People used to fear losing their most prized possessions including photographs to a fire or a hurricane. Nowadays you could easily lose your favorite images to a virus, phone in the sink, bad camera card, or by just forgetting where you saved them in the fist place. In the past few years digital technology has grown so much that now everyone has a camera in their pocket. And there are more images now taken in one day then there used to be in the entire year. However many of us still don't take the time to properly save those images and protect ourselves from the pain of losing them.
I hear too many horror stories from people who lost their images because a camera card got corrupted, they dropped the camera in the water during vacation, their phone got lost/stolen/ damaged, computer caught a virus, or their child dropped it, and a recent shocking story: a family member accidentally synced another's phone with his/her iTunes.
So, here they are, 5 ways to protect your digital images. The more of these practices you put in action on regular basis, the more protected your images will be!
1. Don't keep your photos on your phone or camera Please download your images off your phone and camera card as often as possible! I do it after every session. I know it's my job, but it is also my fear. There are different ways to save your images to a computer. Most people use the softwares that support your phone or camera. You can also use a card reader for your camera card, connect it directly to your computer, and copy the images over. The last one is my favorite way of doing it. Just find a way that works for you and make it a habit.
2. Organize your images Keep all your images in one place on your computer. Don't make multiple folders for different sets of images on your desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders. Keep them all in one place, in one folder, and make subfolders to organize them. If you have them in different places on your computer, you will forget where they are and might leave them behind when changing the computer, or accidentally delete them.
If you use a software to download your images from your camera, like iPhoto, take a little time to watch a tutorial for it on YouTube so you know well how it works, and know exactly where that software stores your images on the computer (iPhoto, for example, stores them in the iPhoto Library in the Pictures folder.) Try not to use different methods to download your images. If you do, they will end up in different places, you might have duplicates, and might get confused and delete some images when trying to organize them. If this is where you are now, dedicate an afternoon to find all the images on your computer, put them all in one folder, organize in subfolders, and only then delete the duplicates. And don't be shy to ask a friend if you need help figuring it out.
3. Back up, back up, and back up! And I will say it again, BACK UP! Very few people I talk to back up their images, and some don't know how to do it. This is very, very, very important. You can not rely on one piece of equipment, wether it's your computer, phone, or anything else. It's not the matter of IF it fails you, it's the matter of WHEN. The easiest way to do this, is by using online file back up services. Just google "on-line computer backup." You can back up your entire computer, and set it to automatically and regularly backs up your new data.
4. Lock up your images in a safe place One of my clients told me that she keeps the CDs from our portrait sessions at her safe deposit box. I though this was a brilliant idea. Now that you have all your images in one place, you can copy them on an external hard drive, or a jump drive, and keep it somewhere safe. Just go to Office Depot, Best Buy, Fry's, or any other electronics store and ask for an external hard drive or a jump drive with enough capacity for your data. Plug in on-to your USB drive, copy the folders you want to back up, and keep it somewhere safe. Don't forget to add your new images to it every month or so.
5. Print your photographs Printed portraits have been passed over for generations now. Unfortunately living in the digital age this seems to be becoming a dying art. But there is nothing more personal and homey in your place then a beautiful portrait of your children and family decorating your walls. Of course you don't want to hang every photo you have on the wall, and this is when photo books come in. There are lot of websites that make photo books now. Some are beautiful fine art books, and others are more affordable. Imagine having a shelve in your home with a book for every calendar year. Pick a date every year to sit down, filter your images down to your favorites, and upload them to a website to order a book. To make it easier, delete the images you don't like as soon as you take them or download them to your computer. You don't need 10 versions of the same photo, you only need the best one.
There is nothing that helps us relieve the joy of a special moment more than a photograph or a video. I hope this helps you protect your images. By the way, these practices also apply to your family movies.
Please SHARE and PIN this page to spread awareness and save more people from the heartache of losing their images. If you have a question feel free to contact me, I'll be happy to help. You can also leave a comment below.