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Thread: Photo storage question

  1. #1
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    Photo storage question

    On our recent trip to TX, DH picked up eight boxes of family photos that his parents never dealt with. We have whittled it down to four but it becomes obvious that we need to store the rest in some way. We don't have complete faith in cloud storage since most of the photos will be scanned and then tossed. Internet research on products gives me a headache. Can anyone recommend a basic (under $100) external unit for storing all these images?

  2. #2
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I would like this answered as well.
    How are the little ones in TX doing?
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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    How are the little ones in TX doing?
    Thanks for asking. Toddler twins are an endless source of amusement and at the age where they can finally converse so there are fun conversations.

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    Do you have a scanner?
    Dvd burner?
    External hard drive?

    As long as you have a scanner, I would scan them to my pc, save to an external hard drive or several (USB stick, etc) and burn a dvd of them.

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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    pinkytoe, are you just looking for a way to store the scanned images locally?

    If so, then I would recommend a pair of external hard drives. Even "spinner" drives will be good enough. You don't need the speed of a solid-state drive.

    Use a format like JPEG or TIFF that has been around forever. Categorize the pictures in a way that makes sense to you: by date, location, family name, whatever. You might want to consider using software that lets you tag files ("Toe Family", "2021 Reunion", "Eenie", "Meenie", "Miney", "Mo", "Statesville" etc.) but make sure the tagging follows an accepted general format and isn't just internal to the application (like Adobe's Lightroom)

    Put the pictures on one drive and then sync or copy the one drive to the other. Take the second drive and put it somewhere safe -- to work (if that's not in your home), a safety deposit box at a bank, someone else's house (to avoid weather or fire from wiping out a backup stored on premises), etc. The important part is to not have the backup that near the original to help provide physical safety.

    And then I would periodically check both drives to make sure they still work and serve you pictures you choose at random. This also helps ensure that whatever connection the drive uses is still available to you. My first Macs had SCSI hard drives. Finding a current computer that reads SCSI without special hardware is a challenge. And then there are operating system constraints (no longer supports Thunderbolt 1, etc.). The simpler you can keep this, the better.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I just finished backups of my important photos. I don't trust the cloud either, possibly out of ignorance. I now have these on my laptop memory and desktop memory, plus a copy on a flash drive and an external SSD drive. I'm not sure how long the desktop will be in my life since I don't use it too often, but the larger screen is nice to view photos. I'm going to keep the SSD drive in my home and the flash drive in a safety deposit box. I have some fairly large file sizes and the whole collection takes up about 100 GB of memory, but JPEGs of 4x6 or so prints will not take up much memory. I can guess that either type of memory is subject to failure over time.

    I've had varied luck scanning prints, especially matte print paper finishes. If you go the scanner route it would probably be worth while to try a few samples to see that it meets your expectations. I sent slides out for professional scans. Depending on how many photos are in each box, scanning could be pretty time consuming. Might it be possible to digitize just the important ones and keep the rest in boxes? Many of my color family prints and slides have had significant fading depending on the medium. Digitized is a good way to stop the fade if you're noticing any color degradation and want to preserve the picture quality.

    I suspect the web might have more advice with a search, as it seems like it might be a common issue. I also have unscanned photos in traditional photo albums, but anymore any sort of photo browsing or review seems much easier than digging boxes out of the closet, but it is sort of nice to step out of the digital world back to analog days.
    Last edited by Rogar; 6-20-21 at 8:40pm.

  7. #7
    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    I store my photos in three different places, Google Photos, a 1TB portable drive on my home network and on my primary laptop.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

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    DH is an amateur photographer so he has a scanner made for photos and slides. Today he tried taking photos of some 100 year old prints with his phone and then cleaning up the images since scanning everything is very time consuming. The goal is to have no more than one box of actual prints from each side of the family. Everything else digital. As it is, we will need to spend quite a few more hours just deciding which are worth keeping in either mode. And then there is one box full of old home movies - ugh!

  9. #9
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    I don't trust anything.

    So I store my photos and important documents in several different cloud services, as well as keeping local copies, and using both an on-site and an external backup service.

    It is also important to consider what file formats you are saving your documents and photos in, and to do a little thinking about the longevity of software standards and programs to decode various data formats. I don't bother to save RAW format photo data for most things, as I suspect if I ever go back to that image 20 years from now, I'm not going to bet that anyone's software will nicely interpret the proprietary RAW format camera data.

  10. #10
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    I have already scanned *most* of our photos, but still have the digital organizing to do. I know it's going to take a lot of time, but I also know it will be fun looking at the photos again.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
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