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.
- 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.