Backing up photos in the digital age

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 14, 2015

Because photography is a daily part of my life, I often try to come up with the best process to ensure my best images last well into the coming years.

While purchasing external hard drives and burning images to disks may provide some level of longevity, they are not perfect.

The problem with these methods is that they are subject to failure. Hard drives, whether they internal, external or solid state, can and will fail at some point.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The same is true for DVDs and CDs; their dye degrades over time and creates an issue that prevents their drives from being able to extract the data.

So what is the real answer?

Recent news reports suggest printing your images. As any parent and grandparent knows, printed images do have a long life.

According to story printed by the Telegraph, Google’s vice president is calling for everyone to print their favorite photographs to prevent them from being lost forever, just like all of the knowledge lost during the fall of the Roman Empire that led to the Dark Ages.

While his prediction may seem a bit dramatic, he has a point. Digital data can be lost to hard drive failure, being mistakenly erased, and even advances in hardware and software.

Prior to my grandmother’s passing, she put extensive work into chronicling our family’s ancestry. All of her work was stored on floppy disks, which are pretty much obsolete at this point.

I was able to procure a copy of the data, but now that I don’t have a working computer with a floppy disk drive, accessing that data is becoming increasingly difficult.

So, by printing your favorite photographs, you can ensure that not only you, but future generations can enjoy them. For as long as photo paper survives at least.