Friday, March 20, 2009

Tips on Digital Photo Storage | Raleigh Photographer

Every once in awhile, someone asks me about digital photo storage and the best way to handle it. I don't think there's just one answer, but I thought I'd give a few tips.

We, as a culture, take so many pictures and the majority simply upload their files to a computer...and that's it. If this is what you're doing, please reconsider! Computers sometimes crash and digital files can't always be recovered. I strongly encourage you to back up your files in some capacity. Even if you're only a casual photographer, I'm sure you want to protect the photos you do take!

There are plenty of different options out there, but this is what I do:

1. Upload files to my computer (I shoot in RAW, by the way).
2. Back up the RAW files on an external hard drive.
3. Edit select files in Lightroom and Photoshop and save on my computer.
4. Back up the edited files on my external hard drive.
5. Upload the high-resolution edited files to SmugMug.
6. If I really love the picture, I might save it to a second external hard drive.
7. Print favorites (or use several in a photo book or album)

As you can see I'm saving my photos in 3 or 4 places (computer, external hard drive, SmugMug, and possibly an additional external hard drive), not including any prints.

There are some photographers who buy a new memory card for each session (or vacation, etc.) so they may or may not bother to back up on an external hard drive or photo website. This is another option, although it's an expensive one.

If you haven't heard of SmugMug (#5 above), I'll explain. It's an online photo storage (and sharing) website. With a membership you can have unlimited photo storage and have the option of sharing with the online community. You can also create passwords for your galleries so that you can share with a select group. If you shoot in RAW you can even store your RAW files for a small fee. Because it's online storage you can, of course, access it from anywhere and download your files from any computer once you log in. They do printing, as well, if you're interested in ordering your prints directly from them. I have a pro lab that I use so I don't use their print services, but I ordered a couple of pictures from SmugMug to test it and they looked great.

There are similar sites out there, so look around and find something that works for you. If you want to use SmugMug you can use code fJ7u1KrhhsIEI to get $5 off.

The bottom line is that you should back up your files somewhere in addition to your computer, and the more places you can back up the better. That way, you can make sure your photos remain safe so you and future generations can continue to treasure them.

1 comment:

Jan Summers said...

This is very useful information. I have to admit to holding on to my memory cards but do store in at least two other places.

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