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If your house were on fire...

"If your house were on fire, what would you grab on the way out?"

I suspect the first thing that comes to many people's minds are their irreplaceable photo albums.


But consider this - if you digitize your old photos* and store them along with their more recent digital counterparts and then upload them to Flickr, SmugMug, Shutterfly, SnapFish, or GooglePhotos, you need not worry about losing the images and the memories they evoke.

Instead of rescuing your photo albums from your burning house, you could grab your kids, your pets, or even your spouse.

It's a thought.

* Since I was almost 50 years old before digital photography became an affordable norm, I have a lot of digitizing to do - of photos, of 8mm movies, and of 35mm slides. This is why I have to live a few years into retirement since I don't see getting much scanning and converting done while I am working.

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Reader Comments (4)

I've always heard that printed photos will probably last longer than digital media and there's always the problem of WHERE to store them. You know, where it won't cost a bundle and with an organization that will be around forever.

I guess I should look into it. Up until recently, though, most of the scanned photos I've seen don't look as good as the originals. I'm sure that technology has improved so I guess I need to figure out the best way to do all this. Someday...

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJim Randolph

Some of my printed photos (and a lot of my slides) are fading. Not sure where anything is 100% but so long as I pay my SmugMug subscription, I am thinking the pictures will last long enough to be a pain for my children to deal with after I shuffle off this mortal coil.


November 3, 2014 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Hi Doug,

Sadly, my home burned down on Christmas Eve, 1998. I lost many childhood photos and all videos of myself as a child.

I'm now an IT Coordinator at an international school and a published photographer, so as you may imagine, I'm quite adamant about backups. I've used Smugmug since 2005, but I would also recommend storing a physical drive off site and perhaps even consider something like Crashplan. I have been with them for 2 years and have already paid 4 years in advance so I don't have to worry about it.

I keep an on-site backup of all my work, an off-site backup at work and (partially because I live in Manila - prone to earthquakes, etc), another physical drive in the States. This is in addition to Drive/Dropbox/Crashplan. I never want my own family to experience the loss that I went through.

November 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon Hoover

Hi Brandon,

I am sorry for your loss. I know these things happen but they are never easy. Hope no one was physically hurt in the fire.

Great advice on keeping backups on a harddrive on an off-site location. Size of these drives now, they would easily go in a safe deposit box too.

Thanks for commenting,


November 6, 2014 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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