My laptop was open and I was ready to upload some photos from my camera. Everything was just as before until I realized my external hard drive was empty--I could feel my heart in my mouth and could swear I felt like my room was spinning.
Everything was gone.
I attempted to find all my photos back and even hired multiple pro data recovery teams to look into my biggest nightmare (sorta exaggerating, but not really), but no luck. To this day, I have held onto this external hard drive in hopes that someone out there could pull out all my photos (so if you're out there please let me know. I've been waiting for you).
Since that day, I shifted the way I took care of my digital photos. Even more so, I realized how precious printing those digital photos is. To say that I have printed every photo that matters to me, would be a lie; however, this is still a learning experience for me and hope to get into a better habit of doing more often. But starting a steady workflow when storing your digital images is a great start...
As a photographer and lover of all things memories, I think it's important to share the way I now store my images and how I keep them organized.
So, whether you're a photographer, one of my past clients, or someone who just has all your photos all loaded up on your computer (or worse still on your camera), this is for you!
1. Formatting Your Memory Cards
Format your memory cards before using them each time you're about to start using a new memory card. I format my memory cards each time I'm about to leave to a shoot because I'm fearful of corrupting my cards and losing all my images.
2. Do Not Delete Your Photos of Your Camera
Some people believe that the files get corrupted; however, this isn't really the case. One of the main reasons that cause memory card corruption (which basically means that you can no longer see your photos) is when the photos are still being backed up or being written on the card and it gets shut off.
As far as not deleting your photos of your camera, I feel like when you delete photos off your camera you miss the opportunity to take that second look. The second look on a larger screen such as your computer, tablet, or whatever it may be allows you see the photo's potential. If you're really set on deleting all your photos from your memory card in-camera, you're better off taking the safer route and Formatting you memory card. But be very aware that formatting will delete ALL of your images of the card.
3. Upload Your Photos Onto an External Hard Drive (Or Two EHDs!)
Some of my personal favorite external hard drives that are work great and are pretty compact:
Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0
Seagate Expansion 8TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0
4. Cull Through the Photos and Delete the Unwanted Photos
This part takes the longest in my opinion. I have a hard time getting rid of photos, but a professional I have to have a keen eye for culling out the bad photos, seeing what is good and the marking the great ones. But when it's time to actually keep them, you'll have lesser than you started with and it will take less space.
5. Upload Your Photos Onto an Online Photo Storage Site
You're probably thinking, "But I already saved them to an external hard drive." And to that I'm going to say, "did you not read the beginning of this post?"
Okay, so this step might not be for everyone, but it's definitely useful and oh-my-gosh is it super stress-relieving knowing that if something were to happen to your external hard drive, you'd still be able to access your photos online on a photo storage site. Now, I don't save everything on online, but what I do save online are photos and files that are super duper important to me like client work and personal photos that mean the world. Think of it this way: Which photos will you be really sad to never see again? Put those online.
These are just of the most popular online photo/file storage sites out there:
6. Print Your Photos
I understand that this step takes time and extra money to do. Not only is it time consuming, but it can be tedious in finding the right photo lab to get them done. But there's just something amazing about having your photos printed and in your hands. *insert heart in your eyes*
7. Save Them In a Safe Place
Lastly, save your digital files and printed photos in a safe place. Whether they are in digital format or printed photographs, keep them safe. You can't recreate life moments in exact replica, so keep them safe.
So, there you have it! Easy steps on how to store and organize your digital images to make sure what happened to me, never happens to you!
Do you have any tips on how you keep your photos safe from everyday accidents, please let me know in the comments! I can use all the help I can get! :)
I am a...
Los Angeles native.