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Preserving Baby Pictures and Videos

Okay, so this is a pretty random topic for our blog, but I wanted to write this anyway. When I was in college, I got a virus on my computer. I took it to a random guy to fix it, and he wiped out my hard drive without backing it up first. My hard drive had EVERYTHING on it – pictures, papers, etc. My whole life was on that computer. I lost photos from the first year or two that my husband and I dated. We rarely made print copies – everything was digital. Now that I have a baby, it is even more important to me to preserve his pictures and videos.

So I am just writing this as a reminder to all of our readers to back up your photo and video files RIGHT NOW. My mother-in-law gave me a Flip Video Camera
for Christmas (a replacement for one that I had broken), and she also gave us FlipShare TV, which allows us to watch the videos on our TV. We’ve spent the last week watching the collection of 500 videos we have of Gavin. I would really be devastated if I lost those videos. And no, I haven’t backed them all up… yet. It’s on the to-do list.

I think one of the most important things you can do when preserving your photos and videos is preserve them in different mediums and in different locations. Download your pictures onto multiple computers and upload them to multiple websites. Save them on several different CDs or DVDs. And don’t forget to make paper copies.

Use the Internet

One of my favorite ways to preserve photos and videos is by uploading them to the internet. You know the question about “What would you grab if your house was on fire?” Everyone always answers their pictures (and their kids and pets, of course) because pictures are the one thing that can’t be replaced. If you upload your pictures and videos to the internet, there is no need to run back into a burning building to grab your pictures… they are all online and you can get them right back. How clever is that?

My favorite photo site is Shutterfly. I created a password protected share site for all of Gavin’s photos. From the share site, people I invite can look at all of the photos I upload of Gavin, they (or I) can order prints, and I can add other information to the site like a blog or video uploads, among much more. The best part about the Shutterfly share site is that you can download a picture from the website to your computer for free. So you can put the picture up there and then download it to a different computer. This has been really useful for me because I work from several different computers, and this would be especially useful if I were to lose all of my digital photos.

There are other good photo sharing and storage websites out there but some require a fee and some require you to purchase products. In addition to Shutterfly, some of the more popular and easy to use websites are Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, and PhotoBucket.

As for saving videos, YouTube is my favorite. Like Shutterfly, this is my favorite because you can upload videos, and then you can download them again if the need arises. You can also keep your videos private, which is nice. Many photo sharing/storage sites allow you to upload videos, as well, like the Shutterfly share site and Photobucket. Other popular video sites include Vimeo and Veoh. You can even upload videos (and photos) to Facebook. If you have a Flip , you can upload videos using their software, too.

One drawback to uploading photos and videos online is the time it takes to upload. I will usually upload a set and then just leave my computer running. I’ve tried to make it a habit of uploading photos to my Shutterfly site as soon as I download the pictures onto the computer. This way, it doesn’t become too overwhelming.

Of course, these companies could go out of business or they could lose your data. You shouldn’t only rely on the Internet to store your photos and videos for the long-term. However, I do feel it will save you from that moment of panic if, for example, your house catches on fire. Or your computer gets a virus.

Other Preservation Methods

In addition to uploading your photos and videos, you should make multiple copies using other storage devices. According to Preserve My Heritage, CDs and DVDs are acceptable devices for photo and video storage, and they may last up to 100 or 200 years, depending on the type, the quality, and the storage methods.

You can use a USB flash drive, an external hard drive, or an SD card for your storage, but there are some drawbacks to this. These smaller items can be easily lost or misplaced and they are also easy to delete on accident. They also become less sustainable when they are used frequently. The good thing about an external hard drive is that most can hold a lot of storage, which would be enough for high quality videos and photos.

Get Paper Copies of Photos

While a lot of photo sharing is done online now, actual prints of our pictures are pretty cool. Yes, you could lose them in a fire, but you have a digital back-up for that. Even if all the technology in the world failed, you could still have a paper copy of your photo. The other benefit is long term storage. In 100 years from now, all of the technology we use today might be obsolete, but if you properly preserved your paper photos, they will still be around. Just remember to label and date all of them!

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Published in Parenting