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Storing Digital Images

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Keeping Memories for Generations to Come

Digital cameras are fantastic! Not only can you take many images of family and friends at a reasonable cost, you can save them for generations to come. [an error occurred while processing this directive]

One of the concerns about families switching to digital photos is the question if they will be there for later generations to enjoy. One of the concerns is that the format that images have been saved will not be able to be read in the future. Will CD players be replaced just like 5 1/4" floppies? The answer is probably yes. To solve this problem it will take some action on your part but I am happy to report that you may be able to keep your images safer than traditional photos.

Storing Digital Images
Don't even think of using a digital camera for your precious pictures without having a backing up option such as a CD-ROM writer or Zip drive. When you down load your images to your computer be sure to make two backup copies. Two? Yes! When I make CD-ROMs of my images, I make two copies. I keep one in my photo album (find out more about this below), then I give the other CD to my mother for safe keeping. That way, if there ever was a fire at one of our homes, I would still have a copy. Also, chances are that both CD-ROMs wouldn't fail to read properly. This does require you to do extra work but in comparison to doing this with traditional photos, it is fairly simple. Just think of all the storage space you would ask someone to use with traditional photos, instead of the space that a small CD-ROM takes. Another option would be to keep a copy of your photos online at photo storage places but remember that companies can go out of business and servers aren't crash proof.

When the day comes that DVD writers are whatever replaces our current storage standard, you must take action. You can't put this off - change your format! Since there will not be announcement such as, "DVD have replaced CD-ROMs" you must pay attention and not delay.

Enjoying Photo Albums
I have switched almost exclusively to digital images but one of the things I miss the most is the ability to sit down in the living room with family and friends and enjoy going through photo albums. One option is to have your digital images professionally printed by companies such as Shutterfly or you can have them done at most photo developing stores. Another option to solve this problem is making a photo album of your digital images by printing thumb nails. Most programs that come with digital cameras have this option. To find out how, consult the help section of your program or down load a new program such as Ulead's Photo Explorer or Picasa (a free photo program from Google). Thumbnail photo albums are great! You can browse through many images on each sheet. If you put the file names it will make a handy reference book to locate images. The cost is reasonable because you fit many pictures on each page so the paper and ink expense isn't that much.

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Making A Digital Photo Album
Supplies Needed:
Printing Digital Images
Use your program to print thumb nails on the page. In one of my programs it gives me the option of how many thumb nails on each page. Ulead's Photo Explorer also gives you the option of how many photos to print on each page and whether or not to include file names. I selected three across by five down. The images are big enough to see and you can fit 15 images on each page. If you want to use the album as an index to what is in your storage, you can put more thumb nails on the page. I include file names for easy to access to the images on CD-ROMs.
Storing Digital Printouts
Before you put your printed pages into your sheet protectors, be sure to allow enough drying time. I put two pages in each sheet protector so that when you look through your photo album, you will see images on each side of the open notebook. These prints may not last forever and may begin to fade over the years, but if you put your CD-ROM in the notebook along with the photos, you will be able to reprint them. Also, the CD-ROM will be handy so you can change file storage in the future.
Archival Digital Printouts
You can get archival quality prints of your digital images that will last virtually forever. You need to do your homework though to find out if the prints you are getting are archival quality. Archival quality is more expensive but if you want your pictures to last, you need to get archival quality.

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