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How do you store your photographs?


Forum Editor

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In another thread we've been discussing the demise of Jessops, the well-known chain of photographic stores. Reasons for their collapse have generally been agreed to be the changes in the way that people buy cameras, and possibly the fact that phone cameras are nowadays being used by young people as their only way of taking photographs.

I was struck by one of Quickbeam's posts, in which he said (about younger people)

*"When they change phones they don't even keep copies of the photos that were taken on today's iWow phone. The photo content is considered as obsolete as the phone. Which means in 20/30 years time they won't find happy memories of the past at the back of the sock drawer when they find the postcard prints and negatives of holidays taken when they were still slim and fresh faced."*

and I got to wondering how you store your photographic images. Do you archive them on your computer hard drive, looking at them when the thought strikes you, or do you back them up to removable media, leaving them for some future time, when you promise yourself you'll sort them out somehow?

I confess, right at the start, that I fall into the last category. I'm a keen DSLR photographer, and I have thousands of images stored in date order on memory sticks and CDs - all waiting for the moment when I have enough time to sort through and delete those that aren't worth keeping.

In days gone by people had photograph albums containing prints of photographs they took on holiday, or of the children growing up, etc., but does anyone do that nowadays? Film and processing costs were quite expensive, but now we can all take as many digital photographs as we like, at virtually no cost. Are they ending up in a way that makes it a pain to show friends and relatives, or to browse through on the spur of the moment?

Please tell, I would like to know if I'm among friends.

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Same as most load onto main PC copy to NAS and copy to lappy, put new ones on a dvd ,also back up to NAS as well. Lost a few photos years back when I only had one computer and the HDD took a nose dive and there were a few photos then not backed up to CD.

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I do use the personal cloud, but not the open cloud.

It seems we all get anonymity again today...

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Pity we cannot amend our posts after posted, this was mine:-

Posted 15 minutes ago at 11:32AM

Same as most load onto main PC copy to NAS and copy to lappy, put new ones on a dvd ,also back up to NAS as well. Lost a few photos years back when I only had one computer and the HDD took a nose dive and there were a few photos then not backed up to CD.

VENTAD

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I am one of those hopeless cases who stores their photos in envelopes, album or on multimedia type cards, some are even stuck on the cameras own memory.

Perhaps a case of to old in the tooth or just plain lazy to do anything about making 'improvements'?.

Posted by spuds (the PCA website doesn't appear to be posting usernames this morning?)

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I'm a bit paranoid about storing all the photos I have and tend to store them every where, 2 external hard drives, a separate internal drive and CD's but since the price of USB drives have plummeted I'm now using these.

I must have close to 10,000 photos stored, 50% are rubbish but since starting with DSLR around 12 years ago cost of taking them now doesn't even come into it, before then taking 36 shots cost about £7 a time.

The problem is just how long do these things last, photos age, they tend to start losing colour get brittle, stained but they can still be looked at and even now after nearly 60 years I still have black and white photos of myself as a child, but I have had CD's that have became unreadable after 5 years and USB sticks that have failed after 4.

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posted by CARVER, sorry about double posting

I'm a bit paranoid about storing all the photos I have and tend to store them every where, 2 external hard drives, a separate internal drive and CD's but since the price of USB drives have plummeted I'm now using these.

I must have close to 10,000 photos stored, 50% are rubbish but since starting with DSLR around 12 years ago cost of taking them now doesn't even come into it, before then taking 36 shots cost about £7 a time.

The problem is just how long do these things last, photos age, they tend to start losing colour get brittle, stained but they can still be looked at and even now after nearly 60 years I still have black and white photos of myself as a child, but I have had CD's that have became unreadable after 5 years and USB sticks that have failed after 4.

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A few tips about archiving digital images might be helpful here:-

Don't use memory sticks for long-term archival storage - the technology has a definite data retention life and it is not nearly long enough to be considered archival. In other words, the data degrade in a relatively short time.

Data on hard drives will last a very long time, provided the drive is protected from heat and magnetic fields. The weak spot for hard drives is the mechanical parts, especially the bearing seals. They can dry out in archival storage, rendering the drive unusable, reportedly in as little as 2 years.

The best option for write-once archival storage is archival CDs like these. Expensive, but for archival storage they are hard to beat. For best results the data should be written at the slowest speed your drive supports.

Forum Editor

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Bearing in mind what prompted this thread, I would be a little concerned about online cloud services. What if you bought the PC World one uploaded all of your valuable things on to it and they went bust. Would you still have access to it?

I've thought about online storage too but this is the thing that holds me back.

Posted by Pavvi

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Forum Editor

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Pavvi

"What if you bought the PC World one uploaded all of your valuable things on to it and they went bust. Would you still have access to it? I've thought about online storage too but this is the thing that holds me back."

Yes, and it holds a lot of other people back, too. Cloud storage is great,data is safe - safer than on your own computer in theory. It's backed up at regular intervals, and if a server goes down there's a mirror, so you can always access your files, no matter where you are. It's the ideal method of data storage for people like you, who travel a lot.

The worry of course, is how safe is the data store - what happens if somebody doesn't pay the bills, or if a company goes bust overnight? The answer isn't straightforward. Theoretically the file servers will be kept running - either by a new company owner, or by an official receiver, in which case the service will go on, or you will be given notice that it will terminate, giving you time to download your files and go looking elsewhere.

There's no cast-iron guarantee of anything however, and therein lies the rub, as they say - potential users, both private and corporate, are often deterred by that nagging sense of insecurity.

As time goes on the technology will mature, and we'll all relax as Cloud storage becomes the norm. In the meantime it doesn't do any harm to hedge your bets by using a Cloud service operated by a big provider - I use the Microsoft SkyDrive storage - and keep at least one backup locally, on your own hard drive or external media. For business users with mission-critical files to worry about I advise a Cloud storage copy and then two others - one on a local drive and another on removable media that is taken off-site each night - usually to the home of a trusted member of staff.

You can get seriously worried if you allow your mind to prey on the potential security issues - they are many and complex - and at some point you have to start trusting someone or something. The truth is, there is no such thing as totally secure data storage, and there never has been - even paper files are vulnerable to damage, loss or destruction.

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HondaMan

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I am almost paranoid about my photos. So, job by job, they are stored on CD/DVD, as a whole they are kept on my computer but with 2 external HDDs backing that up, one as a proper backup and the other as a clone of the main photo drive on my computer. Photos are on a separate drive in any event.

AND I NEVER, but NEVER delete photos!

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