I would like to tell you a story, one that may sound familiar to some people who were married long before computers and digital technology became the norm. When my parents divorced, I ended up with their wedding images, or I should say, what’s left of them. They were married back in 1972 at St John’s Cathedral, one of the most beautiful places to have a wedding in Lafayette, and a place where I shoot several weddings every year. They were very young when they got married. My mom had that super long hippie hair, and my dad wore platforms and a oh my, what is going on with that shirt! Oh how I only wish I could go back in time and see this with my own eyes! My parents used to have more images of their wedding, but as what happens with most people, time took it’s toll on them. Some were lost, some were damaged in a fire, and some burned beyond saving. All they had of their physical memories were those prints in that album. And by the time they were handed down to me, only a tiny handful survived. I’ll never know the images that are gone. I’ve never seen them. I’ll never be able to remake the wedding album, or hand it down to my daughter.
I’ve met many mothers of brides who have had very similar experiences with their own wedding pictures, and they know they will never ever see them again. They are lost forever. Whether it was a fire or flood, or lost in a move… the outcome is the same, they are gone and they are never coming back. This is quite painful for anyone who has lived through this. We all say pictures are important, but you’ll never know just how important until your faced with the reality that you will never see them again. Life teaches us, that as time moves forward, our memories begin to fade, and when we leave this earth, the only memories we will have to leave behind to our kids, grand-kids and beyond, are those precious pictures.
So what if my parents would have had the technology we have today? Hopefully they would have properly archived their pictures and I would be sharing with you, right now, a lovely remake of their wedding album. Instead, I’m showing you this, a partially burned image from all that is left of their wedding.
The Importance of Archiving
You just got your proof book from me and inside the front cover is that disk you’ve been waiting so patiently for. So what’s the first thing you do with it? It’s easy to set it aside and move on with other things, but if you do that, you might risk loosing them forever. Disks will fail. Hard Drives will fail. Expect it, and prepare for it. Don’t let that disk sit somewhere gathering dust. It was never meant to be a storage device, only a transportation device to get the files from my computer to yours. So where do you begin?
1. Check your disk if you haven’t already for errors. As soon as you get your disk from your photographer, it’s always a good idea to inspect the images to make sure none were corrupted during the burning process. Once you know all your files are there, move on to the next step.
2. Drag those images into a folder on your computer. BAM! There’s your first backup, and this will be the master copy that you will use for the rest of your backups.
3. Make extra backups by copying those files to an external hard drive or a flash drive. You can get yourself this 16gb sandisk flash drive for around $15. That should be enough to hold your entire wedding, bridal and engagement photos, with some extra room for the honeymoon pics too! And it’s tiny enough to store almost anywhere. Now you have multiple backups, but you still need a backup off site, in case there is a fire or flood or some other unthinkable disaster. So how do you do that?
4. Get a cloud account and upload those files overnight. Try Mozy or Carbonite and just backup your entire computer while your at it. I’m sure you have many precious images on your computer besides your wedding files that I bet you don’t want to loose. So just back it all up.
And that’s it! It’s actually pretty easy. When it comes to my daughter’s photos, I never burn anything to disk. I’ve had so many fail me that I just don’t bother anymore. I have her files stored on a hard drive in my master computer, and copies on 2 external hard drives, as well as online backup. If one of my hard drives fails, I’ll still have copies on two others. If two hard drives fail, I’ll still have a surviving copy on the third one, and if all three fail, which seems highly unlikely unless I loose my house to a disaster, I’ll have my online backup. I don’t want to loose my family pictures. So I make sure to keep them archived.
We have an opportunity our parents and grandparents didn’t have. Cherish your prints, but archive your files.