Where would we be without photos? We’d have no blackmail, no things to cut up after a divorce, no US Weekly, and no pictures to stare at on The Consumerist. And now that there are digital cameras, anyone can take ‘em. But like emails, thesis statements, and that Great American Novel you’ve been working on for years, they’re prone to digital oblivion if you don’t take some precautions. The Associated Press has four basic tips that you should already be following to keep your digital pics safe.
- Keep backups at multiple locations. Use more than one computer, and don’t rely on your work PC (we’re amazed at how many family members and friends do this). Also, use external drives or storage media. For the best preservation security (but least privacy), look at online storage services that will let you store original files for a yearly fee.
- Manage your CDs and DVDs. Don’t burn a backup once and forget it. Migrate your backups to new discs every few years so that you never worry about a scratched surface or outdated technology trapping your data.
- Don’t place blind faith in online storage. Yes, we know we just said online storage is the best, but it’s not the only thing you should be relying on, since you can’t control when or if the business will disappear overnight and take your photos with it. Also, if you use an online photo printing service, check whether or not you have to pay to get access to your source files—Shutterfly, for instance, charges a premium fee to get back those photos you store for free on their servers.
- Migrate your data and verify that you can access it. Don’t put off moving your photos from your old computer to a new one. Do it immediately and verify that the files can be opened, so that if your old computer breaks or is wiped clean, you’ll have no regrets.