Photography Tip Series- Backing up your photographs

In this day and age we don't print our photographs or have dozens of albums around the house (which is a topic for another day people!) But what happens to those thousands of images we take? If it's on a phone, many are forgotten about never to be looked at or worst lost when your phone breaks or gets lost. If it's on a camera, so many people tend to just delete the files after a while to make room on an SD card. So years from now when children want to see those moments, how will you share with them? Will they be lost somewhere or gone altogether? 

This is especially important in my career field but precious memories are kept by everyone so what is your backup plan for photos? I personally saw how important it is to have MULTIPLE backups of files 5 years ago when getting ready to move from Las Vegas. One hard drive failed, and then the other started acting like it was failing too, to say I started panicking was an understatement. I did get it backed up to a new one before the second crashed so I could then backup the new one. whew. But it happens. Technology fails, the best thing we can do to hold onto the most important things is to have a plan. I wish I could say I coined this, but after I figured out how I backup, I researched and found I agreed with the one out there... and it has a name! 3,2,1 Backup Strategy.  It says this!...

Here's what it can look like:

3 copies of each file

2 local copies- This means on DIFFERENT harddrives. At least one being an external harddrive, the second could be on your computer or on a second harddrive. (I don’t store my photos on my computer after they’re offsite because of how i use my computer, it will slow my programs down.) Depending on the amount of photos and time, look into time machine or ways it can backup to your hard drive automatically each time a new file is uploaded. it may cost a bit more but then you don't have to take time periodically to back it all up yourself. Yeah for technology working FOR us!

If you're a photographer look into the Drobo 5N. It works over Wifi and backs it self up to 5 different hard drives. The technology is amazing and even if 2 of the hard drives fail it has a redundancy feature so you can be sure your files are still safe. 

1- offsite backup- I use Smugmug pro because of what else it can do for my business, but look into Amazon, Carbonite, or whichever offsite backup plan works best for you. 

It's not perfect, but it's a great way to make sure your files are safe for most people. 


Not sure what to purchase? 

Here's a few different hard drive suggestions, if you have questions, don't hesitate to ask me! 

Also, don't just burn to DVDs. 1- that takes so much time. 2- they're easily lost or corrupted. 3- as we progress in technology you'll notice some computers don't even have a DVD drive anymore so they will become more obsolete. 

If you decide to purchase, purchase form the amazon links below so I know they were useful for you!

1- Drobo 5N. For most people, this is going to be a bit much. 5 hard drives in one, redundancy feature, works over time machine, and a bit expensive. But if you're a professional photographer or in a similar field, it's worth the money. (oh and yes I still consider this machine just one of my backups)

2-The Crucial SSD 2TB. Again for most this is a LOT of storage. I decided to go with this one and build my own for travel. You can purchase one already complete or buy one like this to build your own. It's up to you! 

3-Seagate 1TB BarraCuda. This one is a lot cheaper and would be a great backup for those not in the photography field. Starting around $55. This one is just the internal hard drive so you'd have to purchase the enclosure but if you look at suggestions on amazon it can get you all the gear you need! It's an HDD

4-Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB HDD. It's about $80 and includes the enclosure. Be careful with HDD vs SSD. HDD means there are moving parts so if you drop it especially if it's plugged in and working, it could corrupt some files. the SSD is more expensive but can bump around more. 


WHEW. it's a lot of info and it is an investment, but so worth it! I'm all about displaying photographs in your home as art, but backing up to ensure they're safe is important. 

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

White Sands Boudoir Session- Sarah

I’m about to give away a big secret of boudoir photography, all women are nervous (even if it’s just a little bit) They’re nervous they’re undeserving, not “thin” enough, not sexy enough, can’t pull off the sexy look, showing the part of their body they don’t like, aren’t confident enough, or scared they’ll hate every single photo. Now that you know every woman feels this way, what’s stopping you? 

I will tell you boudoir sessions have been my favorite. Not just because the women walk away with a little bit of badass attitude or seeing themselves in a different light that they are enough and beautiful, but because of the conversations we have. Pouring out hearts and sharing hurts and what we’ve overcome happens more often than not. Sharing scars and things they’ve hid for years. And for a moment, vulnerability happens and their sexiness is shared even more. 

I know you’re worried about a hundred little things, so let me help with the posing and behind the camera part. You’ll just have to worry about what to do after your session because you’ll look smokin’ hot. 

I had a wonderful time with Sarah, we knew each other a little before the session, but after our session, I feel I understand her beautiful heart even more. Girl, I'm so proud of you and how you rocked it! 


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Keep Shining

Shanna Star

Joy Comes With the Morning

my heart. 

It aches and longs and feels pain. it can feel extreme joy where i have to clutch my chest it’s overwhelming. and yet we choose to show hatred so much more than showing love to people. 

I read something interesting this morning as i was going through my devotional and books for the day. It was about suffering. I normally try to write about getting through tough times, persevering, success, and beauty. But the truth is, we all will go through trying times. Things that pull heavy on our hearts and cause us to feel extreme pain, sometimes for an extended period of time. In the midst of this pain is where our character is made and many times shown outwardly in a way we can no longer only show the pieces we want people to see.

If you’ve read my blog before, you may know i’m a Christian, but i’m in no way going to say that “He only gives us what we can handle.” I don’t believe God puts us through suffering solely to teach us something, it happens regardless of circumstances and situations but the strength comes from what happens to our heart while going through pain and what God can do IN my life during that time. 

I’ve read a lot of books, devotionals, and even articles about how through trying times we can continue to rely on God, and how we should continue to thank him during it. The way this particular passage hit me, let me know how i can be thankful during something so difficult, and that’s what happens to my heart during it. the ending prayer stated this for the day “may the pain i experience cause me to offer and receive love more abundantly.” 

I can say this with an honest heart that i’ve been going through one of those painful times. It’s lasted longer than i would like, and i have times where the not so pretty pieces of me show whether it’s anger,  lack of patience, or unkindness. But i can also say there has been good. It has opened my heart in a strange way to feel love more deeply and more empathy towards loved ones, i reach out to more women and understand daily how precious people are to me. I have laughed harder, and felt joy and appreciated each moment that is wonderful. My heart has softened and caused me to feel emotions deeper, speaking of, every time i write something heartfelt, tears are ready to run down my cheek with happiness and understanding of the good that will always come from painful times. 

though the sorrow may last for the night joy comes with the morning

But I’m not just going to share that pain is the final answer. No, there is great hope that through pain i can learn to love more abundantly and appreciate more than i was capable of before. That i can be softer and kinder to those i want in my life, and during heartache can grow as a woman. How do i know this? Because it has happened. I have endured some great heartache in the past few years and have gone through the period of time where my heart was hardened. I didn’t believe in people being good nor did i think it was real when i saw it. But slowly my heart softened. In pain, i have found more people reaching out to me. They needed me, and it was a time i could grow. I have read countless books and journaled. I have experienced that through pain, if i let it, i can receive and give love more abundantly. But we have to see past the pain and what we can experience that’s good along with it. 

so what does it take? Time. It takes time to read and understand and open your heart back up. Time to think about the good and have little experiences through that hardship that show your character, but each experience is an opportunity to show kindness. it takes moments where you feel so weak you can’t go on, and that’s when someone else needs you. and in those moments i pray a loved one will reach out to you as they’ve done time and again for me.  The best thing we can do is continue on, we’ll see the good, heal those pieces that are hurt and grow. 

So through your heartache and trying times, give yourself time. Time to hurt and maybe be angry, but then get up, brush it off as best as possible and start to heal your heart so you can experience love more abundantly than before and a joy so unexplainable. 

I don't have all the answers, but I can recommend some books that have been heart-healing for me. Ones that I can read over and over and get something new out of it. The ones that help me understand who I am as a woman (and I'll share some for men too) You don't have to be hurting to read these books by any means, they're wonderful in happy times but I do recommend them in tough times too. Just some encouragement when maybe you feel alone in hurt. 


captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge a blog about healing

Captivating By John and Stasi Eldredge. I know I write about this book a lot. I First read it in college and have since given it to women in my life. Its about unveiling the mystery of a woman's soul. 

Becoming Yourself By John and Stasi Eldredge. You're going to notice a theme in authors. They way they connect with my heart is just too good not to share. 

The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer. I read this a few years ago but it really gave me that boost of confidence I was looking for at the time.

Battlefield of the Mind By Joyce Meyer. Out of both Joyce Meyer books I shared, I would go for this one. It really hit my heart. 


Wild at Heart By John and Stasi Eldredge. Men this one is for you. I've only read it about half through so far but I've heard some wonderful things about it. 

Way of the Wild Heart By John and Stasi Eldredge. I didn't know this is actually a completely different book from the first. But I heard it's powerful as well

If you order on amazon and use the links above, I'll know they were helpful! they send a message to me to let me know. (anonymously) You've got the tools, now all I suggest is when you read, journal too. Maybe that looks like just writing down quotes until you can find the words. It might be starting to write a few sentences, but when you let yourself just write, sometimes you'll figure out what you really feel deep down to start the healing process. 


Keep Shining

Shanna Star



Hampton Roads Boudoir Photography- in studio

I met this full of fire woman at the bridal show here in Hampton Virginia in January. We immediately clicked and she was so excited to try boudoir, she always wanted to try it and now had a extra good reason; a gift for her fiancé. 

We talked a few times about outfits and what to purchase and bring. I don't recommend purchasing all new lingerie and don't think it's necessary, most the time we can find beautiful items you have but this girl did amazing! She found discounted items at Victoria's Secret and got a few items from Adore Me online. they were some of my favorite pieces, lacy and had that vintage high waist style.. gorgeous!

By the end of the session while we had the fan blowing her hair around she said she felt like Beyonce all dolled up and pampered and hitting her cover girl poses like a pro. She already is a confident woman but like any, strutting around in lingerie can seem a little scary at first. To say she rocked it would be an understatement. Here's a few favorites from the session (though keeping the extra sexy ones for her husband's eyes only) And for her gift to her man.. my favorite product for boudoir, the 6x6 album. I'll share a few photos of it at the bottom of this post! 

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Hair and Makeup by Melesia Robinson-WIliams

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

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