Our 10-step guide to printing and storing your digital photos

31st August 2018

Oh, for the days when the end of summer meant the customary trip to Boots to collect the enveloped results of your four rolls of holiday film.

Out of the 24 exposures, seven would be out-of-focus, two would be decapitating your mum and sister, three would still have the lens cap on, four would have been taken without the disposable Kodak flashbulb, two more would be photobombed (not that we knew what a photobomber was back in the day) and six would be just about presentable and end up on the hall stairs.

These days, a trip with the grandkids to the playground down the road ends up with 176 new pictures, 37 selfies, 14 gifs and seven videos. And they all hang around on our phones, tablets and computers gathering tech dust and rarely seeing the light of day let alone a frame on the hall wall.

Keeping reams of photos on our devices is the 21st-century equivalent of shoving them in the back of the wardrobe behind those cowboys boots you’ve yet to wear in public. Here’s our 10-step guide to preserving your photos for today, tomorrow and future generations.

Step One
Be ruthless. Use your next window of quiet time to delete every photo that you deem unworthy of printing out. General rule: if you wouldn’t have it on a wall in your house, bin it.

Step Two
Arrange the remaining photos into folders (ask the kids or the grandkids), this makes them much easier to find next time your neighbour asks about what the family’s up to.

Step Three
Use your bigblu broadband to connect to a photo printing service (a straw poll around the marketing department has brought up the following recommendations: Snapfish, PhotoBucket, Cheerz), many of them offer great introductory rates and a certain number of free prints per month.

Step Four
Frame the very best. Take it from me, don’t scrimp on frames. A classic strong black or white frame will keep things distinguished and do justice to your snaps.

Step Five
Make sure you store your unframed prints with care and an eye on future generations. The experts at the National Archives recommend materials made of cotton or pure wood pulps to avoid contact with acids that can be hidden in other paper sources. They also suggest rolling larger, flexible prints into tubes, and using polyester film sleeves for extra precaution.

Step Six
Whatever you do, do not store them in old shoeboxes. Well, if that’s all you’ve got about the place, they’ll do as they’ll at least keep your photos flat and protected. But bear in mind that shoe boxes are not water-resistant.

Step Seven
For the videos and photos that have remained on your phone, tablet or computer, you need to make sure you’re storing them in a digital savvy way. The next three steps should help out with that:

Step Eight
Invest in a hard drive. Perhaps even two, as the average lifespan of a hard drive is around five years. Then transfer your pictures on to the drive and store it for safe keeping.

Step Nine
Store them on disc, preferably the write-once optical variety. A standard CD won’t have enough storage and a DVD will probably store enough for a summer’s worth of photos. If you more than that you may want to go for a blu-ray disc as you can probably fit your whole photo collection on a few dual-layer blu-ray discs.

Step 10
Consider using cloud storage services like Amazon, Google, Microsoft (OneDrive) or Apple (iCloud). However, these can be expensive if you need a lot of storage, and your photos will not be as accessible as they are on a local hard drive. However, they should be pretty safe for future generations to enjoy, not to mention giving them plenty to laugh about when they clock our hairstyles and outfits and quaint lack of wires coming out of our brains.