What do I do with my photos? Part 1 – Digital Photo Storage and Sharing

Whether it’s delivering images from a portrait session or a wedding, or someone talking to us about taking photos of their own family, often we’re asked, “What’s the best way to store our digital photos?  What can I do with them to be able to share and enjoy them, but also to make sure I’m preserving them?”  There are some very simple things you can do to make sure your digital images are preserved forever, no matter what happens.

When you receive your digital images or make new images, the first and most important thing to do is to make copies.  The main thing to keep in mind when dealing with digital files is that redundancy is key.  In other words, the more copies you make, the better.  Purchase the best quality storage devices with the least amount of failure possible.  The aim here is to make sure that if something happens to one set of images, you still have them in other places.  And with digital media, so many issues could arise!  Major incidents like floods or fires to simple everyday occurrences like power surges and drive failures could wipe out all of those precious images in a heartbeat, so having multiple sets and keeping at least one set off site will ensure everything is preserved.   Digital storage solutions are relatively inexpensive and plentiful; your memories are priceless.

We typically suggest having copies in multiple places labeled similarly and clearly in some sort of filing system so they are easily accessible.  For instance, if you received your images from us on a USB drive, you could place a copy of them on your computer and a copy in your cloud storage (like Google Photos).  If you place your files on your computer, we further recommend utilizing something like a large capacity external hard drive that you can remove and place in a fire safe when not in use.  But regardless of how you store your photos on physical drives in your home, we still recommend utilizing an off-site storage solution like the cloud just in case.  If you really don’t want to use the cloud, or just have too many files to upload for the capacity you have in cloud storage, utilizing another external hard drive that you keep offsite is a good idea.

Since we live in a smartphone society, utilizing the cloud is not just an effective way to store your photos, but also to make sure they are accessible everywhere you go so you can show them off or share them online whenever the mood strikes.  Utilizing cloud storage is also a particularly effective way to back up all of those precious images you make with your phone.  The cloud not only expands the amount of images you can view on your phone at any given time, but also makes for a great way to share them and make extra copies later at home on that hard drive of yours.

Sharing images has been made easy over the last few years.  Multiple social media platforms allow for quick uploads of images, and they are always accessible.  Sharing photos is fun, and it’s quickly become the way most people view images from one another’s lives.  However, we caution you not to use social media as your only source of long term image storage, as you never know what will happen to even the most popular of social media sites.

Perhaps one issue many don’t talk about is how to “future proof” your digital images.  And honestly, there is no single solution except to keep up with current technologies and make sure that files get transferred to the best new systems available.  For the foreseeable future, that is solid state drives utilizing USB technology, and the cloud.  Fortunately, these technologies are prevalent and allow for easy transfer of files, so getting your images to any new format which may arise probably won’t be much of an issue.

Regardless of how you choose to store your photos, make sure you enjoy them!  Load them as backgrounds on your phone and computer; share them on social media; run them as slideshows on your smart television at home; anything that gets the beauty of those memories out of your file folder and in front of your eyes.

In summary: to rest easier at night,  make sure you have your photos in multiple places, both in the cloud and on physical devices like external hard drives.

And of course, don’t forget to print them!  (Check out part 2 for our tips on printing your photos!)

Now over to you. How do you store and share your photos? Do you have any additional tips?

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