A little organization goes a long way when archiving your digital pictures.

Pattern: Understudy
Kit: Perfect Day

Back in the "old days," we stuffed our printed photographs in shoe boxes, with the negatives in envelopes at the back of the box, and then prayed our house wouldn't burn down or flood, thus losing our precious memories.

Today, with digital photography so widespread, you may not realize it, but we face the same concern—losing our precious photographs. Why? Computer hard drives crash, memory sticks go bad, we accidentally hit "delete," camera memory cards fill up (really?), and, yes, house fires melt hard drives. To protect your digital photographs, follow these recommendations.

Always have two (or more) copies of your digital photographs. This means copying your pictures onto your computer, a memory stick, an external hard drive, an offsite web storage, or a CD/DVD soon after taking the pictures. This gives you two copies of your pics in case one goes bad—one copy on your camera memory card and one on your storage device of choice.

Eventually you'll want to erase your camera memory card to make room for new pictures, so the best way to preserve your photos is to save them on at least two different storage devices, and then put one of those in a bank safety deposit box or give it to a neighbor or friend for safe-keeping.

Probably the best method for keeping important photos safe is to make three copies of your pictures, as follows:

  1. Originals. Save one copy on a storage device of your choice in a file folder designated for "originals" only. This file will act as your "negatives" that you don't ever overwrite. You could call this file folder "Digital Photo Originals" and then have sub-folders inside it by year.
  2. Editable copy. Save a second copy on your computer in a file folder designated as "My Photos." These photos can be edited and overwritten. You can have "topic" folders in your "My Photos" folder with the name and date of your events, such as "2010-01-16 Jed & Brooke Wedding" or "2009-07-13 Drew's Scout Camp." Naming your folders with the year, month, and day first will mean your folders will automtically be arranged in chronological order. For consolidation purposes, you may want to create year folders you put your topic folders inside. For example, My Photos > 2010 > 2010-01-16 Jed & Brooke Wedding, or My Photos > 2009 > 2009-07-13 Drew's Scout Camp.
  3. Offsite backup. Save a third copy of your photos in a storage device that's stored away from your house to protect them from fire, flood, or a thief-in-the-night (heaven forbid!).

Once you're done editing your photographs, you can easily upload them to Studio J®, where you can create gorgeous scrapbook layouts in a jiffy! You'll also want to save the JPG files of your layouts (available to Studio J members only) on a storage device away from your home for safe-keeping.

Decide today what your storage devices will be, create some file folders, and start copying—so you can then start scrapbooking in Studio J!