How to NOT Lose All of Your Digital Photos In the Next 20 Years

Hi friends! 
Today we're going to talk about ARCHIVING your amazing memories. I know, I know, you just fell out of your chair in excitement. Really, it's a topic of value, and the steps we take today to ensure a rich collection of memories are going to pay off in the long run. Archiving should be easy...  but in our fast moving digital age it can be challenging to keep up and you might feel like you're participating in a Richard Simmons workout. For example:

1970s - Floppy Disk & Prints 
1980s - CD
Early 2000's - USBs
Now - Digital downloads or USBs

Archiving was one of the very first lessons I had to learn in order to successfully keep track of thousands upon thousands of photographs for Little Miss Creative. Like most lessons that really stick, I learned it the fun hard way! 
One sunny day I woke up, plopped down at my computer to find a collection of portraits to get ready to edit... and boom, just like that, they were nowhere to be found. After nearly spitting my cereal milk on my computer screen, I came to terms with the fact that something had to change. No longer could I throw my photos on my computer hard drive carelessly every time I had a session. I had to get down to business and make a system. Thankfully, with online resources, chocolate milk, and a plan, I was able to organize thousands of images over the course of 2 weeks (organizing images for about an hour each day) and find the images that were originally "lost". Phew, case closed. 
Now, how does all of this relate to you and your awesome self? Here's how. You probably have an Iphone or something similar full of images. You may even have a laptop with images, a Facebook page with images, and an ancient Myspace page with even more images, Instagram, and so on and so forth... 
Where do you even start? It can be an overwhelming process to begin organizing digital photos if this is the very first time you've ever done so. Remember those two weeks I spent an hour a day organizing? It really wasn't so bad after I broke it up into smaller bits. Lucky for you, you probably don't need to take such drastic measures, and I highly doubt you'll be spitting out your own cereal milk. 
Here's what you can do! 

#1 - Actually print your photos. 
Let me elaborate. Back 15 or so years ago, there was this thing called printing your photos. What that meant was that the photograph a photographer created of you would actually be teleported magically into your hand so that it could exist in real life vs. only in a camera or computer. Somehow, this high end technology of print has been lost over the years, but I'm an advocate to pursue the resurrection of print photography here in 2017. Can I get an amen! 

Phones get lost, Hard drives crash, and online storage sites can fail. Statistics show that 53% of people haven't printed photos in over 12 months. 70% don't have actual photo albums. 43% don't print photos at all. 

To this day, one of my most prized possessions is a photo album I've had since middle school which reminds me of my friends and adventures during middle and high school. **Unfortunately it also reminds me of my braces and my "awkward stage"... Ya win some, ya loose some...  But, no one can take that album's joy away! If those photos had never been printed there's absolutely no way my ping pong brain could remember all of those people and all of those happy times! 

Just make a big fat collection of your photographs in a folder and print the most important ones. Add them into an album for safekeeping. You'll be so glad you did, even if it takes you years to fully cherish that album. 

When you hire a professional photographer, allow them to help you choose wall art or albums that are just as high quality as their imagery. Choose to archive your photos in an heirloom quality album or print that is able to be passed down to generations. Slip-in photo albums are fun and all, but over time they weaken and cheaply printed photos will fade making it harder to pass down for years to come. 

#2 - Get a Dropbox account. 
Super de duper easy. Once you have a dropbox account (I recommend the paid version to have like a bajillion bites of storage), you can begin creating folders there to organize your images. I personally create folders for years. Then subfolders for category. I.e.
2017 > Family > Sister's Birthday Trip to The Bahamas 

Dropbox has been a big lifesaver for me. Now, anytime I have a big family event where special photos were taken whether on my Iphone or fancy cam, I can just pop em' in my dropbox and send a link over to other family members to share the album. It's really that simple. Assuming my Dropbox never crashes or I never accidentally delete anything, those photos are about as safe as a baby in a bed of feathers. 

Just spend some time creating folders and organizing what you do have.  From here, now that you have a safe structure, you can pop in new photos anytime something special happens.

#3. Delete outtakes.
Sneezing portrait? Nope. Wind blew up the skirt? Nope. Bad side? Nope. Go ahead and delete the outtakes you KNOW aint gonna see the light of day. It will free up space, time, and energy, and overall just make the world a better place. Together, we can make a difference. Que Captain Planet theme song. 

#4. Name your files.
Now we're getting fancy. If possible, take the time to name your files. I.e. Jonsbigpimple.jpg -- Later, it will REALLY help you save time while searching for that special moment or blackmail moment in my case. 

#5. Consider a backup hard drive.
If you're REALLY serious about your photos never being lost, consider also storing the images on a hard drive. If the unthinkable happens and your home floods or catches on fire, it may be easier to grab an album or hard drive on the way out of the door rather than an entire computer. 

Another idea for your Instagram photo archival is Chatbooks! I haven't personally used the site, but have heard great things. 

Comment and let me know if you have other favorite photo storage ideas! If you enjoyed this post, I give you permission to eat a dessert tonight without shame. Go on with your bad self! 

-- Fantasia

P.s. The photos below are our personal archival system at Little Miss Creative. When clients purchase a digital collection and crystal etched usb this lovely gem is mailed out for safe keeping. 

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