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Sunday, August 2, 2009

3 Fireproof Ways Of Protecting Your Family Photos

By: Greg Gillespie


It is probably one of our greatest fears of loss, to be standing amidst the burnt out remains of what used to the place where our family home once stood. The absolute devastation of not know where to start in putting the pieces all back together, personal keepsakes, important documents, your clothes, insurance papers, financial information and your photos all lost.

Devastating.

Okay so you are glad to be alive, to have gotten your family and pets out safely, you can be thankful to God for this, but this is a situation that you never thought you would find yourself in. Doesn't this just happen to other people?

Yes this does happen to other people, in the wake of the recent tragic Australian bus fires that swept through Victoria and at a pace so ferocious that caused the destruction of over 700 homes and claimed almost 200 lives. It is something that is happening more and more as our planet's temperature continues to rise.

Listening to some of the survivors stories, you hear over and over again how many of them lost their treasured family memories, that were taken away in the flash of the flames. Pictures of ancestors from past generations, those dear sweet photos of the grand children and the precious moments when your own children were young, your own wedding day - all gone.

One thing that stood out as a major contributing factor in the high numbers of lives lost in these fires was the speed at which properties and people were caught by the flames rapid onset. Being able to get everyone out including the last dash back to the house to get the photos albums was not a privilege afford by many, in fact some reports indicate that this one act may have contributed to the loss of some peoples lives.

Tragic.

So How Do We Get Better Prepared For Such Events?

3 Ways to Protect Your Family Treasures

Method One - Back Up Your Photos To CD or DVD

The first way to ensure that your family photos are safe in the event of a fire or hurricane, or tornado is to have them backed up and stored off site.

You can have your photos scanned on to your home computer if they are original prints, then saved to a CD or DVD and stored with a relative.

This method is fairly inexpensive to do but the downside is you need to be vigilant in remembering to do the scan or save to your computer from your digital camera and then on to the removable media CD or DVD for storage.

This method is the most time consuming.

The Second Way Photo Backup the Free Method

The second method is to use a free photo sharing service such as Flickr or Picasaweb to store your photos online. The advantage with using such a service you can get into the habit of uploading all your photos to online web albums that you can easily with friends and relatives.

Your friends are able to download your photos and have prints made for themselves, which in itself is another level of extra insurance that your photos are going to survive come what may.

The only downside to the free method of online photo backup is that you can never be sure that your photos will not be removed or lost from their servers. In fact many stories can be found of people who have used free photo back up or sharing sites as their only source of their photos, and had all their memories swiped.

Some of us may be familiar with the process here, when we are uploading our photos from our cameras memory we are asked if we want to delete the originals or keep them. Don't know about you but I always click to delete. Now this method is okay if you them stored on your home computer as well as your photo sharing back up website service but some people for want of space saving have deleted their home copies.

Another problem associated with most things free on the web these days is advertising. If you don't want your photos sharing their web space along side of annoying advertising then you may need to consider my suggestion of the third way of ensuring your photos survive.

The last and perhaps the most prevalent and offensive an issue you will no doubt come up against on the free photo sharing sites is the presence of pornographic images and advertisements that people upload. In fact when doing my research for this article I was confronted by an overwhelming amount of sexually explicit materials both video and still images, that left my stomach churning with disgust.

As they say, like all things in life, "you get what you pay for" and in this case not paying you get more than you bargained for. And it stands to reason that these free sites just don't have the staff or resource to ensure the porn is kept out as they only make money from their ads.

The Third Way To Safe Back Up Photos - Paid Photo Storage

It may come as no surprise that the third way to achieve safe, secure and guaranteed backup of your treasured family photos is to use a photo storage website that charges a small fee, of around $40 per year is the same as about .10c a day. Not bad insurance for your life most treasured memories.

All the advantages of online easy to upload storage that in some cases is unlimited, as the free websites usually limit your photos storage amounts so you eventually run out, but not on the paid service websites, it is usually all you upload you can store.

Of course there are no annoying advertisements, the pornography is strictly excluded by the vigilant staff, so you can rest assured that the photos of your daughters 5 birthday party you send to your aunt in Sassquandicha are not going to be presented alongside an ad for an adult xxxx rated website.

There are many of the paid services to choose from but from my research the very best at this point in time would have to be Smug Mug. They have the best and easiest to use service I have found. They even come with a free 14 day trial that allows you to upload a few photos to test them out and see if they are as good as they claim to be.

I don't' know about you but if you are anything like me you are pretty tired of paying for things on the Internet that don't work out. I know I am so the fact of being able to safely test the service before I pay, is paramount to me trying anything these days.

Free Trial and No Credit Card Required

Another good thing with the free trial is you don't need to give any credit card details, just sign up and upload your photos.

So if safe, secure photo back up Is what will help you sleep better at night is what you are after then I can thoroughly recommend you check out the paid online photo sites for total peace of mind.

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