer: Michelle BradyBack to list