Thursday, April 18, 2013

Preserve You Memories  
“You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
  ~Ansel Adams

I’m a person who loves photography and videography. I have always derived a great deal of joy from documenting both special and everyday events. I have accumulated an enormous amount of photo and video information over the years. In order to enjoy these special memories, they must be easy to find and reference. I thought I would share the way that I   archive, back up, preserve and store my precious images. I hope it will assist you in organizing your own collections.

My first cardinal rule is that I never delete the photos or videos from the camera until I have them backed up in at least two places.

1.   On the appropriate labeled computer file

2.   On a DVD archival disc.

3.  On an additional multi - terabyte drive

4.  Where video is concerned I also burn a viewable home movie disc in addition to the computer back up and the archived raw data DVD. Well worth the extra step.

Once I have the data backed up ONLY THEN will I format my camera.


So where do you start?

Pick a drive on your computer to house your media files. Make sure the drive is large enough to accommodate the space needed for video and photo files. I recommend investing in an external drive for media if possible. 

Prices have recently dropped considerably making even a multi- terabyte drive, which stores  many thousands of gigabytes very affordable. I use an internal drive and back up to our external drive as well. I also burn an archival DVD housing the files

I have developed four Folders within my external media drive.

1.Video Archives
(videos are moved and live here after I back them up)

2.Video NEW 
( holding tank till backed up)

3.Photo Archive (photos are moved and live here after I back them up)

4.Photo New ( holding tank till backed up)

In the two folders marked VIDEO NEW and PHOTO NEW I place data that has NOT yet be archived by burning it on to a DVD. These images have NOT been erased from camera yet. (remember it should exist in two places before being deleted off the camera)

I use these folders as holding tanks and I like to get my data backed up in these folders (ASAP) as soon as the event or trip is over, just in case of a camera mishap, loss or damage.

The two key folders are always the VIDEO ARCHIVE and PHOTO ARCHIVE folders

In my archive folders I break down the photos/videos by year for easy reference.
I like to archive my information by date, I always have done it that way and it works for me.
It looks like this:

First (Label a Folder in your Drive ) 


Second Label (sub folder of photo archive by year) 


Third Label (sub folder of 2006) 

2006 1 New Years Day

Label (File of 2006 1 New Years Day)

 All image or video  files  pertains to 2006 1 new Years Day

(file of 2006 1 New Years Day)  

this file contains photo pertaining to 2006 1 new Years Day

EXAMPLE Of how the Directory will look


The number following the year indicates the month the photos were taken so
1-12 =Jan.-Dec It serves to keep the photos in date order within any given year.

       This system also works very well for old photos. As you scan your old photos they can be filed by year or even by decade depending on how many old photos you need to archive.

It is also a good idea to store your archived data discs or additional copies of them with a family member or friend in a different location. If the unthinkable happens and you experience a fire, flood or robbery you will still have your precious photos and videos secured for the future


  1. Thanks for the wonderful post and tips that we can all benefit from Debra :-)

  2. Great blog. I essentially do as you do except I have three external hard-drives and I try to back up all three every month or so. Two stay at friends and family homes in case of water or fire damage. It is a little more work, but I know I have 2 safely out of my house...

  3. Great Info, Thanks Deb! I haven't burned my photos to DVDs yet. Nice photo of the Sea Lions! San Simeon?

  4. I just lost my sweet kitty and am thinking of doing a photo book of all my pets... this was a good article to re-read...

  5. Thank you all. I'm so glad it was helpful.