Photos are precious memories of the people we love and the places we go. Many people store them on hard drives, believing they are keeping them safe, but this is far from the most secure way to store them. In fact, most professional photographers can tell you at least one horror story about that one time their system crashed and they lost all the photos from a recent job. Smartphones are not much better by themselves. If they get lost, stolen, or broken, there’s no guarantee you’ll ever see those pics again. The solution is to have a solid backup plan. This plan should be one that you use automatically and consistently.

Image resolution

Before you choose a backup method for your photos, you need to understand image resolution and why it matters. Depending on the type of camera you use, your images have either high or low resolution. Hopefully, you’ve graduated away from the six-megapixel cameras of last decade and moved on to more sophisticated equipment.

Either way, you’ll want to retain the integrity of your images when you store them. The reason this is important is that some people rely on sites like social media platforms to hold their pics. But when you upload a picture to one of these sites (like Facebook), it’s automatically reduced to a lower resolution so as not to take too much time to load. Then, if you try to download the image from there, it comes out grainy or blurry. For this reason, your method of storage needs to have plenty of space to save your photos at full resolution.

3-2-1 backup strategy

Homeland Security has a system for backing up important data that many professionals use for backing up images. This system is called the 3-2-1 rule and it basically ensures that you’ll never lose a photo again. The rule says that you keep three copies of each file you want to keep: One primary and two backups. It also states that you should keep them on at least two different types of media and store one copy offsite.

External hard drive storage

One option for storing your backup files is an external hard drive. You can even opt to make this your primary storage. These have some of the same risks of a computer, but they’re much less prone to viruses. That is, of course, as long as you don’t keep them connected to your computer at all times.

Cloud storage

Anyone who takes photos should have some cloud picture backups. There are plenty of smart home devices devoted to cloud storage that can sync, share, and organize your photos easily. The reason this is a recommended backup method is because there’s always a way to recover these photos, even if your hard drive or phone crashes.

DVD or flash drive storage

Storing photos on DVDs or flash drives is a popular backup method for a lot of photographers. While it is a valid option, it’s also quite risky. DVDs tend to scratch or get lost, and flash drives tend to lose data or upload it incorrectly. However, this is still one of the cheapest options available and some people like it because they can be duplicated and passed out to family members.

Physical storage

Some people prefer one of their backup methods to be actual prints of their photos. This is a great idea because you’re more likely to look at your photos and display them for others to see. You can also send a favorite or two in to be made into a cheap canvas print so that your memories become works of art. Of course, prints should never be your only storage method since they’re the most vulnerable to loss or damage. But what good is it to take hundreds of photos and never get to enjoy them?

Your photos are of extreme value, so you need to take proper precautions to ensure they remain safe. Whether you choose DVDs or a more efficient option like a home storage device, you’ll be able to enjoy your photos whenever you choose.

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