Are Your Family Photos Safe?
Are your family photos safe?
I hope this question stopped you in your tracks for just a minute.
Photographs of your family’s recent trip to see family. Or a ski trip. Your little girl’s ballet recital, your son’s basketball game, your friend’s party, that adorable video of your dog- the list of photos and videos goes on and on. We’re recording our lives on these little things called smartphones.
But when was the last time you did something to make sure all these memories stay safe?
If it was longer than a month or so ago or you can’t remember?
Please keep reading- this is for you!
Technology is pretty amazing, but none of it is foolproof. Without any warning whatsoever, your phone could die, and trap all those photos in microchip limbo. Yes, most of the time, there’s no problem, or the information can be rescued. But do you really want to take that chance? (Not to mention the hassle- ask me how I know why it’s a hassle.)
I am by no means a technical guru, but out of necessity we’re all learning all this stuff, right? And in just a few fairly painless steps, you can have all your photos protected and safe from the technology gremlins.
Get those photos off of that mobile device- phone, tablet, whatever –and onto a real computer.
On your laptop or desktop, keep your photos organized. One of the best ways I’ve found to do that? Just create a folder on your desktop for this year, and sub-folders for each month. Then at the beginning of each month, just transfer the photos from the previous month from your device into that folder.
I also usually make sub-folders for specific events- say, a vacation, or a wedding or party, where I have a lot of photographs at once. That makes it easy if you want to find a picture a year from now.
2. Back up
The other very important thing to do is to back up all your pictures onto a separate drive. Some experts recommend two separate locations, maybe one cloud storage site for ease of use, and one external hard drive. External drives are relatively inexpensive, and you can pick one up at places like Best Buy or Staples. A couple of reliable brands are LaCie and Western Digital.
I have a hard drive that I use specifically for my photos so there’s always room on it when it’s time to back up. This may not be necessary for every picture you take, but you probably want to do it for special times. For me it’s easier to just back up everything, instead of trying to sort it all out.
Once you copy your photos onto your extra drive and/or a cloud system, you now have at least 2 copies of everything. If you have a fireproof safe in your home, that’s a good place to store that hard drive.
What about photos from an actual camera?
If you’re unusual, you might still actually use a camera that uses an SD card. Great! But SD cards can flunk out too, so you’ll want to do the same thing with them. Download and back up. One great thing about SD cards is that they’re not that expensive. So when yours is full, after you’ve saved everything, you could just retire it and start with a new one. I prefer to do that- I haven’t had it happen myself, but I’ve heard stories of SD cards that didn’t work so well after being erased.
So just to recap:
-Save your photos to your laptop or desktop
-Back them up so you have at least 2 copies of all the photos you want to hang onto
That’s it- fairly painless, right? I will say that this isn’t exactly my favorite thing to do. It may not be yours either. So stream a TV show you want to catch up on, or play some music while you’re doing it. Then you can rest knowing that your memories are safely stored.
Until next time-