How many copies do you have of your favorite photos?
If you answered “one,” you may as well kiss that picture goodbye. If your answer was “two in the same location,” same thing. Experts say you need three or four versions of your keepsakes preferably in at least two formats and at least two locations.
Nobody wants to dwell on worst-case scenarios, but we all know they can happen. One day you come home and your basement is flooded, or your computer won’t turn on, or many other disasters I don’t even want to write about. What’s the first thing you do? You think about what might be lost because of the unforeseen event.
Just like you purchase insurance against the worst day ever, you need to take the time to ensure your best memories are protected. You don’t necessarily have to do this for every single photo, but at least for the ones you would be sorry to lose.
Choose at least three of the formats below:
- Printed photos stored in acid-free or archival boxes or albums (print is a perfectly viable backup system)
- Digital photos organized on your laptop or personal computer
- Saved to a cloud site like Google Photos, Amazon Photos, Flickr or many others
- Backed up to an external hard drive
- Saved to USB drives stored in a safe place (they’re small and easily lost, so make sure they’re in a good spot to retrieve them)
- Stored on archival-quality CDs or DVDs (not as reliable as other formats though)
- Saved in a photo book, and ideally also at the site where you made the book (like Shutterfly)
In addition to the formats, you should consider locations. Share your photos with friends and family, and they can send the copy back to you if necessary. Ask someone a distance away if they would hold onto an external hard drive for you. If you have a safe at a bank or somewhere else offsite, toss a couple USB drives in there without taking up too much room.
Make sure your photos are backed up and protected, and you will have one less thing to worry about in the event something catastrophic happens.