Digital photography has made it nearly effortless to create memories. But once you have your photos, what do you do with them? Will they simply exist on your memory card, or do you have a backup strategy in place? You never know when disaster can strike, so being prepared for the worst case scenario is always a good idea.
Effective Backup Strategies
While there is not one catch-all solution for backing up your photos, there are several options you can consider. However, to implement a successful backup strategy, you will not use only one method. Experts recommend having at least three back-ups of your images, to consider yourself ‘backed up’. It is also recommended that you use two different forms of media, and storing one of the three offsite from the others.
External Hard Drives
One of the simplest ways to back up your files is with an external hard drive. External hard drives can be purchased at Bergen County Camera, and range in storage sizes, meaning you can buy one that specifically fits your needs. Most can be plugged in using the USB port on your computer, and it’s as simple as transferring over your files. Always be sure to finish transferring your files before unplugging the USB connection. The main pros of using an external hard drive include the fact that you can store many images on a single external hard drive, and you can use the same hard drive for many years to come.
Using Cloud Based Services
In recent history, cloud based storage solutions have been becoming increasingly popular. These services vary, but they essentially work by hosting your files remotely. There are many different ‘cloud based services’, from Dropbox to Crashplan and iCloud. Each of these programs will offer you different amounts of storage, and vary in cost depending on your needs, meaning you’ll want to do some research before you decide which cloud based backup service is best for you. All you need to do is initially sign up and upload your files, and many programs will simply run in the background keeping your files up to date after this. This is a great solution for many people, as you do not need to worry about running low on storage on your computer or external hard drive. In addition, storing your photos on the cloud allows your images to be protected from just about anything, from fire to theft. As all physical copies of your data are susceptible to damage, cloud based services offer a way around this obstacle, and it is recommended that you either use a cloud based service, or store one of your physical copies off-site to prevent physical loss of your data.
Another easy way to store your images is one you’re probably familiar with, storing them right on your computer! After shooting, many people simply upload their images straight from their memory card to their computer. This process is either completed using a memory card reader, or a USB cable connection from your computer to your camera. This process is quick, and free, but should not be solely relied upon as your only backup strategy. Always remember, if something were to happen to your computer, all of your images would be inaccessible, so another backup strategy is also required. Another downside of utilizing computer storage is that images can quickly overfill your computer, depleting your storage quickly.
While many people swore by optical discs for backing up their images during the advent of the digital era, this is not the case these days. Some people consider optical discs to be outdated, but many people still find them to be useful for sharing images. As discs are relatively cheap, small and easy to store, it is very easy to burn a few images to a CD/DVD for each event and stay organized. However, as discs have been used less in recent times, their long term usability is questionable at best. Discs can also be easily scratched, meaning if you do not handle them with care they can have a short shelf life.
Another backup strategy is keeping hard copies of your images. Printing your images can allow you to have a physical copy of your files, in case anything happens to your digital version. While photographs are susceptible to damage if not stored properly, if they are stored properly they can last for ages. You can also easily organize your printed photos, by keeping them in boxes for each year/event you have. Depending on how many images you have, it may not be feasible to print thousands of images. In this case, you can easily go through your files and print images that have a particular importance to you or your family, images that you feel are irreplaceable.