Monday, July 6, 2015

How safe are your pictures?

Edit July 28, 2015:  This is a great article and part of what inspired me to write this post.

Recently I had yet another friend lose years of pictures due to a technology failure. Even if you don't scrapbook, no one wants to lose their photos, images or home videos. How do you know what method is best and what choices do you have for long term storage? If you haven't already, be sure to read the article I shared on my Facebook page, them come back here for more info and discussion.

I think I have a good system. There are built in redundancies and for the most part, I keep up with the organization. Here's my method...

Stand Alone camera (also takes video)

After the event, images (and videos) are transferred to computer.
     PRO:  Now there are two copies of my pictures.
                Easier to share, print, organize, etc.
                Harder to physically lose than small SD card or even a camera.
                Ready to use for digital/online scrapbooking.
     CON:  Relies on my memory and actions.
                 Is only as safe and secure as my computer (vulnerable to failure, damage, theft, fire, etc.)

When I add new pictures to my computer, they are automatically backed up to a cloud.
     PRO:  One less thing to remember.
                Creates a third copy of my pictures.
                Accessible from any media device and/or Internet connection (with login).
                Site can be used for sharing, printing, organization, editing, etc.
     CON:  Some vulnerability to hacking (could be bigger concern for copyrights, children, etc).
                Takes time, especially for large photo events.
                Unable to access without Internet connection.
                I don't use this for videos.

At the end of the year, images are saved onto media device for storage. I've been using CD/DVDs. I need to switch and copy my old copies onto flash drives. On my computer I have the current year to date and last year's pictures.
     PRO:  Creates a fourth copy of my pictures.
                Can be stored "off site" or in a more protected environment (safe deposit box).
                Does not rely on Internet connection to view.
                Shareable, portable, can be used on other devices.
     CON: Can be damaged by media failure, damage, theft, fire, outdated technology, etc.
                Requires technology to view.
                Time lapse of up to one year. Ideally should be done monthly or after each major event.
                With this many copies, do you save everything? Raw picture data? Edited pictures??
                Storage device costs money.

I print in large batches (sales) and/or by event when I need them for scrapbooking. I used to wait until I was scrapbooking to print because it seemed like I was not using all the prints and/or printing enlargements more often than I was using the 4x6 prints, and reprinting the same event more than once if I wasn't organized. Now I'm swinging back to the getting them printed ASAP and reprint if necessary.
     PRO:  Another copy of my pictures.
                Requires no Internet connection, technology or electricity.
                Ready to add to scrapbook!
    CON:  Easily damaged by common events:  liquids, children, sunlight, as well as fire, etc.
                Prints cost money.
                More "stuff" to organize and keep track of, both the prints and what has already been printed.
Smart Phone camera (also takes video)
Automatically backed up to a cloud.
     PRO:  Creates a second copy of my pictures.
                Easy to share from phone or social media.
                Accessible from any media device and/or Internet connection (with login).
                Site can be used for organization, editing, etc.
                Least amount of time between first and second copy.
                Least amount of user action needed.
                Probably the fastest back-up and least vulnerable to loss method.
                Can be used for MMS limited videos.
     CON:  Not on my computer unless I download from the site or upload from camera.
                 Not accessible without technology.
                 Requires Wi-Fi (per my settings) for back-up.
                 Can drain battery time.
                 Can be hard to remember which pictures are where (multiple sites). I try to get everything to one site and use it primarily. I make file notes when pictures are taken on phone.
                 Most difficult to print (for me and my technologies).
                 Could be the most vulnerable to hacking.

Products I have used:

I have used this site for over ten years, I have over 500 albums with 23,000+ pictures stored. It would be inconvenient to switch for a random reason. I do need to check periodically to make sure the quality is still acceptable. They have frequent specials and coupons, plus almost every other feature I need. Snapfish has recently updated their site. I haven't had enough time using it to give an opinion on the changes but it appears you can have multiple projects going at the same time (reprints and enlargements, etc.).
  • Free, secure, unlimited online photo sharing and storage
  • automatically transfers images from computer with PictureMover 
  • upload from mobile phone or order from the app
  • easily share individual pictures or entire albums via email, link, group rooms or Facebook
  • multiple organization options:  date, album title, image caption, face tag, favorites, etc.
  • print options:  home, store pick-up (Walgreens, Wal-Mart), mail order from $0.09
  • on-line editor to rotate, crop, remove red-eye, color correct, fill flash, borders, etc.
  • print size options 
  • glossy or matte
  • video sharing and storage plans available
Contact me if you'd like my referral with a 40% off your order code!! 

Compare the prices; Studio J can be very cost effective for prints! I keep a reprint/enlargement project going at all times. 
  • Use "No Limits" design from custom layouts. Add photo wells in desired sizes.
  • Use "Photo Collections" from Express Collection for pre-designed reprint layouts.
  • Easy way to add single page or double layout to order.
  • no software to buy or download
  • Free to try and play; pay only for prints or JPEGs.
  • Free JPEG with print order.
  • create custom photo cards, invitations, thank yous, etc. 
  • mail order 12x12 sheets custom-printed to the highest quality and made to last a lifetime
  • editor includes brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, sharpness, airbrush, red eye, blemish, glare, toothbrush, wrinkle
  • great for odd sizes
  • matte 
UPDATE: Studio J has been discontinued. We are still in mourning...

This is my phone back up. I prefer the editor for copyrighting my pictures and it's easy to share to my Pinterest page. I have never used their printing services. 
  • automatic, secure backup for Windows, mobile and Facebook, hashtag
  • 10.0 GB free storage
  • 10.0 GB free bandwidth/month
  • private or public sharing; connect and follow friends
  • auto-share to Facebook and Twitter
  • share single photos or entire albums
  • Pinterest share
  • organize by album, sub-album, title, description, like
  • mail order prints from $0.15
  • on-line editor also includes text, resizing, focus, draw, individual editing components (eg sharpness) 
  • print size options
  • glossy or lustre
  • video storage and sharing 

Really great idea but I don't have enough phone pictures to print 100 each month. You can transfer from your computer to phone and use it that way, however.
  • receive prints of your phone pictures without any transfer
  • shows which pictures were previously ordered
  • mail order prints $2.99/month subscription includes shipping for 40-100 prints
  • 4.5"x 6.5" prints on thin paper 
  • glossy 
  • option to automatically ship extra copy to family 
  • cancel anytime
Contact me if you'd like a coupon code for a FREE GrooveBook!

How to select the best services:
  1. Make a list of the features that are important to you.
  2. Try multiple services at the same time using the same devices and same images.
  3. Compare the quality of prints first. Cheap and fast are irrelevant if the quality is poor.
  4. Consider features that are important to you. Do you use your phone more often than your camera? Do you take a lot of photos of growing children or only occasional holidays?
  5. Look at the history of the company. Is the price low because it's a start up? Will it be around in five years? 
  6. Are your favorite features free or do they require an extra fee?
I've seen some great science fair projects done to explore the options and possibilities. This is a fun way to get the kids involved, and maybe save yourself a little time too!


What do you think?
         Are there holes in my plan?
                What services have you used?
                          Which features are your favorite?
                                      Share your photo nightmare to help others.
                                                 What new technology has you excited?

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