It's not really sufficient or wise to simply rely on one PC's hard drive either; many people have done so, and regretted it at a later stage when their computer has had a virus or other unforeseen malfunction.
On this page we are going to look at some possible solutions that will ensure, or at the very least, guard against, a total loss. We'll start off with:
One factor that will greatly affect your choice will be what type of camera you are using. There are some memory cards that are suitable for 'point & shoot' compact digital cameras, and there are others which may very well slow down your dslr to a degree.Memory cards come in storage capabilities of 4, 8, 16 and 32 GB (Gigabytes). Eight or sixteen GB is more than enough for most photographers in a day, that are non-professional.
Online Storage Solutions
There is also an Online Digital Photography Storage Solution that involves the simple downloading of software to your PC, which you can then schedule a back up of your files to their secure online server at regular intervals of your choice. It even encrypts your data so that no one else can possibly have access to it. The back-up is all done automatically, so each image you add to your PC/Mac will be stored safely in two places.
Their protection blurb is quite impressive, and likely to give peace of mind when considering the actual physical environment your data will be stored:
“..These world-class facilities are custom designed with raised floors, HVAC temperature control systems with separate cooling zones, and seismically braced racks. They offer the widest range of physical security features, including state-of-the-art smoke detection and fire suppression systems, motion sensors, and 24x7 secured access, as well as video camera surveillance and security breach alarms.”
Click on this link to use their service as an option that can be utilized for free photo storage with up to 5GB available, with all their services and protection included.
Laptops as a Storage Device & Editing Aid
If you are a photographer who is often on the move, or simply looking for another digital photography storage solution, then a laptop is a viable option and needn't cost a fortune.
Some mid to high end dslr's also have a blue-tooth capability which is very useful for instantly transferring shots taken in a studio or elsewhere, directly onto the laptop.
This allows for instant review and storage protection.
This, of course, also saves much time that would be otherwise used for manually transferring the images yourself. Not only this, but it's also an instant back-up should something go wrong with the memory card (using this method, you have two instant storage devices working at the same time).
It would be my advice to choose a laptop with sufficient RAM, in case you wish to also edit your photos on it at a later stage. Laptops need adequate RAM in order to handle digital images at a decent processing speed. Very Cheap Laptop Computers can show you how much RAM you need for successful digital photography storage and photo editing.
Many laptops these days also have a dedicated SD memory card port. I myself have found this very useful on my laptop, and it also saves on buying a separate card reader.
Hard Drives – Portable & Otherwise
A portable hard drive is also a possible digital photography storage solution that shouldn't be overlooked, and you should probably spend a little bit extra for quality as some have been known to 'wipe-out', although certainly not as frequently as CDRW discs.
There are some portable hard drives such as the Toshiba Canvio Portable Hard Drive that are very reasonably priced and will automatically back up your files when it detects new images or other data put on your PC (not all portable hard drives do this). This can save a lot of time if you're not keen on dragging and dropping every single new photo or file manually. It also fits in the palm of your hand and can be taken anywhere if needed.
If you're looking for a even more hardy and fail safe hard drive, then you probably can't go far wrong with the IoSafe Solo 1 TB Fireproof and Waterproof External Hard Drive with forensic data recovery, in the unlikely event of something going wrong. As the title suggests, it's essentially a 'digital safe'.
If you are planning on starting a photography business then it may just be the right choice. You can't get much safer than fire and flood proof, unless of course it's 'thermo global nuclear war' proof, in which case none of us will be needing it. If you're a photographer with a business or plan on starting one in the future, your images are/will be your most valuable asset, and it's well not to underestimate their safe-keeping.
CDRW – Burning Your Photos to a Disc
In one sentence: “I don't recommend these at all.” for digital photography storage. They are my last choice, as I have lost a fair few photos this way (it's in the hundreds). One specific instance was luckily only shots of the 'happy memories' variety, but was none the less extremely disappointing to say the least.
CDRW discs are notoriously fallible, and contrary to popular belief, can frequently get wiped or damaged. Even with high quality CDRW discs this can be the case. The original price doesn't seem to be a factor either. Imagine storing some great hard-won shots only to return months later to find them all gone!
At best, CDRW discs should only be used as one of a combination of digital photography storage solutions. Just don't rely on them is my advice.
Digital Photography Storage - To Store or Not to Store, That is the Question
In general, it's wise to keep back-up files of your digital photos on several different devices or methods as outlined above. Personally I use my laptop, a portable hard drive and the automatic online service outlined on this page.
This may seem excessive, but only so if you've never been the victim of losing a lot of shots. If you view each shot as an asset that can potentially be sold at a later date, then it becomes quite obvious that digital photography storage is something you should take care with.
Even if you don't plan to ever sell your shots, it is still a real sad moment when you lose them. 'Prevention is better than cure', as the saying goes. Two of the above choices would be the absolute bare minimum in my view... three would be close to ideal for digital photography storage though.
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