Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Archiving Photos

Most people today have digital cameras and store their photos on their computer. Digital cameras are wonderful—they allow us to take many more photos in order to get the perfect picture and we don’t have to wonder what our photos will look like before they are developed. Digital photos are also easier to edit and share with others. However, the downfall of digital photos is that we don’t always develop them and if our computer happens to crash all our precious memories are lost.

I have had several friends loose all their photos due to a computer crash. Archiving your photos isn’t fun, but it is something you should do once a year. As you may have noticed, I’ve had this post on the “Upcoming Posts” list on the side of this blog for awhile now in hopes of motivating me to archive our photos. It is easy to put off, but something we shouldn't. Here are my suggestions for how to archive your photos.

Organize and Label

If your photos aren’t already organized in some type of order, you’ll want to do that before archiving them. I label mine in folders by date followed by a few words explaining what is in the folder.

If you want to be extremely detailed, you can label each photo title with those pictured and where it was taken in the image name. For example instead of having it say “IMG10.jpg” you could title it “Uncle Bob at Lake Tahoe June 2007.jpg.”

You also may want to thin your photo files. I know I usually take way too many photos since they are “digital” but I really only want to keep half of them.

Burn to a DVD

I suggest burning your photos to a DVD rather than a CD. I can get two years worth of photos on one DVD whereas it would take many CDs to hold what one DVD can. I burn two copies. I store one of the DVDs in a CD/DVD case and I put the other copy in a fireproof safe (or you can store it in a bank box or with a relative). This way if something were to happen to your archived DVD case you would have another copy in a different location.

Once your DVDs are burned, make sure to label them before storing. I use our Lightscribe DVD burner and it works wonderfully.

Not tech savy? Not sure how to burn to a CD or DVD? Click here to find out how.

Store pictures online

There are many online photo sites that allow you to store photos. I put some of my photos in my Picasa web album. I am not very good at doing this frequently, but I am going to post some of my favorites there this week as I am archiving my photos.

I like having a blog because some of my pictures are also stored there. Blogs can accidentally be deleted, too, so I also backup my blog using Bloggled. Online storage is nice, but the sites may not be around years from now so it is important that you don’t skip the step of burning your photos to a DVD or CD.

Good luck with your archiving! Hope this post helps motivate you to archive your photos.


  1. I have some catching up to do. Very informative post. Do you have any suggestions for fire proof safes? I need one this year. Thank you. Staci

  2. If you are looking for a small safe the sentry 1100 fireproof safe is a good one. I believe Lowe's sells them for around $30.

  3. Also, you can get a separate external hard drive and save your pictures there as well. Because at least for me, my pictures take up tons of space and it will be a long time before I ever fill one of those up. I have several mediums where I save my pictures--I would hate to lose them!

  4. Great post. I reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally need to do this.