Any keen photographer will tell you that sooner or later, your collection of photographs becomes so great that storage becomes an issue. Digital photography encourages productivity and it’s certainly easier to snap away without worrying about costs and how the shots will turn out. But many people worry about running out of memory and losing everything if the computer breaks – so what’s the best way to deal with it?
The first place you will save data is on your computer hard drive (called the C: drive). This fills up incredibly quickly even if you have a brand new computer with a lot of hard drive space as all your programs and documents will be saved here too. So you need a way to back this up and free up some space if necessary.
A key point is that accidents can always happen so you should have backups in two locations, minimum. No method is 100% foolproof.
1. External Hard drive
The first recommended way to back up your images is to use an external hard drive. These days you can buy huge drives for less than $100, and you can put your entire photograph collection on to here by copying the folder over. This means that you can also carry the images around with you if necessary and you can keep everything organized.
Whenever you copy data to a hard drive you should always make sure that the files have actually copied, by closing down the programs you are using, restarting the computer and checking the files are on the new drive. Sometimes it may look like everything has been copied when it hasn’t.
The con of a hard drive is that it can crash and fail like every other piece of technology although if you have taken care of the drive it’s unlikely. Also, if you get robbed, an external hard drive may be taken.
CDs are a cheap way to back up your files. Use DVDs, not CDs because they have are more capacity. Keep everything organized as you will soon build up quite a collection and have a good storage place for these disks so they don’t get scratched.
3. Flash Drives/USB Pens
Another super portable option is to copy your images onto a flash drive. These small pens are quite affordable and come in fairly large capacities these days (about 16GB) so will carry a good amount f images. You can take these everywhere with you and keep it out of the house should the worst happen and there is a fire or a robbery.
4. Internet Servers
A good option is to upload you images online so there is always a copy there for you to access. This can be your own server if you have one, or a site that holds images online such as Flickr. There are also companies that do online backups of your PC every night for a membership fee of about $10 per month upwards.