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“Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” Chapter 8

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This article is a pre-release chapter in Jeff Carlson’s upcoming “Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” scheduled for public release in August 2013. Apart from the introduction, these chapters are available only to TidBITS members; see “Streamed Advice for Managing Your Digital Photos” for details.


Back Up and Archive Your Photos

An old printed photo is precious because often it’s the only copy that exists. You may be able to make a new print from a negative, but in many cases the negative no longer exists. If the prints and negatives are accidentally thrown away or damaged, that particular image is gone.

In the digital age, that type of scarcity isn’t as much of a problem. You can easily make hundreds of digital copies of a photo, transmit it around the world with a click, or send the image file to a drugstore and have inexpensive prints made.

And yet, digital photos suffer from a different type of scarcity: no matter how easily they can be reproduced, bits are fragile in a way that paper or film isn’t. One hard drive failure can wipe out your photos—all of your photos—in an instant. It doesn’t matter how much time and effort you’ve put into rating and tagging your library, if the read/write head of a drive starts chopping into the physical surface of the disk (or worse), those photos are toast.

The rest of this 3,449-word article is currently restricted to paid TidBITS members. If you’d like to support our work and become a paid member, it's an easy process and we'll throw in some additional perks.

If you are a paid TidBITS member, you can read the rest of this article by logging into your account. Clicking My Account > Login at the left. Contact us if you have problems.

Check out the Take Control ebooks that expand on the topic in this article:

Manage your burgeoning digital photo collection with ease, using time-tested tips and a custom workflow developed by digital photography expert Jeff Carlson. You'll learn how best to import photos, judge them, apply keywords and other metadata, set up smart albums, and protect your irreplaceable images whether you use iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, or Photoshop Elements!

 

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