So, you’ve bought some digital negatives from your photographer. What do you do with them? It’s essential that you take the effort to preserve them! You have some prints, you have perhaps an album or two from the day and you have the digital negatives. One idea behind the digital negative is that you can recreate an album or a print if needed in the future, say, when someone spills coffee on the album, or your kids think it might be fun to color on the pages… You might be tempted to think that the computer is a safe place to store these digital negatives, after all, it’s new and cool technology. It will take care of you! Well, read on to see some ideas to make things more secure than that.
Computers have a wonderful capability to help us organize and structure our lives, but they also have a dark downside; they fail and data disappears. If you load your files onto your computer you run an almost certain risk that at some point in the future the files will no longer be available to you. It’s almost comical the things that can go wrong in terms of long term preservation of your files:
- Hard drives fail
- You or someone else might accidentally delete a folder
- Software gets updated
- Power supplies fail
- Computers are replaced and files are forgotten
- Fire, floods, other disasters destroy
The list can go on. So, I’d like to offer my best recommendations for you as you attempt to hold on to those files. First and foremost, you need to make sure that there is a duplicate copy of the files somewhere away from the computer where you have them stored. Easy enough if you get the files on some kind of removable media like a DVD; just put it over at a friend’s house after you load it. But really you need a long term strategy and you need to check up on it from time to time. I recommend using one of the online backup services to keep your files safe. Check out the following list:
There are others. Some are free, some cost but give stronger protection or larger online storage options. If you think of this as a part of a larger overall data protection strategy for your whole computer you can secure all your digital life far better than just leaving it about on the one computer.
Digital negatives are a great investment, but it really pays to protect them.