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Taking your vacation photos is only part of the battle.  You need to make sure that you shepherd the images through the development process if they are film based, or transfer them to your computer, if the are in digital format.  We provide some simple steps to help insure that your images are preserved to share with your family and friends.


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Travel Tips - Making sure you get to share those vacation photos

Digital images

When you return from your trip, your pictures will be stored on  compact memory cards. If you followed our recommendations, you should have several memory cards, each storing some subset of your vacation pictures (see our article on digital cameras).

  • Transfer the images from your memory cards to the hard disc on your computer, using the technique recommended by the manufacturer of your camera.
  • Before performing any image processing, write the pictures files from the computer's hard disc  to a CD  or DVD and create a backup of that disc.
    •  Be sure that the duplicated files contain the images in their raw, transfer format so that you have an archive of the pictures before you cropped, enhanced, or accidentally erased your original images.
    • Your CDs or DVDs do not provide long-term archival storage.  You should rewrite the files (create new disks) every four years.
    • Your CDs and DVDs are not safe from fire.  Do not store them in a fireproof safe, as the heat from a fire will melt the CDs/DVDs.
    • Online storage is a safer method than writing media, but may be expensive


Film based images

If you have just returned from the trip of a lifetime (aren’t they all?) and still use a film-based camera, we recommend splitting your film and taking each half for developing at separate times. Although it is rare for something to happen to film left from processing, it has happened to others and there is no recourse if your film is damaged. The shop will gladly replace your film but cannot compensate you for the lost memories. Visiting the shop twice (only if the first batch was processed correctly), is a minor inconvenience to preserve the pictures of your vacation .

A second strategy is to have the film developed while you are on vacation.

  • While this may seem a little unusual, doing so will protect your film from exposure to damaging X-Rays that are used in all modern security scanners at airports.
  • If you are going to be in a town for a couple of days, see if you can find a one-hour or one-day shop to process your film.
  • Another benefit of seeing your prints or slides before your vacation is over is that you will learn whether you need to change the settings on the camera or change your technique.

Ask if you can have your film  as prints and converted to digital images placed on a  CD.  The flexibility or having the photos in a digital format far outweighs the cost.  So, if you are still using film, why not try a digital camera and avoid all of those film based problems?

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