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3 Things I Learned Through Data Loss


Logic board failure. My worst nightmare came true. The sleek device in my hand was completely useless. Just a shiny paperweight. 

But the worst was yet to come.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve heard the story before from somewhere out there in the wide world of the internet. Some poor soul posting “new phone, send me your number.” You think it can never happen to you. 

Until it does.

I’m here to tell you right now that your phone dying totally sucks. But it sucks even more when you realize that you never backed up your data

I’ve been in the photography business for over 15 years. I’ve preached to every client I’ve photographed that they should download their pictures and then immediately back them up. I have a near religious practice for backing up my clients’ pictures. You never know when disaster could strike. 

Disaster struck me, and I was completely caught off guard.

Friends, I am begging you. Take your phone out right now, and back up your precious pictures and videos to the cloud or to a physical hard drive. Seriously, do it now. 

Or you might wind up like me. Missing five YEARS of life. The last five years included the birth of my third child, our memory-of-a-lifetime road trip from PA to CA, and our entire life in California to date.


But, as in all of life, there are lessons I can learn, and gratitude I can have. Here’s three things I’ve learned from my data loss experience.

First, thankfully, data loss doesn’t affect printed pictures.

My family creates an annual photobook with Chatbooks that includes pictures from our cell phones. Chatbooks has a wonderfully easy to use interface as well as an app so you can design directly from your phone. Since my husband uses an Android and I use an iPhone, it’s easier for us to use the website.

Chatbooks can also import pictures and captions directly from Instagram. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

They also have some of the most amazing customer service I’ve encountered. Chatbooks reprinted a book for me, even though it was due to MY mistake, free of charge. Their response time is crazy fast too. 10/10 recommend.

Thanks to these annual update books, I have memories preserved through 2022. I didn’t lose the best of the best of the pictures I had on my device. They are forever safe from technological failures.

Printing your pictures is so important, and because I love them so much, I’ve partnered with Chatbooks to offer you 50% off your first book with their monthly photobook subscription, with free shipping! If you use my link, I do receive a small commission from the company, but I never endorse or promote anything I don’t wholeheartedly believe in or use myself.

Again, your memories are far too precious to leave in the cloud. So why not snag 50% off your first book and have it shipped free? Click here to get started!

Second, I will create a good habit of backing everything up. 

James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, talks about the importance of habits and how we can be successful in creating lasting ones that help us grow into who we want to be. 

I want to be a person who documents family legacy for the future generations. 

Data loss is antithetical to who I want to be.

Therefore, I need to develop the habit of regularly backing up our family’s legacy.

One of the tactics Clear gives is “habit stacking”. Take a good habit you already have, and before or after it, add the new habit you want to create. 

Every morning, I make a latte and sit with my devotional and spend time in quiet before the chaos of the day ensues. I recently stacked a new habit onto this one. I now get up at 5:45am so I can get a 30 minute walk in before making my latte and doing devotions. 

So, taking that method of habit stacking, I will now be creating a new habit of backing up our legacy by doing it before I create my Tending List on my Powersheets for the new month. 

If you don’t use a cloud based service, I would strongly encourage you to use habit stacking to create a regular routine of backing up all your data. But especially your precious pictures and videos. It’s truly painful to lose them. 

Which leads to my final lesson.

Third, the pain of losing these pictures underscores just how beautiful and important the “everyday” is.

The beauty of everyday life is most often what we capture with our devices. 

Having these memories is so important. Looking back at how your family has changed over time, where you’ve been, and how far you’ve come is a critical piece of legacy. 

It makes me so glad for what I do. I get to create these pictures for so many families in the Bay Area. Creating artful photographs with family photojournalism that will spark memories and stories for years and generations to come. And, as I said above, I’m slightly fanatical about how I back up my work for my clients. So you don’t have to worry about losing your data. 

I haven’t lost all hope of ever seeing those photos and videos again. There are data recovery services that seem like a promising option. But, even if the loss is temporary, it is distressing. And nothing is guaranteed.

So, please, print your pictures (Chatbooks is a great option!), make a regular habit of backing them up, and soak in the beauty of the ordinary everyday moments. Your family’s legacy is worth it.

Family photojournalism sessions are a fantastic way to capture your beautiful ordinary, and not have to worry about data loss. Click here to schedule a call on my personal calendar to learn more!

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I'm Rachel

A whole-hearted believer in the incredible power of photographs.
Especially of family.

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a journalist. I relished the idea of telling the stories of people and places. As I neared graduation, my love for photography took over and I began my career as a photographer.

When I became a mom, I realized that the picture perfect Instagram families didn't map onto my own life. It seemed boring and inauthentic. I found that I craved authenticity and connection. I needed to know I wasn't the only one with wildness and chaos running around my house.

I picked up my camera and began to photograph it. Maybe someone else could relate.

It was then that I discovered my true passion: telling the stories of every day family experience through beautiful images. Also known as family photojournalism. A perfect blend of my journalism dreams in high school and my life as a professional photographer & mom.

Now I get to live out that passion by serving families like yours in San Jose and the Bay Area by creating artful yet authentic images you'll love forever!