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One Slip of the Mouse and Digital Photos Are Gone

3 Vital Tips for Backing Up Digital Photo Originals

Digital photos are terrific! Easy to take — easy to share — and easy to use for prints and other photo products. But digital photos are also easy to delete. One slip of the mouse and they’re gone!

Here are a few tips for backing up your photo originals — from T.J. Dinsmoor at The Lab by Apollo-Imagizing — a pro photographer’s blog that I follow.

  1. Save original photos before editing them. Editing original photos can easily result in them being accidentally overwritten should you “save” instead of “save as.” Save your originals and work from a copy when you begin editing.
  2. Where to save original files. Saving to your computer is not recommended — slows down the computer and the photos may be totally lost if your computer crashes or gets infected by a virus. The best options for saving your originals are:
    • CD. Make one copy for editing and printing purposes. Store originals on a second CD that you keep somewhere safe — maybe even off-site.
    • DVD. You can store more images on a DVD than on a CD. However, DVDs cost a bit more and you do need a DVD burner. As with CDs, make two copies — one for editing and printing purposes; one for safekeeping of the original files.
    • USB Flash Drive. These small, pocket-size drives hold 4, 8, 12, 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of data; some may even hold more. Plenty of room for photo storage. I’d recommend keeping all original photo files on one flash drive and a copy of your photos (for editing/printing purposes) on a second flash drive. I attach luggage tags to my flash drives — marking the contents on the tag for easy identification.
    • External Hard Drive. You can also store your photos on mega-memory external hard drives. They cost a bit more but are the most reliable.You might just keep your originals here and save a copy on a CD or DVD for editing/printing purposes.
      The Lab by Apollo suggests check crucial.com for any of these external memory products.
  3. Online Photo Storage. An easy online site on which to store an unlimited number of photos is lifephoto.com. Simply create a free — totally free — personal account on lifephoto. Upload and organize your photos in folders on the site. It even allows you to make photo books online and share them with family or friends via e-mail — all without cost to you or your friends. Lifephoto’s unique preview link let’s others view your entire photo book, page by page. If they choose, they can actually order a copy to be printed from the link. The printing cost is theirs. Of course, you can order photo books, day planners, photo calendars, posters, photo greeting cards and other items on the site using your already-uploaded photos.

Bottom Line: Don’t edit photos from original digital files. Make a copy for editing purposes and store the originals elsewhere for safekeeping.

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