How To Archive Your Digital Photos
With digital photography as inexpensive and easy as it is today, chances are that you have more photos of your family, friends and the special moments of your life than ever before. If you’re like most people, all of those photos are sitting on your computer, in a bunch of different folders.
Or worse, hundreds of them are sitting in your camera, just waiting to be accidentally erased. And what about your regular print photos – the kind you have in photo albums or frames? At least the digital photos have a chance of being copied and backed up in a few different locations. But if those one-of-a-kind family photos are destroyed, they’re gone forever. Digital or print, all it takes is one fire, flood, fried hard drive, or hacked Facebook account and all of those memories are gone, along with a huge piece of your family’s history. Before we start backing up your current photos, here are a few tips on ways to safeguard all the photos you’ll be taking in the future.
Do you regularly pictures with your phone? If you do, how often do you download them to your computer for printing or safekeeping? Everyone should get into the habit of downloading their new pictures and videos every few days. Dropbox is a great tool for this. It’s a free application/web based file box that syncs up the photos and documents on your smartphone or tablet with your computer. All you have to do is set up and download their app on your iPhone, Android smartphone, tablet, iPad or iPod Touch. Then save your new photos to your Dropbox folder and they’ll be waiting for you at home on your computer.
Now that you’ve got your smartphone photos under control, how about your digital camera? Exactly how many photos are on your SD card right now? Yeah, that’s what we thought. So before you get started, be sure to download all of the pictures from your cameras. And while you’re at it, download any videos lurking on your video camera too. We’ll take care of those in another blog post.
Your Mission: If You Choose to Accept It…
…is to make all of your treasured photos completely accessible during a disaster, emergency evacuation, computer or Internet meltdown. Just follow the steps below to locate all of your important photos, scan or copy them, and store them in at least three secure, damage-proof locations.
1. Grab Your Cameras
If you’re like most people, your digital photos are in one of two places – sitting on your computer, in a bunch of different folders. Or worse, sitting in your camera or phone, just waiting to be accidentally erased.
So if you have any photos on your cameras or phones, go get them now and download them to your computer, saving them to the folder where you normally store them.
2. Ready For Backup
Since you’re already on your computer, let’s back up all of your digital photos.
Create one new folder on your computer desktop and name it Backup Photos (dd/mm/yy) with today’s date.
Locate all of the digital photos that you want to keep safe. Leave the original files where they are on your computer, but copy each one and place the copies in your new Backup folder.
If you need instructions on copying and moving files and folders on your computer, you’ll find them on our post How To Back Up Your Data or if you’d rather, just download the How-To Sheet.
When you’re through copying and pasting your folders into the Backup Folder, make sure that there is a copy of your folders in the original location as well as the new location.
3. How To Get Your Digital Photos To Download Themselves
By the way, if you regularly have trouble remembering to download your pictures from your phone and camera watch the video at the beginning of this post, to learn how to get your camera and phone to download photos themselves. Here are two things you can do that will really help. For your phone, go right now and install the Dropbox app. It’s a free app that will send every photo you take with your phone directly to your computer.
As for your camera, simply get a Wi-Fi enabled camera like the Samsung Smart Wi-Fi Camera or the Eye-Fi smart memory card for your old camera. Snap a photo and it arrives on your computer. No muss, no fuss.
4. Safely Storing Digital Photos
Where and how you decide to secure and store your photos is up to you. But here are a few ideas. If your photos are digital, you can place them:
On a flash drive or portable hard drive, and take them with you during evacuation on a key ring or in your plastic evacuation bin.
Place the flash drive or portable hard drive, in a safe deposit box or water/fireproof safe in your own city.
Place the flash drive or portable hard drive, in a safe deposit box, water/fireproof safe, or with relatives in the city where you’ll be evacuating.
Place the photos on a password-protected online file repository or on the file directory of your family’s personal web site. This way, you can retrieve them from any Internet-enabled computer.
You can also save an extra copy of your photos on Flickr or another internet photo service. But this really shouldn’t be your long-term solution, or only solution. As much as we all love Internet sharing sites, you actually have no control over them. If the company were to go out of business, or if their servers were to crash, you could lose all of your lose data without any warning. If you really want to keep photos on a secure site that you can share with your family, try iMemories.com. Not only do they have great servers with outstanding redundant backup capability, but they can even put your photos on DVD for you, providing an extra layer of safety.
5. Safely Storing Photo Prints
Now that your digital photos are safe and sound, what about your print photos? Do they need to be archived too? Then take a minute or two while you’re thinking about it and read our post or download our PDF on How to Archive Your Print Photos.
If your print photos are already in order here are a few ideas to safeguard them. Try placing them in:
In a safe deposit box or water/fireproof safe in your own city.
In a safe deposit box, water/fireproof safe, or with relatives in the city where you’ll be evacuating.
In your watertight Plastic Evacuation Bin. Only place the photos that you actually need to have with you, in this bin. If you’ll also have access to copies of photos in your safe deposit box, then don’t take any copies with you that you would worry about, if lost.
If you live in a location with frequent disasters, like hurricane or tornado country, you should probably consider a permanent solution to safeguard your photo prints, like putting your photos in acid free boxes inside a watertight Rubbermaid Roughneck bin, or glass containers, and then placing them at least a foot or two off the ground, whenever your cherished photos might be in danger. For example an impending hurricane, flooding or even the arrival of tiny, curious grandchildren. If you are in a location where flooding can occur, store your photos in the driest place, at least a foot or two above any previous water marks.
Depending on the situation it might even be a good idea to move those bins to a storage space or to a friend’s or relative’s home for safekeeping until the situation passes.
Want to download these instructions for later? Click Here to download the PDF version.
Join us here next week on the blog or on our Facebook page when we’ll help you Do One MORE Thing to get your life up and running.
Or if you’re ready to get EVERY area of your life straightened up, grab a copy of our book The Backup Plan 3.0, now available in the Downloadable Edition at Gumroad or the Paperback Edition at Amazon.com .
#do1thing #365 #resolution
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
More Amazing Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less
Learn how to put an ICE Contact on every type of smartphone in just minutes with The ICE My Phone Kit! Paperback Edition $14.99 Buy now at Amazon.com Downloadable PDF Edition $5.00 Buy Now Read more about it
The Book Inspired By The Blog. The Backup Plan 3.0
The Backup Plan 3.0, is filled with quick, easy, 5 minute steps you can take right now, to get everything that’s important to you organized, safe, sound and accessible. Each section covers a different area, from backing up and fixing family photos, home movies and music, to vital documents, medical and financial information and even getting your digital life in order. This special Bonus Edition includes 7 downloadable Bonus Books. Paperback Edition $24.99 Buy now at Amazon.com Downloadable PDF Edition $8.00 Buy Now Read more about it
I don’t know about you, but the most important keepsakes in our house are our old family photos, followed closely by our home movies and music. The problem is, grabbing piles of photo albums and all of the picture frames off the walls is hard to do if you have to get out of the house quickly. With How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music, you’ll learn quick, easy steps to back up your print/digital photos, home movies, cassettes, vinyl albums and archive them in multiple, disaster proof locations. $12.95 Buy now at Amazon.com Read more about it
Your Business Continuity Plan May Be Missing Something… Like your employees, for instance? If your city is struck by a tornado, earthquake or other disaster, it isn’t just your company that will be affected – so will your employees. That’s why you need to make sure they’re as prepared for an emergency as YOU are. Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Read More About It