Back It Up:
So, your session is complete, and you’ve downloaded your digital files….Now what?
First of all I highly recommend making a back-up copy of your images. Put them on a USB Flash Drive or an External Hard Drive. This way if something happens to your computer you have a second copy of all your images. Ideally this copy would be kept in a safe location (like a fire proof lockbox). For an extra layer of security. I always recommend having at least two copies of your images (as a photographer I generally have even more than that!). Digital files are easily corruptible or destroyable, so it’s best to ere on the side of caution rather than live to regret it!
Keep It Current:
When is the last time you used a floppy disk for something? Or be honest, when was the last time you’ve even seen one *laughy face*. Chances are your current computer doesn’t even have the capability to read a flash drive. In fact, many computers don’t even have the ability do read a CD-ROM anymore.
Here’s the crazy thing though, those forms of technology really aren’t even that old. Technology is a rapidly evolving, ever changing, beast, and it’s important that we update our backups to change with it! So, as time goes on make sure to take a bit of time to keep your files current. Transfer them over to the most commonly used storage device to keep them accessible with current technology.
Pro Tip: If you still have images stored on discs (such as CD-ROM), I suggest that now be the time you go ahead and update them to a new file storage device. My top recommendation would be USB drives or an external flash drive at this point.
Have An Offsite Copy:
Want to add even an extra layer of protection to your most precious images? Then I suggest keeping an offsite copy. What this means is to have yet another copy (whether it be on a flash drive, external drive, or another type of storage.). Then, keep this copy in an offsite location. This could be your car, a parents home, your office, anywhere really. Then in the case of an unfortunate tragedy (such as a fire, flood, or tornado), you can rest easy knowing you have a copy safe. One of the main things victims of such tragedies express remorse over losing is their photos/videos/memories.
Take Advantage Of The Internet:
Online storage is becoming increasingly accessible and affordable (or, in many cases, even free). Consider using an online storage service as one of your back-ups (I do suggest having at least one hard copy as well!).
Print Your Images:
As previously mentioned above, it is all to easy to lose your digital copies-whether it is through corruption, accidental deletion, or technology updates that leave your current storage solution in the dust.
You know what can’t have any of those things happen to it? A printed photo. I have seen printed photos stand the test of time.
In fact a few years ago my grandmother gave me one of her parents wedding photos to restore and enlarge for her. I was given a tiny image (smaller than a 4×6) with aging and cracks, and I was able to restore it to it’s former glory, and enlarge it to a massive 16×24 wall print.
Not to mention the fact that photos are memories that are meant to be seen and held. I mean let’s be honest, when’s the last time you curled up with your kids and broke out the discs to look through pictures on the family desktop? If you’re anything like me, it’s probably been a long while (or never). But the pictures I have displayed in my home and in photo books are seen and enjoyed all the time!