I speak to clients almost daily about backing up their photos. With the recent fires many people lost priceless memories they will never be able to get back because they did not store copies of them outside of their homes. Here are my recommendations for storing your photos for safekeeping.
Back up your photos to a minimum of 3 places, one of them being online. Develop a system that works for you. I personally have my photos on 2 separate portable hard drives, and on 2 or 3 online back up sites. Storage is getting cheaper and cheaper. It’s worth it to purchase portable hard drives you can grab in an emergency. There are a lot of services out there for you to back up your online. Some of them are free, and some of them back up your computer or phone constantly without you even doing anything after you set it up. Here are some of my favorite online storage places:
Use portable flash drives. I give all of my clients USB drives with their portraits on them. I highly recommend USB Memory Direct if you are looking to purchase a wholesale custom printed USB flash drive. Their customer service and quality is the best in the business. These small, portable drives are perfect for grabbing when you need to leave quickly, and they can be stored easily. The boxes that come with your orders are great places to store these drives. Don’t forget to back them up!
Back up your back ups. I know this is tedious and time consuming to set up, but you will not regret it. All hard drives fail at some point. It’s not a question of IF they will break, it’s a question of when. They last an average of 5 years. That’s not a lot of time! Keep them in good working order and clean for best results. I’ve had several hard drives fail. Luckily I have those same images stored other places.
Print your photos. Everyone is afraid of fires, especially here in Southern California where many homes have burned down in the past couple of years. It’s a legitimate fear, and one you should prepare for. Your home probably will not burn down before your USB drive, CD, DVD, computer or external hard drive fails however. It has been documented that photographic prints last much longer than digital without being backed up properly. Print your photos! Nobody shares photos with guests in your home by standing around your computer or phone. A large print on your wall, a photo album or something displayed is much more enjoyable to view for you and your guests than on a digital device. Studies have also shown that children get a big boost in self esteem when their parents hang up pictures of them. It makes them feel loved and valued in the family.
Organization is Important! It will do you no good to store your photos on multiple devices and sites if they aren’t organized in some way. How will you go back to find a picture you need if they aren’t organized in some fashion? When I am downloading my images off of my camera I give them all a name with the day, month, and year it was taken, along with a label of the event. For example, my Halloween pictures are labeled 10-31-2018 Halloween. It is so easy for me to scroll through the folders in my computer and find what I need. Organize your photos in a way that makes the most sense to you, and be consistent.
I know your memories are important to you. The images and videos of your life are what you will use to remember and share your lives with future generations. They are important! They are irreplaceable. Be careful and diligent, and you will be able to have them forever.
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