Backing up digital photos

External hard driveBacking up digital photos is something everyone using a digital camera should do on a regular basis. Backing up helps protect important photos and image files from damage or loss should your computer hard drive fail.

If you take lots of photos, consider buying an extra hard drive or similar device to store and preserve image files and copies of unedited originals. You can also bum images onto CDs or DVDs. For those with small storage requirements, a large capacity USB flash drive may suffice.

Only after transferring and safely storing images should you erase the memory card.

Image storage devices

When traveling or out in the field taking photos, many photographers take along a notebook computer, netbook or a special portable device to transfer and store images. Storage devices provide an alternative to purchasing several numerous memory cards, though they are heavier and require batteries.

These compact devices often contain hard drives like those found in mobile computers. Some have a LCD monitor to review images and playback multimedia such a videos right out in the field.

Online storage and display

Images can be stored online for free at commercial photo finishing sites such as the highly rated Kodak Gallery. A number of photo hosting sites provide free space for online storage. There are usually limitations on the amount of free storage or how many photos that can be uploaded each month. If needed, additional storage can be purchased for a nominal fee.

If you use a photo hosting site for storage of original photo files, check the control panel to select the settings you desire. Unless otherwise specified by the user, an photo hosting site may automatically reduce images in size and/or compress them.

Social networking for photographers

In addition to storing image files, some photo hosting sites, such as Flickr, are social networks for photographers. User groups, blogs and forums are formed according to type of scene or subject participants are interested in photographing. Groups are also formed based on the digital camera or image editing software members use.

Help, advice and photo critiques are all part of the network. Most offer a privacy option to control who can view photos and videos.

You can leave or join a group at the click of a button.

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