If you are looking for a way to archive your photos, then you should consider Flickr.com. It offers access to your photos from any PC connected to the internet and puts you in control of granting viewing access to other users.
Digital cameras have unleashed a new age of photography, with millions if not billions of pictures being taken daily on a range of devices. Many of them will not survive for very long, being of very poor quality and limited value, but even those that are considered worthy of retaining run the risk of being lost. Many photos are stored on a single hard disk drive and if it were to fail or be lost in some way, as some do, they could be gone forever. Even if they are stored on multiple disk drives in the same building they are still at risk of loss through fire or theft.
Many of us probably know people who have lost precious digital pictures in some way; perhaps even just the accidental deletion of files. But there is a simple way to eliminate this risk, which involves archiving the pictures onto a photo sharing website such as Flickr. Most of my pictures, over 10,000, are secured in this way, including all of my 35mm slide collection and old family photographs.
One reason why people might avoid using this form of online archive is cost. Flickr allows you to store as many photos as you like for free, but only the 200 most recently uploaded are accessible, so to make best use of the site you’ll need a pro account. However, at $25 per year it’s not expensive and is cheaper than other, more general, on-line backup solutions. With a pro account there are no limits to the number of photos or short video clips that you can store.
Another concern might be over access to your pictures. Flickr offers four levels of protection, from completely open to completely secure, meaning that only you, the account owner, can see the pictures. If you want to store your pictures securely but make sure that no one else looks at them, that’s not a problem. On the other hand, if you are going to put your photos online, why not share at least some of them with the wider community?
When you’ve uploaded thousands of photos it’s important to have a way to find the right one when you need it. Flickr offers a comprehensive tagging system, allowing you to attach unlimited words or phrases to each picture, and you can do it individually or as a batch. You might want to tag photos as ‘vacation 2008’ or ‘sues graduation’. You can also add a description, and organize photos into sets and collections. It takes a little time, but it’s a good investment because your pictures will then be easy to find.
If you are reading this and thinking about your own photos, which are perhaps stored on only one hard disk drive, I recommend you take a look at Flickr to see whether it might be a cost effective way to archive your own precious memories for the future.