Digital Archiving and Storage

You lost everything! You're on the verge of a breakdown?

What? The file is no longer there? Oups! I deleted it by mistake! I must be dreaming! Sufficient space! My God! A virus intrusion!

For any of these computer disasters looming over your photographic treasures, there is only one solution: “ARCHIVING and SAVING”. A good habit that will allow you to breathe easier, knowing that your precious pictures are protected from any modification or deletion.

Which medium is best?

DVD-disk (DVD)

With a storage capacity exceeding 4.7 GB, it is currently the most used medium. Since the 12-megapixel devices have been introduced, space needs have increased very rapidly and the conventional CDs have quickly been outpaced by the DVDs.

Double-layer DVD-disk (DVD)

By nearly doubling the storage space – 8.5 GB – the double-layer technology offers 12 megapixel DSLR users, a recording medium capable of supporting the number of pictures these advanced amateurs usually produce. However, recordings must be made at a speed lower than that of a conventional DVD for more reliable results.

External hard disk

Compact, portable, larger storage and faster reading capacity are some of the interesting features of external hard disks. These are ideal media for quickly searching and opening pictures.

There are two categories of external hard disks:

Ultra-compacts which are powered by a USB connection et have an average storage capacity of 250 GB to 1TB. They often used for transporting data from one workplace to another.

Standard cases will required an independent power source, but most of the time has a greater archiving capacity ranging from 500GB to 6 TB! It is strongly recommended to choose a high quality disk to avoid any defective recording sectors. The reliability of the product will spare you from psychiatric help and ulcers caused by a crash! Imagine 2 TB of lost pictures! Good Lord!!!

A last benefit provided by external hard disks

Of course, no one would want to see his home flooded or destroyed by fire. All your souvenirs or photographic work would be lost! A nightmare!

By carrying your external disks in a small case or bag, it will be possible to keep these in your car while no one is at home. A little over killing it, you say? What value do you place on your souvenirs or picture bank? Another solution would be keeping your external disks in a fireproof safety-deposit box. See an expert to ensure it will effectively protect data on a hard disk.

Home network

Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly common for households to set up small computer networks. This makes it possible to make a copy of several important files and export them to another computer on the network or to an external hard disk connected to the network on which you can keep a copy of your files.

It is possible to set up automatic daily document archiving. This way, your mind will be at ease, knowing that you have a back-up copy at all times!

And as a last resort, there is the network-attached storage, which is highly effective but also more expensive. It is usually found in workplaces that constantly exchange and write large amounts of data.

Synchronization with tablet

After taking a photo, you can also transfer a copy of your images to a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth tablet. The storage space will be limited but this is a practical way to keep a temporary back-up copy. You can quickly choose which images you want to keep with the tablet's viewer and then transfer them to your computer afterwards.

Hosting on an external server

One very secure solution would be to carry out a programmed copy of your data towards an external server. The storage costs of the data are not very expensive and this type of hosting ensures you that your data are secured in another physical place. Several image banks websites offer a basic free service and additional space for a variable rate between $35 and $75 annually.

Disk burning? Beware!

How many times your disk could not be read by others? All kinds of screen messages denying access to your data appeared on their screen. Well, the problem is surely related to the way your data is recorded.

Firstly, there are many recording languages on the market:

ISO 9660

This language is recognized by both PC and MAC platforms and this by a large majority of disk drives.


This language is typically PC. However, some disk drives, depending on the recording software used, have problems recognizing disks created with other CD burners.

Secondly, the writing speed used should be slower when we plan giving the disk to someone who will be using it on his own computer. Whatever the model and generation of the disk drive used, it will be surely be capable, at the very least, of reading a disk at a speed of 12x. For your temporary back-up disks, it is possible to burn disks at greater speeds for practical reasons such as opening pictures that need to be retouched. On the other hand, it is strongly recommended, when performing final archiving, to record at slower speeds for more reliable long-term data storage.

Suggested Method

You have just returned from a fabulous trip, an unforgettable gathering or the show of the century that you would not have missed for all the money in the world. What do you do with your pictures? What are you saying to yourself when you get home? I’ll transfer my pictures tomorrow...

The next morning, the alarm clock goes off and your youngest reminds you he has a soccer final and that you’re late. Quick! Oh! I forgot my camera. This is one event you must take pictures of. At the field, you format your memory card. By doing so, the deleted pictures are making space for the pictures you will be taking. Each new shot will overwrite an old picture on your memory card. Oh my God! The trip, the gathering, the show... Feeling guilty? Well, yes! You should have...

Let’s see in a few steps what can be done to make life easier and properly manage pictures.

A. Create a “temporary back-up” disk on which you will temporarily record your non-classified, non-retouched pictures.

B. Organize your picture bank by theme and topic.













By name











This way, it will be easier for you or anyone else to find pictures. Finding pictures will be a pleasure, not torture.

Note that there are also on the market archiving software that are easy to use and affordable. In addition, the latest processing and retouch software versions often have a search interface that allows users to classify their pictures by group, catalogue or priority.

C. Make desired corrections to your pictures, retouches, filter applications, montages, etc.

D. Make a final recording of these in the directory corresponding to the most relevant theme of subject.

E. You are now safe. However... it is recommended that each year, and on a rotational basis, you copy your oldest disks containing already archived data to a new disk in order to refresh the data. Why?

Firstly, the lifespan of most computing media being limited, these in time will become unreadable. Since hardware and software change, writing protocols and platforms currently used may not be recognized by the new hardware you will be acquiring.

Secondly, it is also important to update your recording software, to allow a progressive transition of the data transcription language.

A good archiving system will keep you from having nightmares or being exiled after having lost your photos from your vacation in France!

Go for it, and Happy Shooting!

Jacques Bourdages, pfe