Photos are precious.  Capturing history and the humans that pass through it.

If your house is on fire, you don’t rush to grab your spatula from the kitchen drawer, you look for your photos, your negatives, photo albums, framed prints on the walls, canvases, hard drives, USB’s, wedding albums and photo books.  Whatever way you have your images captured and stored.

According to a survey, the average camera owner has 1200 snaps saved on their home computer but 38% have failed to copy them to another device.  If it’s not backed up in at least 3 other places, it’s not backed up.  Dvd’s, hard drives, large storage USB’s, prints, cloud storage such as Dropbox, and Google Photos, placing a spare copy of your images at another location, fire proof boxes etc. An online backup system like Backblaze is also good as extra protection.

Don’t wait to be a statistic.  Get pro active now with your backups and do them regularly.  Also be aware that a system such as Raid can store all your images but if it fails, it loses all your images too.  This happened to a photographer friend of mine recently.  She pays for Dropbox so most of her images are here fortunately but she still managed to lose client files.

The survey found:

“The reluctance to back up data is compounded by a lack of understanding and trust in the range of products available, especially concerning the new virtual technologies: only 12 per cent of people considered online storage devices such as Google Drive and iCloud to be trustworthy, compared to 37 per cent of people who would feel more confident using tangible tools such as DVDs, USB sticks, and external hard drives.

I like to use all forms of backup (hard copy and online) and this has paid off a few times, when clients have had their USB’s with the supplied wedding images either lost or stolen. I’m easily able to provide another copy.

However having many backup digital copies is often not enough.

Google‘s vice president has warned internet users to print out treasured photographs or risk losing them. He said it was time to start preserving the vast quantities of digital data which are produced before they are lost forever. He warned that the 21st century could become a second “Dark Ages” because so much data is now kept in digital format, he said that future generations would struggle to understand our society because technology is advancing so quickly that old files will be inaccessible.

Don’t upload every photo you have to the net or on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Flickr expecting them to archive and save them for you.  Keep your own backups too.  Those sites may not be around in the future.  Also cull regularly to get rid of photos that are dark, blurry, duplicates or just not worth keeping.  This will cut down on the amount of images you have to backup.

Wedding albums, photo books, canvases, glass prints, block mounts and other forms of printed photographs are so important for future preservation of history.  Not just for yourself and your family but for mankind as a whole society.

I always encourage my wedding clients to get the album I make for them as part of the wedding photography service I provide printed with a display box to preserve it. It’s so much nicer for viewers to flick through an album than to sit through all the images on a computer screen.  That can be painful if you aren’t emotionally attached.  Like the old days of Grandma and Grandma’s overseas trip on a family slide show night.  Albums come in all shapes, sizes, fabrics and budgets.  They are definitely worth owning.  As are photo books of special family holidays or events such as christenings, engagement parties, anniversaries and special birthdays.

I even backup my mobile phone photos with the same care as my professional photos.  Running Dropbox app on my phone and backing them up regularly. They are often the snapshots that I love.  The ones that show me having fun with people, eating amazing meals that are photo worthy, doing life activities and capturing kids, pets and friends.  The shots that make up a visual diary of my life. Don’t neglect your happy snaps too.