6 Do’s and Don’ts of Backing Up Photos

dos and donts of backing up photos

dos and donts of backing up photos

From a lost phone to a failed hard drive, there are so many ways to permanently lose photos. We have seen it happen before and it’s heartbreaking.

Amy Molloy lost a decade of photographs—including photos of her late husband—simply because she didn’t check if her backup from one hard drive to another was successful: “in the days before digital cameras and hard drives, if you lost a photograph, it was gone for ever,” she says. “As a member of Generation Y, I thought that I was immune to this worry, until two months ago when I accidentally deleted every digital photograph I had ever taken.”

The only thing she could do was ask her friends to send any pictures they had, but she admitted, “it wasn’t the loss of public events such as birthday parties and baby showers that hurt so greatly; it was the intimate, private moments that I was really mourning – the moments that seemed so magical and so unbelievable that I didn’t trust my memory of them.”
Click here to read the full story.

Thankfully, there are several preventative measures you can take to make sure this never happens to you. Backing up photos might seem like a lot of work, but if you follow these 6 do’s and don’ts of backing up photos, you will have a simple system setup so you never have to worry about losing your photos and memories.

Don’t: Count on just one storage place

Storing all your photos in one place is the easiest way to lose them in the blink of an eye. Your external hard drive could fail, pictures can be lost in a house fire, or your computer could be stolen full of precious memories. There are many storage places for photos, but it’s essential you store your photos in at least two places.

Do: Use an external hard drive

External hard drives are a great option for photo storage, especially if you have a large number of photos or high quality photos that take up a lot of space. There are many affordable external hard drives available on the market today.

While external hard drives are a very reliable storage place for your photos, they can fail. This failure can be due dropping the hard drive or simply overheating, but these possibilities emphasize not relying on just one storage place. Make sure you check that your external hard drive is working on a regular basis and if it travels with you frequently, don’t forget to buy a protective case.

Don’t: Use Facebook as photo storage

Not just Facebook, but most social media websites and even photo-printing websites downsize the clarity and size of your photos. It is often hard to detect on a computer or phone screen, but these websites digitally compress the images because they are not setup to store your photos.

If you lose your photos and happen to have a lot of them saved on Facebook, it is better than nothing, but that original print-worthy photo will be gone for good.

 

dos and donts backing up photos

Do: Consider an online cloud backup service

Online photo backup services are very reliable because the photos are being stored in a second location from the rest of your photos. This is a great second storage option if you have an external hard drive because if anything happens to your home or devices, you can rest assured your photos are safe in “the cloud”.

Depending on your device, you might consider Apple iCloud, which offers a lot of storage for a low monthly fee, or Google Photos, which is completely free for unlimited photo storage (with image resolution restrictions). Click here for a detailed list of online cloud backup services.

The best part about these cloud backup services is they all offer automatic backups, which leads us to our next point…

Don’t: Backup photos just once

It is very important that you periodically backup your photos or setup an automatic photo backup. You don’t want to lose any new photos as time goes on, and losing photos is always unpredictable. You never know when your hard drive will fail, when your computer will crash, or when you will lose your phone. You can either make a habit of backing up your photos or sign up for a cloud backup service that will take care of it for you.

 

Do: Digitize your photos

It’s extremely common to have boxes and bins full of printed photos because that used to be the only way to get your photos. While it’s great to have printed photographs to share, display, or create photo books or scrapbooks with, it’s easy to forget about those pictures and leave them in storage. Even if perfectly safe from harm, printed photographs do not last forever.

To protect and backup these photos properly, you will need to digitize them. This is a service we provide in Denver, Colorado, and this service can be found almost anywhere.

If you are interested in a photo scanning service or photo organization service, give us a call! The Life’s Sweet Team would love to help you or someone close to you save those memories before it’s too late.

4 Simple Steps to Collect and Preserve Family Stories

6 Simple Steps to Collect and Preserve Family Stories

6 Simple Steps to Collect and Preserve Family Stories

Family stories aren’t just entertaining or great conversation, but they should be shared and preserved to pass down for generations to come. It’s a great idea to interview family members—no matter their age—to later look back and reflect on important moments in their life at that time. This is especially important if you have a family member who is getting older, is not in good health, or who’s memories seem to be fading.

Below, we have 4 simple steps to not only collect these stories, but preserve them to share or look back on whenever you’d like. We’ve also included 100 questions you can ask your family members from kids to family in the military to get these stories started.

The most important thing we can tell you is don’t wait. Memories don’t last forever, but stories do! Here are 4 simple steps to collect and preserve your family stories.

1. Plan a family gathering

Set aside a special time, when people are relaxed and can gather around and really enjoy the stories. Many families like to do this after a family meal or just before bedtime. Ask children to be prepared to listen attentively.

If your family cannot get together in person, you can talk over Skype, FaceTime, or ask them questions over the phone. Because you are not in person, it might be easier to do this several times over the course of a few weeks or months.

 

2. Prepare your family

Tell family members in advance that you’ll be hosting a “story time” this year. Allow them to consider their favorite family memories and the stories they’d love to share. Invite them to collect special pictures and mementos that might spark conversation or that they would want to share.

 

3. Gather supplies

The most important supply you need is a video recorder or voice recorder. This will allow you to keep these memories for years to come. Make sure to test all equipment thoroughly before starting.

Gather together as many old family photos, albums, shoeboxes, and memorabilia that you can find. These will spark conversations as you ask about the people, places, and events.

Think about stories you would like to tell yourself. Consider stories you would like a family member to tell you again so you can have it recorded.

If you’re unsure how to get the conversation started, prepare questions in advance. Here are 100 questions you can ask family members of all ages and backgrounds.

 

4. Collect and save

Collect these stories, pictures and mementos, and make sure they are digital and safe on an external hard drive. We can digitize all these items for you.

Along with your favorite pictures and mementos, consider putting them together in one safe place. At Life’s Sweet, we create Family Legacy Books which is a collection of these items in a book that can be given as a gift or be passed down to future generations. We also create slideshows that can include all of these items, including your recorded interviews.

 

That’s it! Just 4 simple steps and you’ll have a wonderful collection of family stories that can be shared and passed down for generations. Contact Life’s Sweet today if you’re interested in us helping you with a Family Legacy Book, Slideshow, or Photo Scanning service.

 

Their Own Fairy Tale Book

6 Simple Steps to Organize ALL Your Photos


 

If we asked you where all your photos are, how many answers would you have? If it’s more than two or you can’t even count, this article is for you.

Chances are you have thought about organizing all your photos once or twice, or you don’t even want to think about it because just the thought is overwhelming. This goes without saying, but the more you wait, the harder it’s going to be later on. We hate to break it to you, but it’s time to organize all your photos. Here are 6 simple steps to organize all your photos in the most efficient, stress-free way, along with tips to keep your future photos organized as they come.
 

Step 1: Compile

From pictures in shoe boxes to thousands of pictures on your phone, put all of your photos together so you know what you’re working with. Here are some places to look:

  • Old/current cell phones
  • Computer
  • External hard drive
  • SD cards from digital cameras
  • Photo CDs
  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.)
  • Cloud storage (iCloud, Google Photos, Shutterfly, Dropbox, Flickr, etc.)
  • Tablets
  • Photo boxes
  • Undeveloped film

 

Step 2: Make a plan

With a plan in place from the beginning, your photo organization will run smoothly and be less stressful. Your plan should include:

  • A central photo hub: a photo hub is more important than you think. This will not only act as your storage place, but all those photos you’ll take and receive in the future will have a home that’s easily accessible. Without a photo hub, you’ll inevitably end up back at step #1 in just a few years.
  • A schedule for yourself: if you’re good at keeping yourself on task, no need to include this in your plan. But, if you have an abundance of photos, this step is helpful so you aren’t breaking off more than you can chew in one sitting. One night, you can look through your old phone. Next weekend, you can get through half of the box that has been collecting dust under your bed. Set your schedule and stick to it!
  • An organization system: you can organize them chronologically (our recommendation), by location, or by person. You can send duplicates to family or throw them away. You can even name your digital folders by event to easily find a specific photo in the future.

 

Step 3: Gather your tools

Depending on your plan, you might want to get a bin to organize your photos by the month and year they were taken (like this one),  a new hard drive to keep them all in one place, envelopes to send extras to family members, or a photo album to give to your kids.

 

organize your photos

Step 4: Start sorting

This step is the most time-consuming but the most fun. If you set a schedule for yourself in Step #2, sorting will be a bit less overwhelming. If possible, grab a few friends or family members to help and reminisce together. While you sort, make sure to label your containers and folders!

 

Step 5: Safeguard your memories

Now that you’re all organized, the most important step is to make sure your memories are safe. This can be done by scanning all of your photos (we can do this for you) to make them digital, uploading them to an external hard drive, and even uploading them to an online photo storage service. In case of an emergency, you can be sure your memories are safe.

We’ve encountered many instances where a customers’ photos, slides, or CDs were past the point of no return. These photo mediums do not last forever like digital files do. Don’t wait before it’s too late!

 

Step 6: Enjoy

This doesn’t just mean enjoy what you’ve accomplished, but now that you’ve looked through old memories, print some of those forgotten moments and put them on the walls. Create a photo book of one of your favorite vacations or milestones so you can relive them more often. You can even send copies to friends and family as a gift!

 

If this process doesn’t interest you or seems like too much work, Life’s Sweet will do it all for you! We organize photos, scan them to make sure they’re safe, and even make custom photo books so you can look through your photos effortlessly. We offer free 1-hour consultations. Give us a call today!

Love Letters from WW1

Barbara S. lives in Colorado and is a long-term customer of Life’s Sweet. She has done a series of books with us but one that she especially admired are these love letters. Here is an account of her experience in her own words.

“That day has come, the day I move my mother out of her home of 60 plus years to a retirement village where we can oversee her daily needs and care. My father had passed away several years ago and mother misses him as if it was just yesterday. Along with that comes the salvage and removal of all their belongings that have accumulated over the years. Memories….

As I enter her bedroom I come across the cedar chest that has been in the corner gathering dust and covered in old crocheted afghans. I was always curious as to what my mother hid in her little chest.

Imagine to my surprise and curiosity I came across an old newspaper package wrapped in an old ribbon. As I untied the ribbon, tears formed in my eyes, I was holding “letters of love” that my father had written to my mother while he was stationed overseas during WWI. Letters and postcards stamped with SOLDIERS MAIL. All professing his love for her, his day to day life, rations, snow, cold, so on and so on. He writes about the day he will return to her and they will build their life together. My mother kept all of these and more mementos from this era of time.

I needed to honor my parents and preserve their memories, our family legacy and share with our family, children and grandchildren.

Barbara S.”

Preserving Family Legacy

Transferring Your Old Home Movies Preserves Them

Video technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past few decades. Most recently the shift from renting movies from a brick and motor store like Blockbuster, to streaming them directly to your TV or mobile device wherever you are. Not only can you stream movies on your cellphones, you can shoot your own. Was it only 20 years ago that you needed a camcorder to shoot home videos? It’s amazing that almost all the technology we need today, fits in our pocket. But there is a downside to advancing technology; it changes so fast that things become obsolete before you know it. Those home movies of your babies you shot 20 years ago can’t be viewed on the same device you used to record their high school graduation. You have to own an “ancient” piece of equipment to watch those home movies, a VCR.

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Not many households own VCR’s anymore, just like hardly anyone owns a record player. There is a certain market for “vintage” VHS tapes for viewing authenticity.  So what happened to all of the home movies? Did people throw them away? If not, why do so few people own a VCR now? The answer is simple. With the advancing technology, companies created a way to preserve your memories captured on outdated devices. Many families have opted to convert their VHS home videos to DVDs. DVDs are far more durable than the older VHS. If one of your VHS had the tape pulled out or it deteriorated over time, your memories were lost forever. The DVD design is far superior to that of the VHS and it saves a lot of storage space.

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You may be reluctant to convert your VHS home videos to DVDs because of the cost. Surely, it is cheaper to keep an outdated VCR that can be replaced for a few dollars at your local thrift store rather than paying to convert the videos. But VHS to DVD conversion has come a long way since its first appearance, and because of that the prices have dropped drastically. So to answer your question, yes it would be cheaper to buy a $5 VCR from your local thrift store, but your VHS tapes will not last forever. It just takes one bad VCR to ruin a VHS tape and even if that doesn’t happen, time is cruel.

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You and your family will be so grateful for the preserved cherished memories later in life.  Spending a few dollars to convert VHS tapes to DVD, is nothing compared to losing the video of your wedding or child’s first steps.  Those memories are priceless.

Preserving Memories Through Photographs

Whether kinship to you means the family you were born into or the one you have chosen, true kinship never fails. And it needs to be preserved with photographs, because it is one of the only tangible pieces of kinship that we have. So it is important to exist in photographs for yourself and for your family.

There are photos on nearly every surface in our home. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door. Canvases, small prints, big prints. Framed pictures on my childhood piano and our fireplace mantle. A photo of my parents on their wedding day. Instant Polaroids taped to our refrigerator. Tiny details like the hands and feet and curly locks on new babies.

You know what I think about often? That one day my children will look for photographs of me and their dad, and us with them. What will they have? It’s easy to get in a cycle of not wanting your photo taken. But life is short — what happens when you’re gone? What will be left of the life and relationships you created?

“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” – John Lennon

My family loves me, and they want to see our life in photos as much as I do. I want to celebrate this beautiful existence we have built. This is why I take photos constantly, and why I hire photographers I believe in to create these photos that generations of our family will hold onto forever. Because a portrait is more than just a photograph. These photos are more meaningful than anything our family will ever own or vacation we will take or gifts we will buy. These photos, these tangible memories, are the only possible thing we could invest in that will go up in value the way they do.

We’re making sure we preserve these memories for our kids. What’s more important today, in this moment, than photographing your family and friends and existing in photos with them? Preserve kinship through photographs every chance you get.

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Why Do We Restore Old Photographs?

Photographs are a great way of recording what happens, they can capture a place, events in a place, or people’s lives. Photographs are something that people have used now for over 100 years to record, so they’re really useful when looking at how life has changed. People are more likely to look at the picture than they are to read and they can be so much more descriptive of a place or an event compared to just words.

select photographs carefully
Consider which photographs you want to keep, carefully

You don’t need 20 photos showing the same thing, so just keep the best ones unless they’re part of a series chronicling a time or event. The popularity of digital cameras means that there are a lot more photographs being taken. These days, almost everyone has a camera on their mobile phone, so just about any event is being photographed and documented by several people. In the past, it was difficult finding photographs of events but now there’s almost too much being produced and you’re swamped with information.

One problem with photographs when they’ve been used in displays or albums, is they’re often put onto paper or cardboard, which degrades at a different rate to the photograph. They’re also subject to different threats, they absorb moisture differently and are prone to insect damage. If photographs are damaged you don’t necessarily have to write them off. You can send off a hard copy to be restored professionally by Life’s Sweet if it’s a photograph that’s really important to you. We can clean the image digitally and preserve it for you indefinitely.

 

insect damage
Insect damage on the cardboard backing of an old photograph