Analog negatives, prints, tapes, floppy disks, CDs, flash drives, the list seems to go on forever! We are constantly transitioning to the newest, latest, and greatest way to store information; this includes our precious photographs that we hope will last forever! The trouble is, these changes seem to happen so fast, our storage becomes out dated and eventually seems impossible to access! My hope is to help ease this all too common frustration by giving you useful information on how to properly protect those priceless photographs, along with other important files!
STORING TO ONLY ONE LOCATION IS ASKING FOR TROUBLE!!!
This is an issue too many people have learned the hard way! The horror story is one we all know! You put all of your photos onto your computer and lost the disk or flash drive they were given to you on, and your computer crashes! Your photos are gone forever!!! If you have your photos on your computer, save them on AT LEAST one more device; better yet, save in two other devices! It might seem redundant, but you will be glad you did when something goes wrong with one of those devices, which is an inevitability!
DIGITAL FILES WILL BECOME CORRUPT!!!
In the back of our minds, we think if we have a file or photo on a flash drive or disk, our photos are safe!… Not necessarily; Your photos might be safe if your computer crashes, since you have them saved to an external location, but those external sources don’t always mean forever! Disks get scratched and warped if not stored and handled properly, and even when they are, they still run the risk of corruption over the years. Flash drives, get lost, broken, reader goes bad, and again can become corrupt after an extended period of time.
Another issue that seems to be a reoccurring frustration is change in technology over the years! For example, my mom has hours upon hours of home videos of us growing up, all on tape. You can’t even hardly find anyone who still owns a VCR today, or anywhere to buy one! Last summer she started writing the tapes onto disks, but how long until DVD’s become a thing of the past? Everyone is moving into streaming, bluray, the cloud, and other wireless means of downloading, viewing, and storing. My new laptop doesn't even have a disk reader! So keep updated versions of storage. One things that needs to be treated with caution here is transferring and moving digitals too many times! You of course want to keep up with the times, but keep in mind that every time you move a digital file, you file will lost information. This will cause your high quality files to become degraded and low quality. (This information loss is quite small, and would take a very large amount of moving from device to device before you would even notice a slight difference, but it is good to keep in mind).
PRINTS ARE A MUST!!!
I always try to remind my clients of this! Even if they don’t want to order any prints from me, and just want to take them to Walmart, it is SO IMPORTANT to print all of your photos! Proper care of prints probably needs an entire separate blog post, but for now I’ll give you the ‘why’ to print. Like I have said, digitals have all of their own issues, they are wonderful and convenient, but they also can fail miserably! Hard copy ensures your photos will be around no matter what happens with technology! So here is your take home:
- Back up photos to multiple locations!
- Back up to different types of devices (Dont have them all on disks)
- Keep updated technology for backups
- PRINT your photographs!!!
I hope that you found this helpful and will be better equipped to take care of your precious photographs!