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Storing Family Photos for the Long Run
Posted By:  Ashley Rahe
Monday, September 8, 2014

Taking pictures is easier than ever with cameras imbedded in so many devices we keep with us all the time. Plenty of us find ourselves with thousands of photos piling up on phones, tablets and cameras every month. But sorting and storing photos isn’t quite as simple as taking them. Use these ideas to make it a little easier to find your favorite pictures today and 20 years from now.

CDs and DVDs
The most important thing to know about burned CDs and DVDs is that they have a very short lifespan—two to five years in the best of cases. If you want to keep photos and video for decades, you’ll need to store them somewhere else. Use CDs and DVDs for short term storage and backup only. Put a burn date on them so you know how long you can count on retrieving the images stored there.

Computer Hard Drive
Your computer hard drive is a better option than CDs and DVDs because it will likely have a longer lifespan but it is limited and, of course, not incorruptible. The benefit of storing pictures on your hard drive is being able to access them easily, but if you take a lot of pictures you’ll run into storage problems eventually. One way to maximize hard drive storage is to only store great photos. Delete duds right away and go through the images you have on your computer periodically to get rid of the ones that really don’t make the cut but somehow slipped through the filter the first time around.

If you choose to keep your photos on your hard drive, be sure to also back them up somewhere else, just to be safe.

External Hard Drive
In a way this is similar to storing images on your computer hard drive, but better. External hard drives aren’t expensive for the amount of storage they offer and because you don’t use them daily, less likely to fail. When you want to add pictures or video or access the images you have stored on your external hard drive, simply connect it to your computer.

The Cloud
Despite the ephemeral name, the cloud (or online storage) is the safest place to keep important imagery. Storage is unlimited and inexpensive. And while it is hack-able (as celebrities have recently discovered) it isn’t corruptible, so you can be sure your images will be there whenever you look for them.

Storing Older Images and Film
All of this is great for digital images but what about older printed photos and film that haven’t been digitized? Keep original prints in a dry, protected place and keep film in a dry, dark, protected place. For back up or to use these images in new ways, have them scanned. You can do it yourself with a home scanner or you can bring them to Photolab and we’ll do the dirty work for you.

Prints and Books
Once you have photo storage figured out, it’s time to create a plan to enjoy them. Choose your favorite images and create a photo album or have them printed for display. We can help you find the photos that will print beautifully so everyone in your family will laud your photography talent.


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