Memories are fading, but photographs last forever, right? After your professional photography session, it is so important to know how to take care of your digital files and to ensure they stay safe so your memories and legacy can live on.
In my time as a professional photographer in the Detroit area, I’ve seen many clients go through the heartbreak of losing their photo files, and I haven’t always been able to recover them on my end! I have several recommendations for my clients to make sure this tragedy never befalls them, and today I thought I’d share my suggestions here on the blog for other potential clients and families to take note of before they receive their professional photos back from the photographer.
Upon receipt of your photos, you should immediately come up with an action plan for storing them. Some photographers deliver an online gallery of the session, some deliver your chosen physical prints, and others deliver a flash drive or another storage option for the digital files.
My top recommendation is to save your images in more than one location. For most clients, this recommendation looks like a suggestion to save their files (a) in a cloud-based storage location, (b) on a desktop or hard-drive, (c) on an external, portable file drive like a flash drive, and (d) keep physical copies printed and displayed in your home or reserved in a safe, organized location.
This may sound redundant or extreme to consider the four locations suggested in this action plan, but you won’t be laughing when you lose the hard-drive, your cloud storage runs out, and your physical copies get forgotten in a move. Life happens, and it can get crazy pretty easily! Don’t let the vibrant, beautiful chaos of your life claim the lovely photos you invested in. Make sure they last by keeping them safe!
A few suggestions for choosing the hardware to store your digital photo files on:
- Flash Drives
Flash drives are long-lasting, with the life cycle of a regularly used flash drive lasting about ten years. That doesn’t mean your photos will be corrupted after that time, especially if the only files the flash drive is used for is your photo session and you don’t delete and re-upload many files to it. Flash drives are also cheap and easy to use, and easy to duplicate if your parents or in-laws want a copy of your photo session.
- Hard Drive
If you use an external hard drive to back-up your photos, depending on how frequently you add to or delete data, you might want to consider replacing it every five or so years to make sure the data stays accessible and safe. My favorite external hard drive is this 8TB Seagate Desktop External Hard Drive.
- Multiple Flash Drives
If you’re transient or have a lot of files, consider storing a back-up copy of your photo flash drive at a friend or family member’s house! It never hurts to keep these important files in multiple physical locations.
- Cloud Storage
In terms of cloud storage, you can use popular options like Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud to retain your photos and keep them accessible. Also, with all these options, you have the opportunity to share them with multiple people! Remember, the more people shared on the file, the greater the potential for someone to accidentally delete something important or valuable.
If you’re looking for a different cloud backup option, my favorite is Backblaze. It’s easy and affordable and always my go-to recommendation.
Lastly, printing your photos is an oft-neglected step by most photographers and clients, but it’s a high priority for me! I will always recommend you print a physical copy of your session photos so you always have the physical copies to look through.
Not only is flipping their physical copies of a photo so much more cherished and nostalgic for families to do together, but digital files can be corrupt over time. Besides, you invested in this professional photography for a reason — don’t let your time and energy go to waste by procrastinating getting these beautiful images up in your home! When I finish a session, one of my first priorities with my clients upon receipt of their photos is to encourage them to get their prints ordered right away.
Nothing is more lovely than seeing your memories and season of life immortalized in a photograph to last a lifetime. But by taking action steps to ensure your digital files are safe, you’ll avoid the tragedy of lost images and make sure the photos last for much longer than just your lifetime.
If you’d like to book a session with me, I’d love to chat! Simply send me a message to start a conversation.