Long term photo storage Apr 22
My wedding photography coverage typically includes digital copies of the wedding photos which I deliver on a DVD disc readable by nearly every computer made in the past 5 years. I also provide a back up disc that I recommend the couple store in another location like a parent’s home or a safety deposit box. However, it is important to note that even the best DVDs have a limited lifespan, and for this reason, here are a few suggestions for making sure you will have photos of your wedding to show your children and even grandchildren.
Hard drives –The first thing I recommend every couple do is copy all the files from their disc to their personal computer. Depending on the capacity of your computer’s hard drive, this could take up a very small or very large amount of space. External hard drives have become extremely affordable in recent years and a second copy on them is recommended. This is my primary means of backup, with all archived files existing on at least two external hard drives which are individually checked for errors every few months. [Link to Western Digital 320 GB external hard drive, $80]
Flash drives – A computer hard drive has moving parts which can fail, however, a flash drive has no moving parts and can be a good long term storage solution. Two cautions though, they are small and easy to lose, and you could accidentally delete the files with just a few clicks (same as a hard drive). Some weddings will fit entirely on a 4 GB drive, though most will need an 8 GB drive. [Link to Lexar 8 GB flash drive, $37]
Online storage – You can also store a back up of your photos using online storage for a very reasonable fee. I store back ups online with a service available only to professional photographers, but there are many companies such as Amazon who offer this service to anyone. Be warned, it will take several hours even with high-speed internet to upload all your photos. [Link to Amazon s3 online storage, typically for less than $1 per month]
Prints – Finally, high-quality photographic prints which are available through professional photographers such as myself are a great way to “store” your wedding photos. They are designed to maintain quality for over 200 years in dark storage and over 100 years in typical home display. Of course these are susceptible to disasters such as flood or fire, so again, having some stored in another location is a wise decision.