How to Preserve Your Digital Photos

We have already talked about preservation and restoration of your old photos, but what about your digital photos?

Digital photos come with their own set of preservation and restoration problems. Digital photos can be destroyed by loss, theft, fire, flooding, power surges or if you want to take to the extreme, an EMP. However, while digital photos are just as prone to being lost or destroyed as physical photos are, it is much easier and often cheaper to protect them over the long term.

Preservation of digital photos
The first and most basic step is to have multiple copies of your digital photos. This can be accomplished by archiving them to DVD or an external hard drive and storing them in a safe. You can even ask friends of family to hang on to extra copies of your backup so that if something happens to your home, your photos stay safe.

You should also have an efficient file system set up for your photos to make them easy to find. A good method of doing this is by having a folder for each year with separate folders for each month in the year folder. Organizing your photos with keywords can also help. There are many programs available that will help you add keywords or captions to all of your digital photos so you can quickly and easily search your photo collection for the one you're looking for.

Some day your computer's hard drive will fail. You'll accidentally drop your files into the trash bin. A lightning storm will cause a power surge that will destroy your computer. Your computer will get a virus that makes its hard drive unusable. Something will happen and you'll be happy to have your photos stored in a safe place that is not connected to your computer.

Another great way to preserve your digital photos is to use an online photo service such as Flickr or Photobucket. Services like these will not only make it easy for you to share your pictures, but they will also store copies of your photos so you'll never have to worry about being unable to recover your photos if something happens to your computer.

Other online storage solutions are even more convenient. Cloud services like Dropbox allow you to have a central online location to store your digital pictures, one which you can access no matter where you are or what kind of computer, smart phone or tablet you're using. Services like these will often have photo-specific settings that can be made to automatically save your photos to their servers whenever your camera is attached to your computer.

Online backup services like Carbonite silently back up your photos and other important files in the background as you use your computer. Services like these are great for getting your files back after a computer disaster, however they often come with limitations such as using up some of your computer's memory and internet bandwidth when they're backing up your files. Some of these services will also not allow you to back up files from external hard drives or will charge you extra for doing so.

Restoring your digital photos
Once something happens to your on-site storage, you can be frantic about getting your precious pictures back. Fortunately, if you used one of the backups suggested above, you should be able to quickly and easily restore all the files to their rightful place.

If you didn't back up your pictures, you still have some options. We'll go over some of those in next week's blog: How to Recover Digital Photos

Learn more about how 29k Productions protects the photos and videos we work with.

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