This past week I received a message from a past bride that made my stomach drop. A few years ago, I was just getting into wedding photography, and I second shot a wedding under another photographer. As a second photographer, my role was to show up on the wedding day, take direction from the main photographer and hand over my memory cards at the end of the wedding. I had a great time, connected with the bride and groom, and fell in love with photographing weddings. The bride enjoyed working with me so much that a year later, she reached out to me to have her photograph her family portraits.
Last week this bride sent me a Facebook message that read, “Hey girl! I got a new phone, and I didn’t save any of my wedding photos from my old phone. Could you send me the gallery link so I could get them back?”
My heart dropped. I could not believe that years after her wedding, this bride hadn’t saved her photos anywhere other than her cell phone!! Because I was the second photographer for her wedding and had handed over the memory cards at the end of the night to the main photographer, I politely told her she should reach out to that photographer and see if she still had the images. Luckily the photographer still had the digital files from her wedding and was able to upload & send them to her.
What if this wasn’t the case? What if the photographer didn’t have her digital images backed up? I can’t imagine a bride losing all of her wedding portraits just because she didn’t think to save them somewhere other than her cell phone. Below are a few things you can do to make sure you never find yourself in this situation. Your photos are precious; make sure you take care of them!!
For Images Taken By a Professional
If you’ve had your images taken by a professional (wedding photos, engagement photos, family portraits, etc.), take a look at the contract you signed with your photographer. Somewhere in the contract, it should outline the terms of who is responsible for the digital files after they have been delivered to you. Most photographers (myself included) will not back up your files indefinitely. My contracts state that online galleries will expire in one year (for weddings) and one month (for portrait sessions). My contracts also say, “The COMPANY is not liable for the loss of images beyond the final image gallery expiration.”. In simple terms, this means that as one of my clients, you are responsible for your digital files after your online gallery expires. Once you know who is responsible for your images, you can take the following steps to keep them safe!
Flash Drives/USB’s/External Hard drives
Once you receive your online gallery, you should immediately download your files. My clients have the option to download their images in two formats;
-High Resolution (Full Size) – To be used for printing
-Web Size (Reduced Size) – To be used for downloading to your phone, sharing to social media
Once you have downloaded your files to your laptop or desktop, you should save them to some type of external memory storage. Save your digital files to a flash drive, external hard drive, or USB. Basically you should save them somewhere other than your desktop/laptop. What if your desktop crashed and you lost all of your images? How devastating!!
After you’ve saved your digital files to someplace other than your desktop, you should back them up to the cloud!! External hard drives, USBs and Flash Drives, can all become corrupted. This means there’s a chance that you could lose your digital files. Backing your images up to some type of cloud storage and saving them to an external source offers you the most security that your images will stay safe.
All of my clients have the opportunity to keep their galleries online and their images safe by purchasing an online back-up through their gallery store. This year-round online backup allows them to access, download, share and print their images.
Saving your images by both methods described above is the safest way to keep them safe & online!!
Print Your Portraits
Your images were meant to be printed!! Don’t let them live forever on a digital screen. Printing your images is also a great way to make sure they stay safe!!