Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Safe Photo Storage

My Dear #1 Niece emailed me this question, I thought I would answer it here:

I need some advice about preserving photos. We got a portable hard drive for Christmas and I am in the process of backing up my photos on that, but it got me thinking. OK, now I've protected my photos in case my computer crashes but what about fires, floods and things like that. What is your recommendation? Should I burn them on CD? I probably need some other storage space outside of my house? Safe deposit box or box at Grandmas I don't know.
And what about my albums? Where do you store yours?
Love ya,
Leesha ;)

That is such a good question Leesh, I'm posting my answer here on my blog (I know, shamelessly promoting myself here, so you'll all have to listen, read, whatever.)

I have decided some things after seeing the devastation that can happen when things are not properly stored. I'll give them in list form, it's easier for my brain to wrap around a list than a paragraph.

1. Store them in 3--Store your photos in at least three different places. For instance, on a webprovider like Creative Memories Photo Center, Snapfish, or Kodak Share. CM stores theirs at 3 locations within their photo center, so if one office has a crash, there are 2 more to back that up. Add to that a stack of CD's, and may I recommend here, Memory Manager 2 program that Gram has. It is from Creative Memories, sorts photos, edits them. Terrific program! $39.95 from my website.This program automatically prompts you to back up your memories, (which reminds me, time to do mine.) Then lastly in printed format, get them in safe acid-free albums.

2. Sort your negatives, and keep them off site. At your mom's house, safe deposit box, fireproof safe, somewhere else. Mine fit in 3 Mini Power Sort boxes, about the size of a small shoebox. (Also from my website.)

3. Give away photos you want to keep. Just like hugs, and smiles, if you give them away they will return to you. I know of a CM consultant whose home was burned to the ground in a devastated fire. The only photos she had were those that she had given away. She contacted her family and friends and they collected pictures of her family and returned to her a good amount of photos from her lifetime. If she had been stingy and kept them all to herself, she wouldn't have had any to be returned to her.

4. Store your albums, and pictures like family. Keep them in rooms that you would store the people in, not just their pictures. If you'd put Grandma Nin in the room in which her pictures are stored, they should be fine. I keep mine in the front room on a bookshelf near my piano, which is near the front door. My home is raised about 4 feet off the ground, I don't worry too much about a flood getting in, but if my piano should ever catch on fire... (we won't go there.) Anyway, they are in this room because it is close to the door, and after getting all my kids out safely, I could easily grab my photo albums, assuming of course that I had enough room in the Suburban for all 22 of them, and take them with me.

I do need to reevaluate a few of my storage spaces of un-scrapbooked photos. They aren't stored in a manner that is conducive to a clean getaway. I don't have all of my older photos scanned, a few, but not many. I need to take the time and get them all in digital format.

Three cheers for your efforts on getting them on your external hard drive. Memory manager also has an option to do a "shadow copy" on an external hard drive so that after you are finished editing or uploading photos, you can click "shadow copy" and it will automatically write any changes you have just made to the external drive.
I hope that answered you questions, I'm sure I gave you much more than what you wanted. I tend to offer a drink of water with a firehose.
Love you all.

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