How To Keep Digital Photos Safe

How To Keep Digital Photos Safe

I see a lot of advice on how to store digital images on the Internet, and almost always it is wrong. ‘Back-up all of your photo onto CDs and there is no need to worry’, they say, but with almost guaranteed certainty, I can tell you this will lead to upset and lost photos.

The true key to storing all of your photos safely without the risk of losing them is having multiple backups. This means keeping them stored in multiple places, but what ‘places’? Below, I have listed the three best storage solutions for backing-up digital images.


Archival DVD

‘Hypocrite!’ may be your initial reaction after all I did just discredit CDs. Archival DVDs are, however, quite different to CDs. The main difference is that CDs store about 700MB of data while DVDs can store approximately 4 to 8GB, which is a massive amount more. The most important difference here though, and should not be mixed up with your regular DVD, is the ‘archival’ part; they are called Archival DVDs because they last far longer than regular DVDs (Verbatim claims they will last 100 years whereas standard DVDs last about 2-4 years). At Scan and Share, we use Verbatim Archival DVDs for sending the digital images back to our clients. I would recommend backing-up all of your photos to at least one archival DVD and to store the DVD(s) in a cool, dry and dark place, as these conditions prevent the disc from deteriorating.



They may not be the most long-lasting medium of storage, but they are easy to use and update when you are constantly adding to your photo collection. Hard drives usually break down within four years; so do not rely on them as a permanent place for storing photos. Instead use it to back-up recent photos. Backing-up photos to a new DVD every time you have some more photos would be way too time consuming. If you can afford to, look for a hard drive that comes with a built in back-up system, that way even if one crashes, you have the other with your precious memories stored safely.


Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is, in my opinion, the most effective method for backing-up digital photos.  Using a reputable cloud storage service such as Dropbox or Google Drive (see my overview of the top 5 services) is important for ensuring the security of your images. Having your photos backed-up online, or in the cloud, does not mean just anyone can see them. The services I have talked about above are private by default but folders and files can be changed so that they are shared with friends and family. Another great feature is that, so long as you have a decent Internet connection, you can view them anywhere around the world!


Backing-up photos is an inexpensive and necessary task that needs to be kept on top of. If you hadn’t started before reading this, now is the time to do it. Where possible, back-up your photos to all three types of storage and once this is done, if possible, leave them on your computer, just as an extra layer of security for your photos.