We use digital photos constantly, from sharing them on Facebook to digital scrapbooking.
However, digital files are susceptible to corruption, deterioration, failures, and becoming obsolete. Here are the four most important things you should be doing to preserve your images.
Choose the most important images
Do you really need six blurry photos of your dog? Only save the photos that are truly important, and you’ll always be able to find them.
Keep multiple copies
Uploading your photos to Facebook isn’t enough! Always keep copies of your original digital photos in multiple locations and on more than one type of media.
For example, you might keep your Sweet Amaranth photos in two locations on your own hard drive (which should be backed up using an automated service like Backblaze), on a portable hard drive or thumb drive, and on a DVD.
Name your files
What was in photo IMG_048.JPG? Who knows? Instead, give your files logical names that include the date and place or person (such as Name_Place_Date.JPG). The extra few minutes will be worth it.
Check your files regularly
Once per year, check your files and make sure you can still read them. It’s a great excuse for a trip down memory lane.
For a material we think of as delicate, paper can be surprisingly resilient. With the proper treatment and care, your portraits can last for generations.
Here’s a quick guide to caring for your portraits.
Handle photographs with care
Keep food and drink away from your photos, and always use clean hands. Also, avoid using glue, paperclips, adhesives, or rubber bands.
Label your photos
Use a pencil to lightly write the person’s or place’s name, date, and location of the photo on the back. The extra few minutes will be worth it.
Keep photos cool and dry
The Library of Congress recommends minimal exposure to light and a relatively dry (30-40% relative humidity), cool (room temperature or below), clean, and stable environment (avoid attics, basements, and other locations with high risk of leaks and environmental extremes).
Use acid-free materials
Keep your photos in acid-free boxes and use only acid-free paper around your photos, whether they’re in envelopes, boxes, or scrapbooks. Avoid albums with colored pages or “magnetic” or “no stick” areas and look for “archival quality” albums instead.
Enjoy your art out of the box
The safest place for your portraits is in a professionally-printed album or on your walls out of direct sunlight, using acid-free mats and archival mounting. Plus, it’s the easiest way to enjoy your beautiful photographs.