Tips for Protecting your Digital Photos

Let’s get real for a second. You should know by now that we encourage printing as the best way to enjoy your photos long term. However, we realize that with the volume of photos created these days, it would be physically impossible to print every photo without needing to rent a storage unit.

This means that most photos live only in one place - your hard drive. That is, if you remembered to take them off of your phone or camera at all.

How do you keep them safe? and what are we keeping them safe from? 

 Whether it's the first dance, or first steps, we all have photos we want to keep forever!

Whether it's the first dance, or first steps, we all have photos we want to keep forever!

Common ways people lose digital files, and a few possible solutions: 

1. Hard drive failure or file corruption

All drives fail eventually, so having things stored in just one place is risky. Luckily, the solution is pretty simple... have multiple copies. 

Solution: Ask your favorite tech guru to set up a RAID backup for you, use Time Machine on a portable drive if you're an Apple user, or keep photos on your phone and computer.

2. Theft, loss, fire, flood damage or other physical disappearance

This can only be prevented by having an offsite copy of your files. Offsite can be cloud based, at the office, or in your mom’s basement... basically anywhere that is physically separate from where your main drive lives.

Syncing to an offsite NAS is how we do this, but cloud storage would work for the average family photo collection. Check out BackBlaze, Dropbox or Resilio Sync for these services.

3. Overwriting a file or accidental deletion

The best way to avoid this happening is to have a good organization system. Do it any way that makes you happy, as long as you are consistent. And then, when you know your strategy, make sure someone else could figure it out. IE: If you aren’t available to ask, can your spouse or child find a photo they are looking for? 

TIP: Utilizing an 8 digit date structure makes sure every file name is unique. Ex: 20180101 for January 1st, 2018. Then you can choose to add a description or sequence number to further delineate your files. 

Bonus Tip: Use Folders to organize by like category. Whether that is event, person, location, theme, or whatever you choose. Folders are your friends.

 My personal photos are organized by date, then subject. Using the 8 digit date structure keeps everything in chronological order

My personal photos are organized by date, then subject. Using the 8 digit date structure keeps everything in chronological order

Conclusion

There are many ways to lose files, but there are also many ways to keep them safe. If photos are valuable to you, protect them! Print your favorites, put them on the wall or in a book that you can pass down. In the future, no one is going to want your CD's or thumb drives, so print the important photos. And the ones you just want to have on your screen saver? Stick them in the cloud just in case something bad should happen.

If you have more tips, feel free to add them in the comments! If this helped you, we'd love to know. Thanks for being here!
-Lori

Lori Coleman

Lori and Erin Photography

The daughter of filmmakers, Lori may have been predestined for a life in the creative world. She met her husband, John, while studying photography at RIT. When not creating heirlooms for her friends, family, and clients, she can usually be found in the woods or on a yoga mat. Either way, her dogs Molley and Mouse are never far away.