Archiving Digital Images

archiving digital images

In today’s digital world, many people are archiving digital images on hard drives, CDs, and other electronic media. Unfortunately, this is not the wisest strategy to pursue! Most people don’t know that CDr and DVDr media can degrade over time and is sensitive to things like exposure to UV light, minor scratches, and obsolescence.

Hard drives can crash without warning. Some photographers use photo or cloud data storage companies, and while these are usually great options, what happens if one of these operations go out of business and takes your images with them?

One solution is to have a hard copy print made so that it can be scanned, even long after current storage technologies have gone the way of the 8-track tape. But, know that many home inkjet and dye-sublimation printers might not possess adequate archival properties. Some homemade prints start to deteriorate in as little as six months and are no good for archiving your images!

You also need to consider the costs of making your own prints. Not counting the initial cost of a printer, but factoring only the cost of ink and paper, even simple 4″x6″ prints made on many inkjet printers can cost as much as $ .50 ea or more, plus your time.  With economical professional printing and proper handling, your photographs will last for decades and help secure your personal and professional photo history.

Even with all the advances in this high-tech world, the best method for archiving your images is to make a photographic print on high-quality paper, either through the RA-4 print process or a certified archival inkjet printer. Prints like those made on our Fuji Professional Crystal Archive photo paper have been vigorously tested by the specialists at Wilhelm Imaging Research and produced impressive ratings in accelerated aging tests ranging from 60 – 100 years, depending on display and storage conditions.

Written by Fran Smith

For more information on arching your images, please see our article How to Backup Digital Photos