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Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 3:57 a.m.


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Carefully preserve digital photographs

By STACEY STEINBERG The Washington Post

This article was published February 15, 2017 at 1:43 a.m.

Do you like to gather around when family is together and look back through the old photo albums documenting childhood days? The corners of the books are frayed and the white pages have turned a shade between yellow and brown, but inside those pages exist the precious records of family life.

Our parents printed 4-by-6-inch pictures and secured them with a clear sheet of plastic in the hope that one day we would look back through the albums, remembering the stories contained deep within the images.

How to protect digital images in today's world, though? I'm a photographer, and admittedly I am a little obsessed with ensuring that my images will be relished now and into the future.

These simple tools offer me the confidence to know that if I'm looking for a photograph, I'll know where to find it.

• Showcase your memories. Digital photography offers us the wonderful ability to keep an electronic record of our memories, but it does little to showcase our beautiful collections. Print your images regularly and share the photographs with your children. I like to print my favorite images and have them professionally framed. I also like to create canvases to share with the grandparents.

• Make a photo album. While you might have albums in your iPhone, nothing compares to flipping through a book of family memories. Some families might enjoy printing images in the traditional manner and creating a photo album on their own. Others might want to take advantage of the convenience offered by photo-book creation websites. I use sites like MyPublisher and Blurb to help me create our family albums. I store my photos on SmugMug, and it has a special plug-in with both publishing websites. This makes photo-book creation a breeze. I transfer the pictures, and the programs fill in the pages in chronological order. This simple method ensures that I will find the time to print a photo book every year.

• Do a privacy checkup on your social-media accounts. Keeping your family memories secure isn't only about making sure you have easy access to your images. It's also important to make sure that your images don't end up in the wrong hands.

Parents can best protect their children's digital footprint by being aware of the risks that online sharing presents. On Facebook, I like to go through my privacy settings every few months and take stock of not only who can see my pictures but also the images I am tagged in by others. I delete older pictures from the sharing site that I no longer want online. I also post on Instagram, and I've chosen to set my account to private so that I can control who sees my images. Consider reviewing the privacy settings on your social-media accounts and adjust as necessary.

• Back up your iPhone. And back up that, too. Most of us would be crushed if we lost the precious memories tucked away in our electronic devices. It is quite simple to back up your phone to the computer. But consider investing in an additional layer of protection. I upload my images to SmugMug and sometimes even back up my images on Dropbox. I also use an external hard drive to store my favorite images.

By having a system in place for organizing, sharing and saving your digital images, you can ensure that your family's memories will be revisited for lifetimes to come.

Family on 02/15/2017

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