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Digital Storage

I received a phone call from a client today with some questions about proper back-up of digital image files. She’s not the first client that has asked me for suggestions/advice about how to properly protect and preserve digital image files. I think this blog will be the perfect place to share my personal* preservation methods…

All of my images are stored on my system categorized by monthly folders. I just place all image files within each monthly folder and don’t worry about much categorization beyond that. Some special occasions, such as Christmas or other holidays will receive their own folder. Once a month is over with, I will back up each month onto a DVD (or two, if I’ve taken a lot of images that month.) These DVDs are then stored in a CD “binder” that holds gobs and gobs of CDs. These binders are stored in a safe location.

After you burn your DVD or CD of images, double check that your computer can read the files of the images on the disc. I’ve had one or two CDs that my system said burned properly, but that my computer couldn’t read.

As an additional layer of protection, you can burn two sets of back-up discs – one you store at your house and another that is stored at an off-site location, such as a relative or a good friend.

The best recommendation I can give is to not only back up your images but to also PRINT your favorite images from each month. My son loves to look at images in albums of friends and family (and of himself!) so I try to keep an album of recent pictures available for him to look through. This is especially important for him as we live a distance from his Grandparents and he loves to look at images of the relatives he only sees periodically.

Bottom line – don’t think that your images are safe on your hard drive without being properly archived in a secondary location. I’ve talked with many professional photographers who have spent thousands of dollars on image file retrieval from hard drives that crashed.

*Client images are backed up after each session to ensure that the highest level of preservation is maintained.