Photo tips

Save and backup your images

There is nothing worse than losing your photographs. Either from a business perspective or from an irreplaceable family photo perspective. I have heard horror stories from people that uploaded their images to some social media platform, and then deleted the original images from their phone or camera, never saving the original file. Note to self: never do that!

First off, those photos shared on social media are compressed and reduced in resolution from the original image. The original file retains all the data. It is important to keep those files!!!!

Secondly, social media platforms and third party sharing sites are not always stable. When Myspace lost the social media race to Facebook, they transferred themselves into a music sharing platform with a social sharing aspect. They took their original architecture and converted into a new service. In this transition, images were lost. My old Myspace account lost about 20% of the images and I was lucky. A lot of people that used Myspace as a place to park their photos for “safe keeping” lost a lot of these irreplaceable images.

Earlier this year Photobucket changed from a free image hosting service which provided a way to link or embed photos in third party websites, to a free hosting service with a paid plan for linked images. Any web page that used a link from an image hosted on Photobucket servers is now broken, unless the account is updated to a paid account. This is a huge issue for people that used Photobucket for images on auction websites like Ebay, or on older blogs that span many decades, back to when the hosting service did not allow image files – only linked files – to display. And this new service isn’t cheap. The service that Photobucket now charges to host images on their server, and allows you to link to third party websites is $396 a year!

So what can you do?

Buy an external drive. The cost of external drives has come down significantly the last few years. I use a pair of 2TB drives. The first drive is where the files go, and the second drive is a copy of the first drive. If you are on a Windows platform, you can use SyncToy to easily manage this process.

Use cloud storage. The files from the first drive are backed up to the cloud as an extra precautionary measure. If the pair of drives fail, or if something horrible happens to the house (flood, fire etc.) the images are backed up externally and can be retrieved.

Take the time to save your files. Plug your phone, camera etc. into your laptop and download the original unaltered files and save them on your external drive. I use a filing system much like I store my negatives. There are fancier meta data searchable filing systems out there, I find my system works great for my images and image flow.

It looks a little like this:

  • 2019
    • 01 Jan
    • 02 Feb
    • 03 Mar
      • 03-01-19 state park hike

On a recent trip to Montana we had two iPhones, a DSLR, and I shot film with two cameras. We downloaded the original files when we returned, and saved the images. The film scans will also be placed in this folder once the film is developed an the scans are complete.

Backing up data isn’t glamorous. It is, however, necessary. Think about the alternative: losing all your original data on irreplaceable photos.

As mentioned above, there are other ways to save your files. Some cloud storage automatically backs up data from each device. Other people use a combination of services to backup images. Whatever you choose, please back up your images. They are your “negatives” and will allow you to enjoy these photographs for years to come.

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