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Keeping Your Photos Safe

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

Keep your photos safe

Most of us take photos for memories. Much like our mental memories the photos, we take to jar them in the future will not last forever. You or someone you may know has a box in the basement, attic, or garage full of old pictures. Much like those photos that are slowly degrading from heat, moisture, or just time. With the invention of digital cameras and now Cell phones with cameras you may think your photos will live on forever. But no, your digital photos are at risk from another form of degradation.

Not too far in the distant past, we had film that we had to get developed before we can actually see the pictures we took. Once we had all those memories in our hands, we had to decide where to put them or show them off. We would hang them on walls, put them in photo albums or just put them in shoe boxes and figure we will get around to going through them later on.

Unfortunately, tragedy does happen, with floods, fires, and other natural or man-made disasters that end up taking all those photos that in most cases can never be recreated. Keeping Your Photos Safe

Memory Cards

In the late ’80s, the first digital camera was invented and became readily available in the 90s. These new digital cameras used memory cards to store digital photos. Much like the growth of digital cameras the type and size of digital media to store the photos also increased. By the year 2000 people were now able to store hundreds of photos on memory cards, CDs, and USB Flash drives. But let's not forget that you could also store thousands of photos on your computer.


With the start of the 21st century, technology has been growing by leaps and bounds. One advancement that has changed all our lives and is responsible for the death of the digital camera. The cell phone not only changed everyone's life on how we communicate, but it is also the beginning of the end for digital cameras as we know them. We no longer need to have a phone and a camera, they have become one. My goal is not to go through the complete history and evolution of digital cameras but to point out yet another means of taking and storing photos.

Even though technology has come a long way, we can now store thousands of photos on a microSD card the size of your pinky fingernail or 10’s of thousands of digital photos on your cell phone. We still have the same problem as the film and negative photos, only it's not with the photos now it's with the digital "shoe box". The digital photo will live on forever, but what you store them on will not. Plus they are still susceptible to floods, fires, and natural or man-made disasters.

The roles have reversed now, the photos will live on forever but the means to store them now has an end date. Whether you store your photos on your phone, on your computer on a bunch of memory disks, or in the cloud they all have a limited life span because of the silicone chips they are stored on. Your digital pictures now have a life span of between 5 and 10 years.

You think to yourself, great after reading all this what have I learned? Well not much, other than pointing out a problem you already had and a little bit of history. Ok, let's give you some info you can use.

If are one of many people who have ditched the point-and-shoot camera and only have a cell phone for taking your pictures, like you and 6.6 billion other people in the world, I too have one and take pictures with it. So, how do you keep your photos safe on your cell phone? There are numerous ways and apps to backup your cell phone to your computer or into the cloud. To go through every option in doing this would become a book.


If you have either an iPhone or Android-based phone, they have a system of placing your photos in the cloud to " backup" your photos. This process of automatically storing your photos in the cloud can be a little deceiving because it's really a process of syncing rather than backing up. This means when you delete a photo from your phone it deletes from the cloud and it's gone forever. A true backup means your data is safe in multiple locations to be able to restore when needed. This can be achieved by backing up your cell phone to your computer and then you can backup your computer to an external device or cloud service. It is highly recommended that one of your backup destinations is to the cloud. That way if you have an unfortunate event like a fire or flood you don't lose all your backups.

If you are like me and still use a real camera, the process for your cell phone isn't too different. In my case as soon as I get to the office at the end of each day I dump my pictures onto a computer for processing. Then they are transferred to another computer for storage and a copy is then placed in Google Drive for storage and delivery to the client.

To sum all this up, have your photos on multiple devices in different locations, and be sure to have a routine to sync and backup over these devices. Once you have something that works for you, test it. There's nothing worse than, thinking you have a good backup only to find out you don't when you need it most.

Here are some great online backup services

Carbonite (Has a One-click setup and Unlimited backup space for an affordable price)

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