The number one reason for taking photos is to preserve memories, but if you think that you you’ve achieved that once you snapped the shot with your digital camera, then you’re greatly mistaken.
 
Some common misconceptions are;

My photos are safe because I’ve…..
 

Saved them to my computer hard drive.
  1. When thieves enter your home they steal your computer not your photo albums.
  2. Hard disk drives have a limited life and some can fail within 5 years
  3. Today’s computers are only designed for a life of 5 years and even less in a corporate environment. How can you guarantee that you will successfully transfer all the images between the 5 computers you will own before your baby turns 21.
Saved them to CD and made multiple copies
  1. The coatings on today’s CD’s start to break down after as little as 2 years and either part or all of the data could become corrupted.
  2. Archival quality CD’s are rated for 20 years, but cost $5 - $10. In the past 20 years storage media standards have changed 4 times. How certain are you that you’ll be able to read your archival CD in 20 years.
I’ve printed them all on my home printer and put them in an album.
  1. Although huge advancements have been made in inkjet technology in the last 3 years, most photos printed with the average home printed on so called “photo paper”, will not last more than 5 years even when kept away from light in a photo album.
How can you guarantee that the classic shot of your baby will be around for their 21st or even their 50th birthdays? The only sure way is to print it onto real photographic paper that will last up to 150 years depending on how it is stored.

If you’re keen to preserve the digital images as well, the best way to make sure is to create a structured method of storing them. Have a clear way of naming and storing your images so that it’s easy to check that they’res all there and easy to access. Make multiple copies and check these copies every couple of years. Move the files onto new media, but always keep multiple backups. For a more detailed discussion of this read our article on Storing Digital Pictures

So what else? …After securing your images for posterity, have some fun!
 

  • Email the best ones to your friends. Windows XP has a great feature that not only resizes your images but also attaches them to an email for you.
     
  • Use your favourite image for a canvas print. It will last a lifetime and will be your own personal work of art.
     
  • Impress your friends by printing your image onto a T-shirt, a coffee mug, a mouse mat or even by designing your own custom greeting cards.
     
  • Save your favourite image as wallpaper on your computer
     
  • Have fun with your digital camera ….we came up with 15 other great uses for a digital camera other than to preserve memories.
     
    For a library of helpful and informative article check out our index of digital photography articles