Backing Up Your Prints


A Collection of Prints

CD’s Won’t Open,
Hard Drives Crash,
Flash Drives Get Corrupted.
Cloud based businesses close.
The only thing that works every time is…
A print.

The message varies slightly but it’s a message that is shared over and over again, week after week. Excluding the fact that it might be scare tactic marketing to sell prints, I can sometimes appreciate the intention of these tongue-in-cheek quotes. However in my humble opinion, the message is often too extreme and misleading.

A print is still one of the best ways to enjoy a photograph but lets not ignore the fact that as quickly as a hard drive will crash or a business will close, that print will suffer from light, water or fire damage.

And I want to reprint again and again.

I want to be able to create new prints of today’s images 25 years from now when technology is much better. I want to see it on paper, on canvas, on metals. I want the freedom that is not limited to that of a single print.

We should all enjoy, print and celebrate our work; but we should also be paying specific attention to the files in which a print is born from. The negative is everything and by ensuring that we all have a strong backup solution of our priceless files, there should be no need for print restoration services when we have all the tools necessary to maintain the files necessary for reprinting.

Would you rather a 25 year old print or a 25 year old digital file? It horrifies me that I have relatives who print from the memory card and once a print is in hand, proceeds to delete because they are making room for more.

When our ultimate clutter challenge comes to an end this month, we must ensure that we have a safe storage solution for the remaining image files.

Either it be prints or files — images are moments in time you can never have back. They simply can’t be replaced once lost and ensuring that you have a proper archival plan will ensure your life’s work will never be lost.

So the real question is: When was the last time you backed up your image files?

About the Author

I am a designer, artist and photographer living in PEI and the co-creator of the Photographer's Guide to Prince Edward Island. I have helped design this website and the many oopoomoo ebooks. Stop by and say hi on Facebook.


  1. Jane Chesebrough
    June 13, 2014

    good point.

  2. Celso Bressan
    June 14, 2014


    For those not accustomed to disaster prevention, backing up images is just another annoyance. As soon as the first accident happens, they run like dizzy cockroaches to salvage the ashes…

    Myself, I created my own backup system that does not rely on any specific software but uses regular and basic operating system tools in case technology evolves. This means that my backups can be moved from one system to another and can even be operated as a regular drive.

    It is incremental, that is, I can back up new things everyday without spending hours copying everything and I maintain two separate copies (drives) in case one fails. As soon as I back up, I disconnect the drives from the computer and store each copy in different places of the house (should be in different houses, but…).

    Funny thing, in my last backup I was in a rush for a long travel and I placed one of the drives in a place that I do not remember anymore… See? The most unexpected accidents happen!



    • Stephen DesRoches
      June 14, 2014

      There is a saying that no file truly exists until there is 3 copies of it. When you only have a single backup, you’re taking a risk every time a backup is in process and both are in use. A single power surge or software failure could take them both out. I like to keep a copy of my files unplugged at all times (and in a fireproof safe).

      Having a bootable backup is also very useful.

  3. Derek Belsham
    June 16, 2014

    I am new here if you search for 123 back up there a back up system designed for and b ay photographer 3 copies 2 separate non related devices is hard drive and a detached hard drive plugged in a separate wall plug and and 1 off site.For off site I recomend Carbinite carbine is designed to save your data an recover your dta. In Canada about $60 a year unlimited stage space.

    For the computer and Carbonite the backup software should be automatic. For Windowsrs i use “Second Copy” cheap and automatic so you don’t for get.
    1 As soon as I get home I upload my pictures from my camera
    2 the night second copy copies my pictures to a network storage device
    3.Every might my pictures are up loaded to the cloud I.i Carbonite.

    Finally no system is perfect but this is getting closer. My system works for all files not just pictures.


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