How to Backup Your Photos
Your wedding day is over and you just received an email that all of your photographs from the big day are online and ready to view! In all of your excitement, it may be easy to forget that just downloading all of your images your hard drive isn't the best long term solution to your photo storage needs. In fact, by the time you DO think about the fact that you need multiple backups on different types of medias and in different locations, it may be too late. I nevereverEVER want to see a bride loose her precious memories, so I thought I would share a few tips today on how to backup your photos and ensure they're never lost or inaccessible!
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: Store images MULTIPLE different locations and on different types of media!
Having redundant backups is the most important thing you can do!! For example, if all of your images are on a CD and that CD is lost or broken, then you no longer have any images!! Choose three or four different types of media storage from the list below, and back up your images multiple times!! Here are a few different places you can store your images:
1. Your online gallery.
Your images are stored in the online gallery I provide you for one year. Any time during that first year, you're able to access your images, download them, print them, etc. Take advantage of this! :)
2. Your computer's hard drive.
This is generally pretty safe. I've never had a hard drive crash on me (though it DOES happen!!) and it's a convenient way to access your files whenever you sit down at your computer.
3. An external hard drive.
An external hard drive is a great way to give you more storage and an additional backup, in case your main computer hard drive breaks. I back up all of my photos on two external drives, one from Seagate and one from Western Digital. The WD hard drive is small and portable (which is handy for traveling), and the Seagate stays at my desk permanently. Though it's not necessary you use two, it is a great way to ensure you have another back up of your files. External hard drives are rated to last between 3-5 years, though I've had a WD hard drive for at least 5 that is still working just fine.
4. An online cloud storage system.
Though I still don't completely understand what the cloud is (which makes me feel old!), I understand that it's a great way to mysteriously store images and files online... safely. Somehow. :) There are lots of options for you to do this, from Google Drive to Dropbox... just google something like "best cloud storage" and you'll get tons of information about this!
5. Various shorter term medias.
Anything from flash drives to CDs are great for storing files as well. However, it's important to remember that these types of storage solutions certainly won't last forever - CDs have a life expectancy of about 5-10 years (sometimes much shorter), and a flash drive's lifespan is dependent on the number of times it's written on.
THE (SECOND) MOST IMPORTANT THING: Realize that at some point, your backups WILL fail, and you must create new backups from the files you've saved elsewhere.
It's important to remember that no backup, no matter how legit, is going to last forever. At the rate technology is changing, CDs will soon take their place with floppy discs (remember those?) and something else will gain popularity. As technology changes, be sure to continue to update your storage solutions. Don't let your files sit on a CD for so long that you're no longer able to open it, and don't just stick them on a flash drive and forget where you put it. Keep up with all this new fangled technology and you'll be just fine. :)
THE (LAST) MOST IMPORTANT THING: Paper will NEVER become obsolete.
Prints will never become corrupted and inoperable, and they'll never be completely replaced by screens. Yes, sometimes tragic events destroy them. Yes, if they're printed from low quality labs they will yellow and deteriorate over time. But barring a terrible tragedy, high quality professional prints and albums are guaranteed to be around for several generations. They're absolutely, hands down, the best way to ensure your images are around for the long haul, and I truly believe every couple should have their weddings preserved in this way. There's something very special about being able to touch a photograph and look at it on paper. Off screen. In a bound album. On your coffee table. And I want you to be able to experience that. For your children to experience that. For them to know that in a world where they see thousands of images every single day, there is something special about these. A reason to slow down and really look. To touch. To consider. To think. This is truly more important than we realize, and it will never go out of style.