Have you given much thought to the best practice for storing your images? Whether you have (or haven’t) this blog provides answers to the most FAQ’s on how to store professional photos, tips to make your images last and what to do with digital images.
Like most of us, you have a whole lot of images but what do you do with digital images?
If you are planning a wedding, now is the perfect time to consider how you will store your photos from your wedding day. It’s inevitable that once the day is over a few things will remain- your memories, a wedding dress, wedding rings, a marriage certificate and your wedding photos.
I’m here to help you get the longest life out of your wedding photos.
And if you’re thinking, ‘I’m already married and received my album and images on DVD or USB memory ages ago’…. It’s ok I encourage you to follow the steps outlined in this blog so you can have reassurance that your images will be around for a long time.
The first thing we need to recognise is that DVDs and USBs have a time limit and the bad part is we don’t know when that time limit is up. All digital media will fail, it’s only a matter of time.
Let’s look at the four main methods of digital image delivery and what you can do to protect your precious and valuable images.
Do images last on a USB?
USB flash drives can last quite a while but there are things that should be considered.
- They will stop working one day- USB’s have a limited number of read/write cycles and although this can be large, they will at some point no longer work.
- Environmental conditions play a factor- USB lifespan can be affected by environmental conditions such as dirt, dust and possible oxidation. Never leave them in the sun or a humid environment.
- Never leave a USB plugged in- Use care when plugging and unplugging your USB.
Save/ store your photos in more than one place- The best use for USB drives is to move data from one PC to another. Make sure you have at least 2 copies of your photos in a safe place where they won’t be accidentally written over.
How long will my images last on DVD?
A DVD’s lifespan is limited and won’t last forever. Their lifespan depends on a number of factors such as:
- Environment- where/ how they are stored
- DVD Type
- DVD Quality
- The disk burning process (including the PC on which the DVD’s were burnt).
The other thing to be aware of is eventually the DVD format will become obsolete (just like floppy disks, laser disks, tape drives, and zip drives to name a few).
The latest storage solution will arrive and replace the DVD (like BlueRay right now which is just a high storage level DVD).
While DVD’s will be around for a while yet, you can count on the fact that eventually DVD players will no longer be available and DVD’s of your wedding day will become unplayable.
My best tip for DVD storage is to make copies of your DVD’s every 3-5 years.
Is online storage a secure option for photo storage?
Online storage is a viable option for storing your special photos. It’s where I and most photographers store all finished photos.
Online storage will usually incur an annual fee.
There is no guarantee that after say 20 years your photos will still be available in your chosen online storage platform. Like USB’s, DVD’s and any form of digital storage, you should consider online storage as a temporary form of image storage.
Will my phone be able to continue storing photos long term?
In short, no. Most people would know this answer but we also like to pretend our phone is somehow fail proof.
Every wedding has a bevy of photographers with their iPhones and other brands of mobile storage. This form of storage is very temporary and definitely not recommended.
How many stories have you heard of people who lose, drop, or upgrade their phones only to lose all the data on them!?
Don’t do it, if your memories are not stored in at least 3 different places at any one time you should consider them lost.
So how do you make your images last?
My best advice is to store your photos through a combination approach of printed images and digital images.
For special occasions like weddings, engagements, the birth of your children and family photography sessions I recommend investing in prints or albums along with having digital versions stored on more than one PC and online storage.
This way if albums or prints are ever lost to flooding, fires or other unforeseen circumstances you will have a strong chance of being able to see your favourite images again.
Is printing images a good way to store photos?
Wedding photography is a luxury couples are willing to invest in because they want the memories from their day to last a lifetime.
Wedding albums are an investment for a reason. You receive the superior quality that you pay for. Today we have the option of printing photos on high-quality print paper to then have them framed or bound into a beautiful album.
Yes, you can order inexpensive prints and photo books at any retail center but these cheaper options will never do justice to either your photos or your photographer (this is the reason most- if not all professional photographers offer a combination of prints and albums and usually won’t supply only digital images).
The truth is cheap photobooks will not last, the ink will fade and the memories within will be lost or compromised too.
In my eyes there is and never will be a substitute to a quality photo on display in your home and a quality album to look back at your special day.
The albums I arrange are absolutely exquisite and will last long enough for your great-great-grandchildren to have the opportunity to hold them in their hands.
That just about wraps up everything on this topic but below are a few quick points to always remember when storing images:
- Digital image preserved on a USB or DVD will at some point be lost or unrecoverable and will never last the length of time a printed photo has.
- It is up to you to make additional copies of photos supplied by a photographer.
- Store your photos in a safe place and keep them away from environmental elements that may cause them to stop working prematurely.
- Reduce the chance of losing images by choosing a combination of prints and digital storage.
- Make copies of your DVDs every 3-5 years.
- Never rely on your phone or one digital storage place as your sole storage place.
If you have any questions about image storage, I would love to answer question anytime. You can ask me anything here
For details on the endless printing options you can choose to bring your photos to life, head on over to the products page