Photography 101 - How safe are your digital files?

Photography 101 - How safe are your digital files?

Updated: Mar 3


We live in a digital age, where instant gratification is key.


No longer are we satisfied with a single moment captured and printed to be stored in a box that holds a childhood worth of memories. Ready to be pulled out and poured over by younger generations at family gatherings.

My sister and I in 1977 in front of Old Parliament House



Rather our memories are now sculpted or manipulated into perfection and stored on social media accounts, or in our phone, never to be seen again.


Digital cameras were first sold in 1990 with the storage capability of 1MB - but the technology landscape has changed every year in leaps and bounds. It's not uncommon now to be now using cameras with 40-50 times the size sensor of the first SLRs.


Do you remember Floppy Disks, or the first DVDs? Instead of kilobytes, we are now easily working in terabytes and think nothing of storing thousands of images just on our phone! Each year storage is becoming cheaper, and easier and we are consuming it at an astronomical rate.


Have a think about how quickly our storage options have changed over our lifetime - floppy disks, cd,s dvds, USBs and now USB3. We are assuming that the JPEGs that we have on our phone, or stored in the cloud will remain view-able, or even accessible in the future. Did you know that many phones are now capturing images in HEIC format rather than JPG? It could be that JPGs soon will go the same way as floppy disks or cds.


It's ironic that we store our files digitally to ensure that we don't lose them. Yet it seems that digital storage causes more problems than print ever did! Do you still have that box of prints from your childhood? I can almost guarantee that every single one of us though have lost digital images at one point or another.


As professional photographers we are incredibly vigilant about digital storage and backups, our clients though are not. How many times have you purchased digital files off a photographers, received the USB and then thrown it in a draw, only to pull it out 12 months later to find that it has corrupted? It happens more than you know!



"In comparison to technology, books have remained unchanged for years. The rapid rise of digital books is slowing — yes, they're continuing to grow, but at a slower and slower rate every year. Meanwhile, 86% of all book sale profits in the US last year were from hardcover or paperback editions. And it's Millennials that are popularising print: 63% of physical book sales are to people under the age of 44." www.pixellu.com




We love seeing our work in print, watching our clients treasure their photographs and honour their memories preserving them for generations to come. It often feels like a hard sell when encouraging our clients to purchase albums or to frame their prints (and I HATE a hard sell).


What if, however, we could change the way we think, and view printing as a method of preservation (wait what?!!!). What a great excuse to surround yourself with beautiful books full of your own memories and personalised artworks to be passed down for years to come.




Personal Project - Family Year Books


I thought that I would show you how I preserve my own family's memories (apart from storing them in cloud based storage).


Every year I create a dropbox folder that each of our kids - we have five children between us, with four of them living out of home - put their favourite images into from the previous twelve months. I then combine those iPhone photos with images that my husband and I have taken with our DSLRs and create a year book.



Come Christmas time we have enough books printed for each of the children, along with one for our own coffee table and for each of the grandparents.



I use InDesign to put them together and then use the Plug-In to upload the book directly to BLURB where I have them printed.



Everyone loves opening their books each Christmas and seeing what the other kids got up to during the previous year. My twelve year old son often grabs the books and settles onto the couch to pour over the books. We also created one from our European trip (the whole trip was captured on my iPhone), which has been taken to school on multiple occasions for "show and tell".



Our home is a museum of memories, with baby photos, school photos, and favourite memories displayed proudly on every surface (our cleaner HATEs us!).



Wait!! I don't know where to start


Hang on, I can hear you yelling at the computer "I am not a designer, or a professional photographer, where the heck do I start?!"


You have a couple of options...


  • Hire a professional photographer to capture your families growth from year to year

  • Utilise online software to design an album

  • Take your phone to your local chain store to print out your photos (we have found BigW to be the most accurate, Officeworks aren't bad either)

  • There are lots of online print studios - RGB Digital, AusInFocus, Momento, Artifact Uprising to name a few

  • Our personal favourite for quick, easy, gorgeous coffee table books is Blurb


If you still find it all a little overwhelming, we would love to help you!


Feel free to share the way you display your memories around your home with us - you can join our Facebook Community, comment below on this post or you could send us an email!


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