Your Photos Are Ready!

What to Do When You Receive Your Digital Photos

Your pictures are ready! I initially -- and temporarily -- store and present the photos in a password-protected online gallery; however, it is ultimately your -- the client’s -- responsibility to make sure the digital files are downloaded, saved, and backed up to your own digital media. Here are some steps you can take to acquire and safeguard your digital photos:

1.     Download* your images. Create a folder and and download all of your images directly to your hard drive. Your working version of your photos are easier and faster to access directly from a hard drive than from a CD or thumb drive. Also, you’re far less likely to lose your hard drive than you are to lose a thumb drive!

2.     Now, BACK UP your files. Hard drives can and DO fail. Eventually, YOUR hard drive will fail. Your best insurance policy for lost or damaged digital files is your back up system. And fortunately today, you have several affordable options:

Portable Media. Create a copy of your images on a CD, DVD or thumb drive. Put that portable media someplace safe. Better yet, put take it to another physical location – take it home, take it to the office, put it in a safe deposit box, put it under your mattress. Although creating a back up to portable media is becoming more and more old school, it’s better than nothing.

External hard drives. External hard drives with 1-2 terabytes of storage are around $100. Google “external hard drive reviews” to see what sources such as C/NET and PC Magazine have to say about current models. Then get one pronto. They usually come with their own back-up software. If you use a Mac, MacOS has a backup utility called Time Machine that works well with external hard drives.

Cloud storage. You can upload copies of your pictures to online photo galleries or repositories such as Picturelife or Flickr. Some cloud options aren’t specific to photos and can be used to back up many type of files: iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Amazon Cloud Drive are examples you may be familiar with. Depending on how much storage you need, these options can be very inexpensive – or free.

Online back-up services. Services such as Mozy, Carbonite, or CrashPlan create and store a back-up of your entire hard drive – photos and all. These services automatically back up new and changed files whenever you’re connected to the internet. Additionally, they make back-ups of your back-up and will help you recover your files should you need to.

3.     Keep a clean copy. If you decide to change the file names, please keep at least ONE set of the original files with their original names. I ask my clients to do this in case you ask me for another copy of a file down the road. While I can’t guarantee that I will still have your images, the only hope that I will be able to find that file from the over 150,000 files on my own hard drive is if you can give me its original file name or number.

4.     Back up again. I use a combination of two external hard-drives, cloud storage, and an online back-up service that runs constantly in the background for everything. While it took a little bit of effort to get everything set up, and it may be redundant, my back up process runs itself and delivers peace of mind.

As always, please let me know if I can answer any questions or assist you in any way! 


* When downloading multiple images from one of my galleries, the photos are delivered in a .zip file. If you're running a computer with Windows XP or newer, right-click the .zip file and select "Extract All...". You will be prompted to define a location for the unzipped folder to be stored. If you're using Mac OS, simply double click the .zip file. A new folder containing the unzipped photos will be created in the same location as the .zip file -- usually in your Downloads folder. Once the files are unzipped, you can move them to wherever you keep your photos on your hard drive.