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.
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.
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!
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!