5 Ways To Preserve Your Photos

I honestly hope it has never happened to you, but in the world we live in it’s too common: a computer crashes, and photos are gone. Disappeared. Erased. No more. Unrecoverable. Never to be seen again, gone.

If it has happened to you, you know that terrible feeling. Your gut tightens, your heart races, your mind flashes frantically trying to recall the breadth of time covered by what was just lost and who, who, WHO might still have copies of those pictures.

Our photos are some of our most precious possessions, and fortunately there are many things we can do to preserve them. I’m happy to report it’s been a very long time since I’ve experienced that feeling, and I never want you to feel it again, so….here is my gift to you: 5 things you can do to protect your photos.

Print and display your photos

1. Print your photos


In this digital age, it’s not surprising that most of the photos we take never end up in print – but they should! Printed photographs provide a physical way to preserve our favorite memories, and give us a resource to reproduce that favorite image even if the digital file is long lost. As a bonus, printed photos get more attention on a regular basis on our walls, end tables, desks and cubbies, and are therefore enjoyed more often. Memories that are printed are more likely to be remembered! So frame that goofy vacation pic you love. Make a collage. Put it on canvas or design a custom photo album – online companies like Shutterfly (my personal favorite) make it easy!


2. Upload your photos to the Cloud


Whether you’re an Apple or a PC person, there is a Cloud for you. When you upload your photos (or any other digital files) to a Cloud, all your stuff is being stored on a server (or 10) that is safely tucked away quite possibly in another part of the country. The destructive storm that blew through your region has no affect on the Cloud. Usually you can expect a small amount of free Cloud storage to get you started, and as your storage needs grow you can opt to purchase more space at a monthly or annual rate. The peace of mind can be worth the relatively minimal cost.
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3. Save photos to an external hard drive


I bought my first external hard drive in college, and let me tell you, it was a CLUNKER. Big as a text book with a long thick cable, and it hummed like a jet engine when it cranked up. It cost two hundred dollars and could store a massive amount of digital information – 265 megabytes!! Yeah, I know, who could ever use that much space? Today’s digital cameras take much higher quality photos than they did in my college days, and those photos take up a lot more space, but the great news for all us shutterbugs is that storage technology has kept up! Now you can purchase a drive that fits in your pocket and holds 20 times more stuff for a quarter of the price. I use Western Digital (WD) drives, which have served me well and come in many fabulous colors. Even if your computer crashes and burns, these little external hard drives can be tucked in safe at home with their cute little USB cables, ready to give you back anything you remembered to put on it! Make it a habit to back up on a regular basis, and you can’t go wrong.


4. Take advantage of free photo storage


Many websites that will print your photos will also store your photos, free of charge! It’s a good deal for them, because they know you’ll go back to their site to print, and it’s a good deal for you because, well, free. Again, Shutterfly is my favorite, but check around! Photo storage – and printing – could be right at your fingertips!
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5. Hire a photographer who archives


When you’re thinking about getting professional pictures made, just take a moment to ask the question: what does the photographer do with all your photos after your session is over? Some photographers put them online where you can order prints or download files, but once you’re done ordering the gallery disappears. Some photographers only want to sell you prints, others only archive the photos you purchase and dispose of the rest. Be sure you know!

I like to treat my clients to a double-archive.

Back in journalism school, we were taught to keep everything, because you never know when an old, boring photo turns out to be something special. Sometimes an image holds amazing historical value that only time can reveal.

I feel this way about all my clients’ sessions, plus I know life happens, so I keep an archived copy of every photo I take. Every wedding has a back up. Every newborn. Every family reunion. I’ve got it right here, and all my clients have to do is call me.

I also make sure my clients have a complete copy of their session where they can find it! Everyone who books a session with HannahTstudios gets their hi-res digital images on a customized USB in its own protective tin.


Special photos require special care, am I right? Check out my new colors for spring and summer 2017…I’m pretty stoked!


If you know me, you know I’m not a gloom-and-doomer, but I do think it’s smart to have a backup. Or two! Do you know of any other good strategies to take care of your photos? Leave a comment so we can all hear it!

Sincerely yours,

Mommy will be so surprised! | Little Lucy

Lucy’s dad called me last week to make a last-minute photo request before he whisked his wife away on a cruise in the Bahamas. He is racking up the awesome husband points this week. Their two and a half year old hadn’t had any professional pictures taken since she was born! Her mother would be so surprised to find new pictures when they got back. Lucy’s grandma and great-grands were in on the plot, and they met me in New Bern with their beautiful little girl this evening. Here’s what we did!…






I can’t wait to hear what mom says!


Wedding in the Big Easy | Jeff & Jane

It is a true joy to call Jeff and Jane my friends.

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Madly in love with each other and the Big Easy, this New York duo set their sights on a dream wedding New Orleans. Friends and family literally came from around the world for a wild weekend of festivities in the southern city that knows how to party!

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They had their First Look on Frenchman Street, a gorgeous ceremony and dinner at the Marigny Opera House, a Second Line parade with jazz band in tow, and finally dancing downtown – I took over 2,000 pictures over the weekend, and the whole time felt like anything could happen.

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As the locals say…Welcome to NOLA baby! The wedding was so beautiful. Jane kept saying she just wanted everyone to have fun – I am happy to report, darling, mission accomplished! Congratulations to you both, and I wish you a lifetime of love. I have no doubt – with you two every day will be an adventure!

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A Pennsylvania Promise | Bud & Ginger

It was an intimate family affair nestled in the rolling hills of the Penn Oaks Country Club just outside of Philadelphia. The bride and groom were both calm and confident – on this crisp September day, marriage was just the natural extension of their love and commitment. They had known each other for years! Guests enjoyed course after course of amazing food, and dessert was another test of endurance as a table of treats accompanied a fabulous coffee bar. The band rocked all night! It was a truly gorgeous celebration full of love for Bud and Ginger, and I couldn’t have been happier to have been a part of it. Blessings to you both, always!

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Launch | Let’s celebrate!

A new home should have a housewarming party! Welcome to this new home for the wonderful people who have let me be a part of their lives and families through photography.

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You will see lots of pictures here (it’s what I do!), and even more than that you’ll get to meet the people in the pictures, just a little bit. I know you’ll find their stories as fun, heartwarming, and inspiring as I do.

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I want to thank you for being a part of my photography family in a very tangible way, and so the Promotions tab at the top of this page is for you! Every month you’ll find a new gift offered free with each photography session. Please do share these offers with your friends and neighbors and watch our family grow!

Welcome Home

One final word to my fellow photographers out there: I have no photography secrets. So if you ever have questions about photo techniques, lighting, or gear, just ask! You can reach me easily through the contact link above, and of course, I love it when you call.

I hope you enjoy the many features of this little photography journal, and thanks for celebrating its launch with me!

Always love,

Hannah Tomlinson


Sneak Peek | Jessie & Tony

Jessie checked her weather app religiously the day before her wedding, and Saturday morning with a curling iron in her hair the forecast for Richmond still predicted a small chance of rain. But the rain couldn’t beat the prayers of a determined bride! It was a beautiful sunny day, full of love. The reception overflowed with fun details that so appropriately represented the playfulness of this awesome couple.

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Graduate | Cayla Bryson

Cayla is one of those ladies who lights up a room. She just completed her Masters Degree in Vocal Performance at East Carolina University, and all that I know is, the world is in for a treat! She asked me to take some new headshots for her portfolio and applications, and also a few classic graduate shots for mom. We shot these on site at the Fletcher Music Hall at East Carolina University, and of course, by the beautiful ECU entrance downtown Greenville.


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This one’s for mom!

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Engagement | Erin & George

George and Erin have a truly sweet love story. From the first time she met him she knew there was something different about him. He was calm and confident, and spoke to her in a way that made her feel truly heard. When George looks at Erin you can see the love in his eyes, and understandably – she melts! For their engagement session, Erin and George wanted a vintage look, and they absolutely brought it to life with Erin’s adorable green dress and flirty headscarf, and George’s snazzy vested getup and traveller’s hard-sided suitcase. We did this shoot on the old bridge nestled in the trees of the Greenville Commons. Here are a few favorite shots from their engagement session, and I CANNOT WAIT for their wedding in January!

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