In the age of affordable DSLRs, phones with cameras and ubiquitous photo-sharing on Facebook and other social networks, we’re taking more photos than ever before. However the inherent problem here lies in actually having to manage all of these devices and the photos stored within. Have you ever asked yourself where all of your photos are actually stored? Are they backed up? And does your back up have its own back up?
The only way to protect your photo collection is to develop a good photo management routine, because without this, you risk losing your precious photos forever. Here are our recommendations for managing and protecting your photo collection.
Create a centralised “Photo Hub”
Store you photos in one central location, such as on your computer. This will help you keep tabs on what you have and where it’s located. Regularly consolidate all of your photos from your phone, camera, and tablets and download them to your photo hub. The more frequently you do this, the more you minimise the risk of losing photos in the event that your camera or phone is (hopefully not!) lost or stolen.
Choose a good photo management software program
There are all sorts of systems and software available for managing and/or viewing photos, where some are free and some you can get your hands on for a small fee. For Mac users, we recommend the free app, “Photos” (tends to come as part of the Mac package!) and for Windows users we suggest downloading Picasa (a free program provided by Google). Both tools enable you to easily view photos, create albums, make edits and import new photos from multiple devices.
Label your photos
When it comes to organising your photos, the single most important thing you can do is give your folders (or even individual photos) a name that clearly identifies what they are. When you download your photos, your photo management software automatically puts them into dated folders (for Windows users) and dated events (for Macs). Inside those, each picture has a default file name, which is usually a combination of letters followed by numbers, and the only way to know what they are is to physically open them or strain your eyes squinting at the tiny thumbnails!
To help overcome this, make it a habit to at least rename each folder or event as you download it to your computer. Use a combination of year, month, and day plus a little something about where the photos were taken… for example if you renamed your photos like this 2014_01_06 Bali Holiday, it ensures your folders continue to sort in date order. Better yet, you can also rename each photo if you have time (but hey, we’re all busy mamas so this is unlikely to be practical!).
Back up, back up and back up again!
One would think that this far into the digital age we wouldn’t need to preach the importance of backing up files, but you’d be surprised at the number of people we visit that have no back up in place! Make it a habit to back up your files regularly, especially every time you transfer a new batch of images to your computer! Your back up also needs its own back up – the more copies you have, stored in different locations, the more you minimise the risk of losing precious photos. Consider using cloud storage as an additional back up solution as it provides a very resilient remote storage facility, whereby your photo collection is free from the threat of physical damage, natural disasters and theft. Storing them online also provides a convenient way to share them with family and friends in other countries!
Future-proof your photo collection
Reevaluate your photo back ups annually. If you use external hard drives, CDs or DVDs, make sure they are still readable and make new copies if needed. If you use online storage, make sure the site is still there, and that your log-in information still works. Think about file format and whether it makes sense to convert photos to a more modern format. Evaluate new storage media options to decide if the media you originally used is still the best choice.
Photo Stream is NOT a back up solution
For those mamas using Apple devices, please remember that photo stream is NOT a long-term back up solution, it’s just a tool that automatically uploads the latest photos you take and stores them in iCloud, which then enables them to sync across your devices. Do you have more than 1000 photos in your Camera Roll folder on your iPhone? If so, Apple states that only the latest 1000 photos will be stored in your online iCloud account and that photos over 30 days old may be deleted! If you don’t have those photos backed up elsewhere, you’ll lose them if you ever lose your phone.
If you use a Mac, you can launch iPhoto and enable the Automatic Import option under Photo Stream in the preferences pane. Assuming your Mac is on and connected to the Internet, Photos will automatically download photos from your photo stream and make local copies of them in your Photos Library. If you have a Windows PC, you can install the iCloud Control Panel, which will create a Photo Stream folder on your PC. Your photos will be automatically downloaded and stored to this folder. You’ll then have to copy your photos manually to your “Pictures” folder so you don’t lose them when they disappear from Photo Stream.
So that’s it, if you follow these basic photo management tips, you’ll have peace of mind that the precious photos of your precious memories will be safe and sound for years to come.
If you need any help or further advise, please call us on 81138682.