When I graduated high school, an older family friend gifted me a fireproof box. I won't lie– I thought it was extremely weird. However, I can tell you that it is thee only gift from my high school graduation that I still use today!
We keep all of our important documents in it and the flash drives that contain the digital files from our most important photography sessions like our wedding and Hattie's birth.
While I'm a huge advocate for printing your photos and creating heirlooms to pass down, I do believe there is a place for our digital files. We live in a digital world so it is important to be properly educated on how to store and archive our digital files. Just like our printed images can be ruined in the event of a disaster, our digital files, too, can get corrupted and ruined– even my trusty flash drive safely stored in my fireproof box.
I wish I could say that your digital files will last forever, but they can get damaged if not stored properly. It is also important to note the every changing digital mediums we have seen in our lifetime– floppy discs, CDs, flash drives, The Cloud.
Here are a few tips to help you extend the lifespan of your digital memories:
My first recommendation when you receive your digital files is to download both web size and hi-res files to your computer. For me, this automatically backs my files up to The Cloud. However, I also take it a step further and also store copies on an external hard drive. This means I have my files on a flash drive, my computer's hard drive, The Cloud, and an external hard drive. I recommend my clients follow this process, too, as I delete full galleries every quarter (with the exception of my membership clients!) DO NOTE that it is not recommended to use Facebook or Instagram as a method for storing your precious memories! If you've been around to remember Myspace, you understand why!
When transporting your images, keeping it stored in a safe, secure position, such as in a box will ensure longevity. Improper storage can stress the drive and increase chances of banging, bending, or crushing. When holding a disk, be sure to hold the edges and keep your hands off the shiny part of the disk to avoid oils from your hands transferring on to it. If you smudge your CD use warm soapy water and a cotton rag for wiping as paper towels can cause scratches. Household cleaners can damage your disk very easily.
All of my clients who purchase digital images receive a flash drive with both web size and hi-res files on it. It is so important to store your flash drive with its protective cap on. Leaving the drive’s connector exposed will attract dust and sediments which will rapidly decrease its functioning ability. It is not recommended to store your mediums in a hot place or direct sunlight; cooler temperatures and dark storage are ideal. This is another reason I keep my photography flash drives in our fireproof box!
Print Your Photos
Sadly, having your digital files backed up and your USB drive safely stored can't guarantee your files won't somehow get lost or corrupted. While the chances are lowered using the steps above, the only true way to archive your photos is through print. I even keep a copy of my most treasured prints in my fireproof box.
Also, think about it– when friends and family come over, how often do you pull out your flash drive to show them recent family photos? Out of all of my friends and family members, no one has ever run to grab their computer, BUT they will proudly pull out a beautiful heirloom photo album to show off their precious family memories.
Meredith Maag Photography specializes in newborn, maternity, motherhood, family, and baby sessions in the Kansas City area, including Mission, Westwood, Brookside, Waldo, Country Club Plaza, Crossroads, Westport, Overland Park, Lee’s Summit, Prairie Village, Leawood, Independence, Lenexa, Olathe, and The Northland.
I am so happy you are here and would love to tell you more about a family photography session! From wardrobe to the delivery of your fine art products, I’ve thought through every detail, making the entire experience enjoyable. If you are interested in a custom portrait session with Meredith Maag Photography and would like more information, please click here to see the experience.
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