You may have heard that recently the photo sharing web site, Flickr, accidentally deleted the account of a paid user, Mirco Wilhelm, who had uploaded more than 4,000 pictures to the site over the past 5 years. Tech Crunch If this strikes fear into your heart, well, that’s not a bad thing. Many people mistakenly believe that if they store their data on a website (a/k/a the Cloud), they are protected from losing it. But accidents do happen and just as your home computer can crash, web sites can crash as well so it’s always a good idea to have backups of really important data in several places.
I learned this years ago when the photosharing website I was using, Sony’s Image Station, went out of business. Sony was diligent and sent me frequent notifications about the closure, offering to transfer my digital photos and albums to another site, Shutterfly, free of charge. They warned me months in advance and even sent me coupons to use on Shutterfly. I agreed to the transfer and the process went off without a hitch. If I hadn’t gotten the notifications, let’s say because I had registered at the Sony site with an old email address I didn’t use anymore, or because Sony’s emails went to my spam filter, I would have lost all of my photos when Image Station closed.
So, what’s the best way to store your digital photos? Home computers can easily crash, online websites aren’t 100% secure, and external hard drives can get lost or damaged. The best way of keeping your photos safe is to store them in multiple places (I suggest using at least three): online, on a hard drive (either on your computer or external hard drive) and, if you have a camera that uses SD cards, on an SD card.
Saving your pictures on your SD card is the easiest way to store your photo files because the only thing you have to do is avoid deleting your photos after you upload them to your computer. Sure, your SD card will fill up (a 2GB card will hold about 1,000 pictures), but you can get a new card for about $10 and keep it handy. SD cards are small, lightweight and easy to store. You could tape your filled card to the inside of a photo album, store it in a family safe or put it somewhere else for safe keeping. Just make sure you label it clearly and remember where you stored it.
Storing your photos this way will also work if you have a cell phone with a camera that uses an SD card (though chances are the card is a micro SD or mini SD card). Just be sure to store only your pictures and no other data or apps on the card so that when the card is full you can store it some place safe.
As for Mr. Wilhelm, whose pictures were deleted by Flickr, I hope he was backing up his photos and that Flickr is somehow able to retrieve his pictures.
*Photo by Terry Johnston