Where did my images go?

Yesterday, a client asked me if I could copy some photos from the SD card on her phone. Her phone was no longer able to read the card, and it had some photos of her recently deceased mother that she desperately wanted to save.

Today, I had to tell her there was nothing I could do.

I tried. I spent hours trying different things. But, in the end, I had to give up. I’m going to send her to an IT company to try next, but it brings up an issue near and dear to my heart. Where was the backup? Most people, unless they’ve lost data at some point, have no idea that they need to backup their images and data.

NCI_Kaypro_SSDDAs a photographer, I’m in the business of preserving memories. Memories of family, of friends, of special events on our lives. And the best way to do that with a photograph is to print it. Imagine handing your grandchildren an 8 inch floppy disk, your only copy of your wedding pictures. What will they do? CDs and DVDs are rapidly being phased out of newer computers. What will you do with that CD in 10 years?

When people have to evacuate because of a natural disaster, what’s the first thing they take, after they make sure the family is safe? Photo albums.

Print what you want to keep.

"But what happens when another Katrina comes and destroys all my photos?"

That’s where your backup comes in. If my client had enabled the automatic upload feature provided by Google+ or Dropbox or iCloud or several other apps, she would have copies of all the images she’d taken online. It’s automatic. You don’t have to remember, you don’t have to start it. It just happens.

If she’d copied the data to her computer, she’d have another copy there. And if she backed up her computer, she’d have yet another copy.

"But backing up my computer is hard."

I use Crashplan. $5 a month and unlimited storage. I like it the best of all the cloud backup options, but it’s certainly not your only choice.  Install the program, and it will automatically back up your files and photos in the background. You don’t have to remember to back up your computer; it does it for you. Granted, that initial backup takes a long time if you have a lot of photos and a slow connection, but there’s no time like the present to start.

What will you do when all your digital images disappear?

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