Originally Posted by kshapero
The article is spot on. It is a huge problem. When someone figures it out, let me know. Presently I live in a state of photo storage denial.
- At home, have at least three copies of digital images on three separate storage devices.
- Keep backups to those three devices current. This task can be automated or at least semi-automated.
- Rotate a fourth storage device between your home and another physical location. Some people use a relative's home; some use a safety deposit box.
- Or, keep a copy of your images on a remote server (a.k.a. in the Cloud). Use Amazon, Microsoft or any company that banks, credit unions, health services, etc. use.
- Make photo books and give them to friends and relatives.
I just bought a name brand 4 TB hard drive for under $100. So storage is inexpensive. However if your computer and, or storage hardware is old, the data transfer rate could be slow. I usually replace my back up hard drives every two to three years. I use the oldest dives for off-site storage. I don't use RAID technologies because a mistake on one drive could be mirrored on another.
Cloud storage and downloading for disaster recovery can be slow. Performance depends on internet connection speeds. Not everyone has access to fast internet service. A top-tier Cloud vendor keeps multiple copies of customer data around the globe. The claim that you could loose Cloud data if a company goes out of business does not apply to top-tier vendors. For instance, the US bank industry is highly regulated and all banks use Cloud data backup. If Amazon or Microsoft Cloud services go out of business overnight, the least of our worries will be our Cloud photographs.
I also backup up my Lightroom Catalog. This protects all the time I spent on post-production work. Another option is to use XMP files (side-car files) to store all post-production imaging parameters. This increases image storage space, but it means you don't have to back up the Catalog. Several non-Adobe image processing platforms support XMP files as well.
Digitize your negatives, transparencies and, or prints. This can be outsourced for a fee. Bulk automated digitization can be helpful in editing (select and sequence) a small percentage of keepers for high-quality scans.
Many people feel their images will soon disappear no matter what. In the future will decedents feel like wading through 2 TB of image files? Probably not. So, why bother with the cost and drudgery of backing them up? This is where hard copies of images you edit become relevant. Photo books with context are often valued by later generations –*especially if the people, date or locations are included. Relevance has an odd way of increasing after many decades pass. Of course printed materials are often lost, damaged or just thrown away.