Back up images to preserve memories

When Linda Dishong of Imler takes her holiday photos this year, she will capture the images on film to make sure she preserves her memories forever.

She doesn’t yet trust her treasured photos to anything but the old-fashioned way, relying on a roll of film to do the job.

“I like to have it on film because that way I know I have it there,” she said. “I don’t want to lose it.”

Losing photos should be a concern for anyone who wants to preserve them, even those photos that come from film, said local photo experts.

But the biggest concern right now about losing photos involves those taken with devices like digital cameras and phones, the experts said.

“I think we’re looking at a generation maybe of lost pictures,” said Mark Williams, owner of the Photo Factory at 205 Allegheny St. in Hollidaysburg. “We’re looking at a decades of lost memories.”

The problem is that many people take dozens, even hundreds, of photos these days with either digital cameras or cameras on their cellphones and store them without saving them in several places as backups, Williams said.

He recommends they back up their photos on CDs or DVDs, which they should place in a fire-resistant box, and that they also have an external hard drive as an extra backup.

They may even want to have a third backup off-site, for very important photos, he said.

Britt Baker, owner of the Film Center in the Pleasant Valley Shopping Center in Altoona, said like clockwork, he can count on someone coming into his store because they’ve inadvertently deleted photos from their digital camera.

“It happens on a daily basis,” he said. “They accidentally hit the erase button. It happens all the time, every day.”

Most of the time, Baker, Williams and their staff can retrieve the photos but not always, they said. It depends on the equipment and what the customer has done, they said.

It’s very important to keep up with technology in the rapidly changing field. Both Williams and Baker said they’ve encountered customers who still use computers that had outdated items, such as floppy disks that posed problems that they couldn’t solve.

“You have got to keep up with the technology,” Williams said.

He said he’s noticed in his business that fewer people are choosing photos for Christmas cards, too. Gone are the days when people rushed to get the kids ready for the Christmas photo and get the film to the developer, Williams said. Sometimes people made multiple prints of photos to put in cards or they used one photo and sent a photo Christmas card as their holiday greeting, he said.

But as with all types of Christmas cards, the volume of Christmas greetings is down, Williams said.

“I used to do 1,000 at this time, and now maybe I did 150,”he said.

Dishong said she has noticed that people tend to store photos on their cameras or phones but they’re not printing them out, which is another reason she shies away from getting a digital camera.

“I like to be able to print out my photos,” she said.

Dishong also likes it when Williams gives her back the negatives when she gets her prints back, because she likes to match the prints to the negatives.

Storing several photos on a digital camera can prove problematic, said Baker. He recommends if people have important photos on a

camera, they should remove the SD, or Secure Digital (memory), card inside the camera that contains the information about the photos before shooting others photos to protect the images.

“If I’ve shot a wedding, I’ll usually remove the card and put in a fresh one just to protect the pictures that I’ve shot,” he said.

Baker said Dishong might be in the minority as far as liking to use film, but he said film use is experiencing a resurgence.

Teenagers have become interested in film as a novelty and made it popular again, he said.

“It’s kind of making a comeback,” said Baker, although he said he doesn’t foresee a major trend.

Like Williams, he also recommends that people have several backups for their photos.

The Film Center has its own website, www, where people can store their photos and order prints, he said.

For other types of memories, such as those stored on videos, the Film Center has a machine that can convert videos to DVDs for a cost of about $20 per video. Of course, photographs made from film aren’t indestructible and people are now scanning those into their computers, Williams said.

If they do, those files should, of course, be backed up like the other photo files, he said.