If you’re like most of us, you’ve got boxes of old family photos spilling out of the corners of your dusty closets, but no idea what to do with them all. Your family around the world can’t enjoy those photos like you can, and there’s always that nagging worry about fire, flood, or any other disaster that could hit your home. Will it all be safe?
It’s your legacy, but one that you’re waiting for a rainy day to digitize. Here’s all the reasons why backing up all the photos you have – physical or digital – is a sensible investment of your time.
Before you do anything at all, you need a clear idea of your long-term plan. What do you plan on using the digitized photos for? Will you be displaying them only on your computer/online, or will you need to make prints, books, and enlargements one day?
Do you want to share your photos and video files with other people, or is privacy important to you?
Now you’re ready to move forward. Scanners and scanning may seem intimidating at first, but we promise that it’s not any more complicated than learning how to use most consumer software programs. The trickiest part may be deciding on the type of scanner that will work best for your needs. Here’s a few questions to consider:
Option: Short on time? A Google search will turn up plenty of scanning services that let you ship out your prints and negatives and they’ll do it all for you. Just be sure to check out each company’s pricing, shipping options, policies (in case of loss or damage), and turnaround times.
So now you’ve got digital files that live on your hard drive. Great! But you’re not out of the woods, yet. Your computer could still Blue Screen of Death, or a hurricane could still come and sweep your house right off its feet. It’s always a good idea to keep every important file backed up to more than one place. Here are three great options:
No matter which method you’ve chosen to go, you’ll end up with hundreds, if not thousands, of individual files… and more and more every year as you shoot more photos and videos. Finding one in a few is easy – finding one in a million is not. Keeping your garden pruned and orderly is the best way to ensure success and a joyful trip down memory lane. Plus, helping photographers stay organized is what SmugMug does best.
Tip: Take it a step further and give your most important files descriptive filenames. After all, “gail-bridal-portrait.jpg” is much more obvious than “L1002950.DNG.”
We hope you’ve all learned something today about archiving your photos, and that you’ll no longer face the idea with terror. We’ve all been through this and know that the hardest step is always the first one to take. Happy archiving!
Schmoo Theune is Editor-in-Chief at SmugMug, where they strive to help everyone on the planet have more fun taking better photos, showing them off, and keeping them safe. Check out the recent video tutorial by Jared Platt showing how SmugMug fits into your Animoto workflow.