These days there are a number of ways to insure your photo images are archived safety, for future generations.
Just about every photo album is labeled Photo Safe, Archival, or Acid Free, at this point. However, sometimes albums from the gift industry are not, so if it’s not labeled, don’t buy it. In a photo safe album, your photos will last decades.
Photo CDs or DVDs are another an excellent way to archive your images. The CD/DVD material is very stable, with a predicted life span of over 50 years. Once your images are scanned, you have access to them any time through your computer. Pick the file size that makes sense for your application and away you go. There are also ‘Gold’ CDs that have an even longer life, so look for those as well. The main difference between using a CD and a DVD is that the DVD can hold a lot more, so DVDs will be required of you are saving a ton of images, or use a larger file size. Personally, I took my most precious 100 images and put them on a CD that lives in a safe deposit box.
Just about every computer manufacturer has aligned itself with a ‘cloud’ company. This digital depository can be used for everything from your documents to your photos. While this can be an easy solution for storing large amounts of stuff, there are generally costs involved with renting this storage space. The upside is you can access it from any computer anywhere, and you don’t have to worry about your computer or hard drives crashing because the cloud company will have backups of their own.
With prices of portable transfer devices (USB drives, memory sticks, jump drives), dropping lower and lower these are also very popular choices. While I do have the cloud, my preferred backup option is an external hard drive. I purchased a small, wallet sized, terabyte unit for $100. All my photos and docs automatically go to this unit.
A word of warning, many of us have stacks of videotapes we’ve taken of special moments with our children, vacations, and other special events. Keep in mind that all videotape types and formats have a very short life, only 10 to 15 years. Those tapes can be converted to DVDs for safekeeping. Even the old Super 8 and Regular 8 movies can be transferred. Don’t delay the clock is running out!