Where are all of your digital photos? Are some photos on Facebook, some on your computer and some on external hard drives? For most photo enthusiasts the strung-together “archive” gets messy and photos eventually get lost. I’ve had multiple friends who have dropped and broken hard drives that contained the only copy of certain images. I’ve known others who had a RAID system drive failure and because they didn’t follow the exact instructions on restoring the RAID, they lost everything on it.
Today I’m going to urge you to create a simple JPEG archive of your best photos. Yes, a JPEG archive ––I’ll explain why later. Even if you only shoot in RAW, convert your selects into a nice large JPEG image (i.e 14-17″ long side @ 300 dpi) You can then take this additional backup and upload it to Flickr. Since these are compressed images, the drastically reduced file size will ensure that the 1TB of space goes a long way. If you have 16 megapixel images that are 5MB each, the terabyte will allow you to hold over 200,000 images! Since the archive I’m recommending would only hold “selects” this should equate to many years of storage.
From this archive, you can still easily share photos with friends, family and the public. Also, since they are high resolution, you can print them directly from Flickr or download them and print them elsewhere. Having all of your best photos as high resolution JPEGs––and consolidated online––is a powerful way to organize your images.
Pro Note: Again, if you are a professional that shoots RAW, you should still maintain multiple backups of these files, along with any derivative TIFFs or PSDs, but that setup will be covered in a later post.
Why JPEG?? As a professional that shoots RAW myself, I used to scoff at the notion of using a JPEG for anything but web use. Then one day WHCC printers forced me to use a JPEG when printing a large poster for my apartment––I was terrified. What was the result? It printed beautifully! It was then I realized how powerful quality JPEGs can be, even for printing. The small file size of JPEGs makes an online archive feasible, and since the file type is ubiquitous, it allows a “one-size-fits-all” approach. So even if you archive your RAWs on a sophisticated RAID, I’d urge you to try an additional JPEG archive of selects. I think you’ll be surprised at how useful it can be.
An important thing to note about JPEGs is that they lose quality every time you modify them and then re-save them. So make sure the files you upload are either the files that came straight from your camera or that they’re 1st generation JPEGs processed directly from the RAW. Once you have them uploaded, you can re-download them, modify as you wish and then save the file with a different name (i.e “filename-v2.jpg”). You can then upload your new “v2″ files to your archive.
Enough talk already. Lets get started! Just click play on the screencast below and I’ll walk you through the basics of getting setup on Flickr! If you have any questions, please contact me here and I promise to reply.