MAX-IT talks to renowned photographer Kid Chan and Margaret Koh, Western Digital Asia South Sales Director about the growth of portable storage devices and how critical they are to media intensive professions such as photography.
As a photographer, how and why do you incorporate storage solutions like Western Digital into your work?
Kid Chan To answer the question you’ll have to break it down to the fundamentals. When we talk about storage, in the photography industry we usually refer to backups. Most people don’t have the right idea. When most people ask “do you back up your images?”. Technically, most people don’t as the vast majority of the time most people simply download an image and not create an actual copy of the image as a redundant measure in case of failure or damage in some form. This Is critical in the photography trade. The main criteria in this regard is reliability and stability. These are the core values that Kid Chan Studio and WS have in common – stability and reliability. We are extremely excited to collaborate with WD and incorporate it into our business processes.
The photography business requires and uses vast amounts of data. In one weekend, we require, use and manage more data than a bank does in a year. We can easily use up to 150GB in one weekend for one shoot; multiply that by at least four times as we have to account for backing it up to multiple media as a safety measure and it stretches to 1TB.
When videography comes into play, this amount expands exponentially. As a photographer, our data is more important than our equipment. A camera can be replaced but a client’s priceless memories cannot be as easily swapped in the same fashion hence we need to ensure absolute reliability. While it is way more glamorous to talk about the high-end gear we use in our trade, it is more important in how we deliver value through our photos, which is essentially data.
With cloud storage, I can proof pictures anywhere in the world and then send them to our wedding photo album printer overseas in the UK or Japan for printing and binding. As you can see, it’s a data intensive business and it’s crucial that the data we use – photos and videos – are safe every step of the way.
What is the ethos behind WD’s storage solutions? How does WD stand out from the crowd?
Margaret To echo what Kid Chan said, reliability is paramount. Memories are irreplaceable and thus require absolutely reliable data storage media and quality. All of our products incorporate that most important factor of all – reliability. Once your data is lost it is impossible to get it back.
To cater to demanding users like Kid Chan, we have a broad portfolio of storage media that fit every possible requirement and need. Not just for photographers like Kid Chan but other trades as well such as for security use in closed circuit TVs where the hard disks have to be especially robust and designed to ensure frame rate drops do not happen.
To make it easier for our customers, we also colour code our devices for easier identification and we are the only hard disk manufacturer to do so. Blue is for everyday use. Green is for an environmentally friendly device. Black is for gaming and performance. Red is for NAS and the list goes on. Hard disks are not just ‘one size fits all’ storage devices anymore. That is why we partnered with Kid Chan to offer storage for his irreplaceable data.
Why do you prefer to use WD devices to store your work?
Kid Chan There’s only two types of people in this world. Those that have never lost data and never backed up their data and those that have lost it once and are obsessive about backups. It is about reliability and stability. It is something that WD can deliver and deliver consistently.
WD has been around for over 40 years. Pricing can play a small part in determining purchasing decision but not in our segment of the photography market as we demand and require the best in our devices to meet the needs of our customers who are high net worth individuals. To them and to me, the precious memories created with our photographs and videos is priceless.
Some of my clients have been with me for more than a decade and as time goes on, that data becomes even more valuable. When we store data, we become custodians and guardians of priceless memories so reliability is paramount. That is what WD represents and why our collaboration with them is critical.
How does WD’s new range of devices like the My Passport Wireless cater to the needs of the market and to photographers like Kid Chan?
Margaret It’s about efficiency and simplicity, which is what is embodied in the My Passport Wireless. For professionals like Kid Chan and other photographers who already have to deal with a ton of gear and other devices when they’re on a shoot, it becomes a burden to add another device that they have to keep powered and running with the cables and wires to transfer data to it like a conventional portable hard disk.
The WD My Passport Wireless frees them from that need and makes it a cinch to transfer data to it as it allows for wireless data transfer and the My Passport Wireless is self powered, allowing it to act as a hub for streaming data too such as videos and images. It can also accept SD cards for easy transfers. To wit, it’s the epitome of reliability and convenience. We constantly input from users and consult professionals like Kid Chan to understand their needs and create something they need and the My Passport Wireless is an example of that close collaboration.
It’s not just photographers that are creating more content. In our day and age, people create so much content – videos, pictures, selfies and the like – and require reliable storage. Storage is now an essential part of our gadget ecosystem. This content is critically important to us and is irreplaceable. WD isn’t just in the business of offering storage devices, we have to add another mandate to our business – protecting memories.