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keeping your photographs safe… | Lifestyle Photography

What do photographs of these beautiful girls that I photographed last summer have to do with keeping your photographs safe? About two weeks ago, these sweet girls and their parents lost their home to a horrible fire. Everything was lost. I know it is easy to think that something like this will never happen to you, but think for a moment if it did… what would you miss the most? Chances are photographs of your kids or wedding rank very, very high on that list. What can be done to keep digital files and film negatives safe? What about professional photographs? What about those creative albums? It just breaks my heart to think of what this family has lost and if I can help anyone reading this to keep their photographs safe, I want to try.

Keeping my client’s files backed up is top priority for me, but I am just as guilty as anyone on letting it slide when it comes to backing up personal files. So, as I’m typing this, I’m backing up my personal files, because, well that would be BAD if I didn’t practice what I preach – right?

Personal Digital Files And Film Negatives

  • Burn TWO copies of your digital photographs onto CDs or DVDs. Set aside one day a month to do this – put it on your calendar! Put one copy of your images in a media-rated fire safe and keep another copy in a shoe box at the house of a family member or friend.
  • Store film negatives in acid-free sleeves (you can often find these at a scrapbook store or a camera store). Store them in a media-rated fire safe or in a safety deposit box.

Personal Creative Albums

  • Keep all albums together and near a main exit in your home. If you have time to save anything in your home, it will increase your chances of getting them out safe and sound.
  • As an added precaution, consider purchasing or renting a large flatbed scanner. You can read information on how to do this and about scanner recommendations here. Then, keep dual copies of your files just like your other digital files.

Professional Photographs

  • If digital files are offered by your photographer and within your budget, purchase the high-resolution files. Put one copy of your images in a media-rated fire safe and keep another copy in a shoe box at the house of a family member or friend. Please keep in mind that scanning professional prints is not allowed and would be a violation of the photographer’s legal copyright.
  • If digital files are not offered by your photographer or are not within your budget, ask your photographer what their policy is regarding archival of files and how they archive them.

How Your Photographs Are Handled At Simply Life Photography

  • After your session, your raw/unedited images are loaded onto dual hard drives and then burned to a DVD which is stored in a fire safe. Raw/unedited wedding images are also stored at an alternative location.
  • All finished/edited files are archived for 30 days past your order session date. Orders can be placed within this time for any of the session images.
  • All images that are ordered within those 30 days are retained on dual hard drives as well as on a DVD in a fire safe for a minimum of 6 months. I don’t throw away your files after that six months, but because DVD’s do sometimes fail, I am not able to guarantee them any longer than that. If for any reason your prints are lost or damaged, please contact me to see if I still have the files for you to re-order.

Please keep these girls and their parents in your thoughts and prayers. While they do have re-prints of the photographs from their session with me, I know that they have lost so very much.

  • angela - this is my biggest FEAR-I try to archive my personals as well as clients-but thanks so much for the reminder!!! I will definitely keep them in my prayers-I cannot even imagine. I know that the safety of the family is #1, but some things you just cannot replace. Puts things into perspective doesn’t it?!

  • Teya - What a great PSA and beautiful images. I’m sorry for the family’s tragedy, but so glad that you held their memories safe for them!

  • Marmalade - A great reminder. So sad about this family’s personal tragedy, however they are lucky to have a pro photographer who values backing up and takes care of her client’s images. Beautiful girls…many well wishes to their family during this tough time.

  • Shellie Gansz - Im so sorry for this family! These are treasured images and it is awesome that you are able to provide them with replacement images. I agree with the above that it sure puts things into perspective.

  • Sherial - Thanks for the reminder. I’m glad you are able to help this family perserve some of their memories of their beautiful children.

  • Danna Bowes - This is a great post!! We always think it will never happen to us….

    My deepest sympathies go out to this family.

    off to back up my files now….

  • Heather Gibb - Oh what a tragedy for this family. They are beautiful girls!!! Thanks for the reminder!

  • sylvia - my heart goes out to the family. thank you for the PSA.

  • Angela - Oh no that is so sad about their home, but these are great tips for everyone to keep in mind. Beautiful little girls.

  • allie - Wow, what a scary post to read….. Thank you for this reminder.

  • Julie - Oh how sad for this family to lose your home and everything in it…my own personal fear. I even plan my location to store my photo albums near a window so I can toss them out once the kids and pets are out. But of course often there is no time for stuff like that. I also backup my discs and store copies at my parents home, just in case.

  • Laura - oh my goodness…I am crying for this family and those sweet little girls…Thank God they made it out safely…wow..I am praying for all of you! (((HUGS)))

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