On Friday I presented at a seminar day organised by SHARE Museums East on all things digital. I was launching a guide to Digitisation which I had written for SHARE designed to help museums cope with everything from shooting images to archiving and backing up their digital image collections. To preserve them for future generations......
....just like saving your photos of treasured memories and people and places that you love.
So I thought in this weeks blog I would talk about how we can protect our photographs against total loss which can be so devastating if it happens. Luckily it has never happened to me but I've come close.
This is by no means a definitive list of solutions but hopefully might point you in the right direction if you've been thinking or even worrying about this!
Firstly the good news is that it's not as complex or necessarily expensive as it might sound!
Organise: Before thinking of backing up make sure all your photos are organised on your system. It's much easier to manage your increasing number of images if you have a good filing system!
Personally I organise my photos into folders by event, subject or location and then into a folder for the year.
I also copy my iPhone photos into the year folders. Although these are in the iCloud I like to have all my photos in one place. And that way they are part of my main backup.
External hard drives: Use these to store your photos. Too many images on your computers hard drive will slow it down eventually. Hard drives are relatively cheap these days and easy to install. Buy one from the reputable brands such as Western Digital, Seagate and LaCie as these tend to be more reliable. You could use external hard drives for backup too. NB they will need replacing in the same way that your computer eventually needs to. Hard drives are also more cost effective long term than other storage options such as..
...CD's DVD's and USB drives These can seem a much cheaper option but they are not as stable long term for storage. Eventually they will corrupt making the images unreadable and this can be in as short a time as 2-3 years! Even memory cards can become unstable eventually.
Cloud storage. Today there are lots of options. eg One Drive, GooglePhotos, iCloud, Amazon, and Dropbox etc all have free or inexpensive options. Flickr.com is also a good option but make sure you set your privacy settings when uploading otherwise they will be visible to everyone! Look for packages with plenty of storage for what you have now and what you might generate.
Personally I use a paid for backup service with Backblaze as it runs all the time and notices if I add anything to the drive it backs up from. That suits me as I don't need to think about it It certainly works as I found out 18 months ago when my drive failed completely. Without the backup I would have lost everything personal and professional! There are lots of similar products like this.
How much you do is up to you but make sure there is more than one copy in more than one place at the least and if it's something that has been on your 'to do' list for some time - please DO SOMETHING before it's too late! Of course as technology develops and what you can get for your money increases there are or will be lots of other options you can consider.