Protect your photos from disaster in 6 simple steps | San Diego Newborn Photographer
We like to think that we are prepared for all disasters, but are you really prepared? I’m not only talking about protecting our valuables only in a flood or fire, but those everyday disasters that can also happen – especially if you have kids. From sharpies on your beautiful walls and canvases to your hard drive being thrown or dunked in water, disaster can happen to any of us.
One of my fears is losing every photo that I have taken of our children growing up. Physical items, such as clothes and furniture are easily replaced, but those images of our family are irreplaceable. I’ve listed six easy steps to make sure you protect your images (and legacy) from disaster.
1. Scan your old prints/negatives.
If you have prints from your parents or grandparents, odds are that you don’t have the negatives or a digital copy of them. Scan and save a copy of them with all of your other digital images. If you can, date and name the photos to help with locating certain photos. Most scans will not be printable larger than a 4×6, but at least you will have a backup copy in case of disaster (*did you know that scanning prints from professional photographers can be considered copyright infringement and can land you in serious hot water? Talk to your photographer about how to protect your images if you are not sure about their policies!).
2. Make a backup copy.
Do you have images stored on a CD or USB somewhere at the back of a drawer? Make a backup copy of those images. I personally back up my images on Seagate Plus external hard drives. For around $70, you can get 2 TB worth of storage space for all of your images and documents. I also have two additional back-ups of my back-up, but that might be a little overboard for you 😉
3. Store offsite.
If disaster strikes, those back-ups that you made are not going to do you any good if they are also damaged. I personally use Backblaze to backup my computer and my external hard drives, but there are so many different options for you. For your personal photos that you take on your phone, you can use iCloud or, my personal favorite, Prime Photos. You must have an Amazon Prime membership to take advantage of the Prime Photos app, but it’s free to use with your membership AND you can make family album links to share photos with your family and friends who also use the app.
4. Fire-proof and water resistant safe.
This is my next purchase. You can store all of your important documents as well as CDs, USBs, and external hard drives with your photos on them. While these might not be 100% fire or waterproof, it gives your precious memories a fighting chance!
5. Print your images.
I know this sounds a bit counterintuitive, but trust me. In case of digital disaster, print your images! If you look back over the last decade or two, how many people still use floppy disks? Or really even CDs? If you only store your images in the digital world, there is a good chance you will lose (or even forget) about your images. Print your images so you have a hard copy of them AND you can look at them every day if you choose! I lost the CD from my oldest son’s first birthday photo session for a few years, and as soon as I found it you better believe I printed those images in an album and a canvas for his room. I now look at my favorite image of him every time I walk into his room, and I remember everything about that session and what he was like at one. Print. Your. Images. They are your memories. Your children’s memories. Protect them. Don’t let them hang out on a USB, collecting dust in the back of a drawer somewhere. Worse case scenario, ask your photographer if they still have your images. I guarantee to store your images for six months, but spoiler alert: I’m not going around deleting precious memories. I plan to keep all of my clients’ images as long as I am in business, but you can’t rely on them still being around perfectly fine on my hard drive years and years later. Natural and digital disasters happen to photographers as well; after all, we are only human, right? Digital media can also corrupt over time on its own, sadly. My favorite way to print my cell phone photos (because let’s face it, those are always forgotten about yet have some of the most meaningful photos stored in them) is through Blurb. You can make an album every year of your cell phone photos to look through instead of sitting on an old phone that you’ve traded in.
6. Prepare your albums and prints (if you have time).
If you have to evacuate because of a hurricane/flood and are not able to take everything with you, move items away from flood-prone areas. Also, use vacuum sealed storage bags (such as Space Saver bags) for short-term storage for the items left behind. I do not recommend storing them in vacuum sealed bags permanently, but it could provide enough protection from any water for those valuables that you were not able to pack with you.
Protect your most precious memories for disaster before it strikes. Most of your personal items can be replaced, but those images of your little one’s first few weeks of life, first steps, and first birthday party. Those cannot be duplicated.
Do you need help figuring out the best way to preserve your legacy? Join my VIP list for more information. I’d love to help you figure out the best way to protect your images!
P.S. some (but not all) links in this post are affiliate links. I’d really appreciate if you used my link – it helps pay for a few coffees per year (and momma needs her coffee!).