Monday, June 01, 2009

Keeping Digital Photos Safe

As I am sure you have noticed, I shoot a lot of photos.  My trusty Canon Digital Rebel XT body has over 30,000 shutter releases on it and is showing no signs of age. 

Back in the day, all 30,000 of those photos would have gone onto film and been processed using traditional the Kodak C-41 wet chemistry development process.  In my case, that's over 1000 rolls of film in the last 3 years!  Imagine the cost, damage to the environment and tons of wasted energy and money on all the bad shots.

These days, everything is digital.  And as inexpensive and simple as that may seem, it presents its own set of challenges.  What happens if your hard drive crashes?  Suppose technology goes against you and you're stuck with the Sony Betamax version of photo storage?

I've got some tips that were prompted by a friend who is just embarking on her journey of digital photography.  

  • First, you have to make sure you have enough hard drive space on your computer/laptop to download all the images off of the memory stick.
  • Second, I use flickr.com to save/share the best of the photos.  It costs about $25 a year, but it's a great way to share the photos with family/friends.
  • Third, I burn all of all of the photos I take to discs regularly in case I ever have a hard drive failure.  It's a pain in the neck, but most newer laptops and computers come with software to burn DVDs.  Look on the door of the disc drive.  If it has logo that says DVD-ROM, you can burn the photos to the disc.  It just takes some patience!
  • Fourth, I use a back up drive called a Western Digital My Book to back up the files one more time onto an external hard drive.  Here's a link to a very roomy, easy to set up drive that is also fairly cheap:  http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Book-Mirror-WDH2U20000N/dp/B001B8RSAK?&camp=212361&linkCode=wsw&tag=anothedelcogu-20&creative=384613
  • Finally, print out the photos you really like.  Keep them where you keep your important papers.  You never know when somehting really bad is going to happen and your data will be lost.  If you do this, a few of your best memories will survive the fire/theft/whatever.  If you're using Flickr, you'll still have all those images too!

It may seem like a lot, but there aren't any negatives anymore.  grandma's photo album is a thing of the past.  You can't get another copy of a digital photo if you lose the data or it gets corrupted or you laptop gets stolen.  That's why I recommend all the extra steps.

If you've got tips or tricks for working with digital images, please leave a comment!


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