Digital Filing

Endesa Chimney

Coal digger. -  Endesa, Galicia

For my first lesson I am going to give advise on the storage of digital files. Probably not something most people give any thought to. Its not like the old days of film. They were stored in acid free sleeves and kept away from humidity and light. Clearly today with our digital images its all different nothing to worry about.

This is a long way from reality. Some of it is obvious but not all of it. Lets start at the beginning. Many people use Lightroom to edit their images. I use it as a starting point. It is actually a filing system with the ability to adjust the images. So its really important to import ALL your images into Lightroom. That way you have them registered. Any files you decide to delete from your disk must be deleted through Lightroom. If you delete them outside Lightroom the filing system will have gaps. If you move a file for the same reason move it in Lightroom otherwise it will be lost and you will have a job finding it.

Ok now we have established a sensible accurate filing system we need to back it up. Thats pretty obvious to most people. We have all had the computer crash and we dont want to lose our files. To most people that is it. Job done. Well here is the bad news. My negatives will out last your digital files by a hundred years. Why you ask. Well your digital files are burnt onto a disk or stored on a hard drive. These drives are subject to decay by oxidation like anything else and have a limited life of about 15 years. Tape is a longer lasting system but expensive. So what can one do. Well Im lucky I take digital images the way I do film. Im very careful to only take images I know will be any good. So I dont take that many. I have them on my computer as well as on a cloud system. I also have them backed up on a small digital storage device  which is updated weekly. I replace the storage devices every 15 years or so, it is unfortunately the only solution with current technology. I bet they never told you that in the camera shop. So your digital images are actually much less robust than you thought and the chances of loss much greater than that of film.

I hope this will prompt people to make sure they back up there images on several devices as well as storage on the cloud.

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