Organize & Archive

Backing up digital images

Written by Gail Bjork

Many photographers not only back up their digital image files but archive them as well. There are several methods to effectively archive photos.

Hard drive with built-in card reader

If you’ve ever inadvertently deleted or overwritten an image file, or had an unexpected hard drive failure or virus attack, you understand the importance of regularly making backups.

Backing up is simply making a duplicate copy of unedited original image files and burning them into a high quality CD or DVD disk. Backups can also be made by copying files to an external hard drive or high capacity flash drive.

Archiving digital images

Archive by making additional copies of images and storing them away from your home or office, such as in a safe deposit box or a relative’s house. Though not a pleasant subject, there is always the possibility of theft, fire or a natural disaster, so keeping important files in a second location makes a lot of sense.

Many use archival-grade DVD discs for backing up files. They are tested under extreme conditions and are said to have a storage life of approximately 100 years.

Online backup and storage

But will CD and DVD drives be around for another 100 years? No one knows for sure.

That’s why many photographers also use online back-up and storage facilities to archive important data and images. Some services offer a few gigabytes of secure, free storage. If needed, additional gigabytes can be purchased for an annual fee.

When using an online backup service, make sure to use a reliable company. Some of the companies that offer free online storage and backup are EMC’s Mozy , Microsoft’s SkyDrive and AOL’s Xdrive. For Mac computer users, Apple offers a 60 day free trial of Mac iDisk.

Tip: when storing digital files online, make sure the control panel is set to keep the original file size and compression if that is your goal.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.