Combining Your Print and Digital Collections

Storing digital copies of old printed photos is a good way to keep them safe and you'll also have your entire photo collection organized in one place. Some scanners can scan negatives, and even if your negatives are damaged, many scanners include programs that can edit dust or scratches out of the digital versions of both your photos and negatives. Prices range from $200 to $700 depending on how basic or complex a scanner you desire. [source: Desmond].

Storing Digital Photos

Computers crash. They also catch viruses and occasionally suffer at the hand of clumsy users who spill coffee on their keyboards. Keeping these inevitabilities in mind, it's just not safe to store your digital photos only on your computer's hard drive.

Once you're finished organizing your photos, it's time to back them up. There are numerous ways to do this, including copying your photos to CDs or to an external hard drive, or by uploading them to an online photo-sharing site [source: Hendricks]. No matter which you choose, such options offer increased portability in addition to security. It's easy to plop a CD into a friend's computer to share photos or to e-mail someone a link to your online photo archive.

Some CDs can hold as many as 700 megabytes, and saving photos on a CD is as easy as saving them to your hard drive. After your photos are organized on your computer, they'll automatically carry the same file names and organizational systems when you burn them to a CD [source: Kodak].

Many digital photo organizing software programs can help you back up your photos to avoid loss should your computer become compromised. To learn about different types of photo organizing software, read the next page.