Tips on How to Protect and Preserve your Travel Photos

During ancient times, photos are difficult to preserve from films and Polaroid, but to date, all photos are usually stored as digital files as the original quality is preserved for years.


Currently, I have 49,003 Photos which is partitioned by 17,657 Folders in my portable hard drives. I have 2 hard drives so far, 1 PQI 300GB and 1 TB My Book Essential Western Digital External Drive and 85% of the space are my travel photos and memories. I travel a lot and for each travel, I shoot over hundreds of photos! Now, what to do with them?

Five years ago, a terrible experience has occurred when a delicate virus attacked my desktop applications, I didn’t bother cleaning my desktop until it came to a point where it seized my files and some of my photos were already corrupted. It was a nightmare. From there, I needed to figure out how to keep my digital files safe and preserved.

Let me share how I manage to keep my digital files protected from virus.

Install secure browsers

Come to think it. Where does computer virus come from? Did you know that websites are the #1 source of virus? Website that contains malware or virus has the capability of invading your PC if not protected. Stop browsing websites with Internet Explorer (IE), start using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

Always run antivirus software or applications

The most popular software for that is the Norton Antivirus for your PC. Regular checkup of your PC for antivirus will protect your files up to 300%.

Switch to MAC or Linux Operating systems

I am a PC user, but if given the money, I’ll definitely buy and switch to MAC OSx. I was once a Linux (Ubuntu) user and I loved it so much, but since I am big Photoshop user, I have to switch back to Windows OS as Photoshop wasn’t compatible to Linux. Some of the applications that I often use were not compatible to Linux as well. It was very sad when I had to bid goodbye to Ubuntu for 6 months of smooth experience.

Store your files in protected hard drives

Instead of saving your files directly to your My Documents Local C:\ drive, try buying a secured storage device and save your files there instead. An example of this is the My Book Essential of WD which I currently owned. Some of these hard drives have built-in security applications which you can trust to keep your digital files safe.

Backup your photos by uploading some in photo storage websites

Examples are SmugMug, Flickr, DropBox,and PicasaWeb, those websites are free to use though with limitations unless you will upgrade to Pro or Premium account. Currently, I am subscribed to Flickr Pro for which I am paying $24.95 a year to save and preserve my photos.

Burn them in CDs or DVDs

This is an update from readers Eileen Campos and Mark and I find their comments very helpful. Burning photos to DVDs and CDs are very helpful as well as virus cannot infiltrate it unless they know to burn themselves! The only downside when saving files in DVDs or CDs is data decay. You will have to burn them again after 9 to 10 years.

Just like the old times, print your photos and put them in photo albums

“Best of all is printing pics on good quality photographic paper and having them on display in old school albums. The biggest advantage of this is that they get looked at more often..” One of my readers Mark said.

Frame it or put it in albums. Nothing beats the old times of viewing photos with photographic prints. For me, viewing photos in prints is more sentimental and appreciating. Ahhh! I wish I could print all my photos for free.

Travel more and happy shooting!

Pandan Island, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

In the end, you will enjoy the benefit of investing your time to protecting your travel photos and memories. Keep it safe and soon you will show them to your great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

  • mervz |

    very helpful tips!

    Wahhhhh! eto rin kinakatakutan ko… kaya i save on my notebook and also on my external hard drive. Mine is not WD, hindi ako sure kung may anti virus cya… hehehe! meron kaya free download na anti virus for external HD?

    Thanks for sharing Ada! :)

  • Ada

    Depends on the brand mo yata. But try Avast although it can’t be saved in HD mismo, but you can run it then i-target mo yung HD mo 😀 Free siya

  • mervz |

    ah ok… will try that… thanks Ada! Cheers!!! :)

  • Mark

    Sadly even external drives can become corrupted and or crash. I store my picture files on an external drive, as well as back up the most important pics onto archive quality cd’s. But best of all is printing pics on good quality photographic paper and having them on display in old school albums. The biggest advantage of this is that they get looked at more often. :)
    Oh and even the much vaunted Mac does come under attack from viruses, we just don’t hear about it as often.

    And finally Ms Ada, you have some fantastic pics!

  • Ada

    Awesome suggestion Mark!! I will update this post later and will add the printing of photos into albums as old times are still better, and yes, they are often looked! Of course, I will mention you 😀

    I am sorry that your external hard drive gave up on you. I have heard of Mac being attacked by some viruses as well, and yea not really an often case, maybe I’ll update this post to advise my readers to just avoid adult website and downloading from torrents as most virus come from there HAHA

  • Eileen Campos / Possibly Pinay

    Agree agree agree! Personally though, I do 2 separate hard drive back ups and then 1 DVD backup of all of the year’s photos and files at the end of the year.
    There was a time when I dropped one of my hard drives and then coincidentally I wasnt able to double back up on the other hard drive and then that was when my DVD backups saved me! I wouldve lost all my daughter’s photos from first year!
    if i can afford, mega cloud storage for hi res photos din, i would. if dropbox could be, like 1TB for super cheap, id sooo go for that.

  • Ada

    Thanks Eileen for the idea, I have updated my post! And because of that, I’ll start backin up my photos in DVDs na rin 😉

  • Adelle

    great tips! I always go for Internet storage and external drives. :)

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  • Mark Wiens

    Great tips Ada, you’ve got quite a collection of photos! I’ve just filled up a 1 TB hard drive and need to go buy another one soon!

  • Ada

    WOW!! Yours is a lot with 1 TB I died 1 sec with that. I guess you always shoot in RAW?!

  • Ada

    Agree 😉