Learn More About Backing Up and Rating Your Photos

Taking the time to sort and rate your photos, then safely backing them up is important to preserve and protect your precious photo collection.


3-2-1 Backup System

This is a reliable strategy for backing up all digital files and data.

3-2-1 Backup System for Digital Photos

As a photo organizer, I help those with photo collections gather and store all their photos in one place, independent of any software, called a Photo Hub. This Hub is digital. As print photos are scanned and digitized they will also live in the Hub.

Backing up your memory collection (your Digital Photo Hub) is imperative but this strategy applies to all your digital assets.

3 - Three copies of your Digital Photo Hub

Maintain three separate copies of your Photo Hub to reduce the risk of data loss. If you have your original hub plus two more copies (for a total of three copies), you reduce the odds of losing your data significantly. You are creating a system with triple redundancies.

2 - Stored on two different media or devices

When you store your originals on one device and a copy on a second device or media, that means you have immediate access to a backup if one of those devices fails. When your computer crashes or your external hard drive fails (and they will), your files can be restored from the other device. Storing these devices locally means you have full control and access at all times.

1 - One copy stored off-site

The third copy of your Hub should be stored in a different location from your other two copies. If all three copies of your Hub are located in your home, your precious memories are at risk if something unforeseen should happen to your home. Natural disasters, fires, floods, and theft are unexpected tragedies that can happen to anyone. I recommend a cloud-based backup or storage solution for your third location. If the cloud isn’t an option, your third copy can be stored on another device, or optical discs, if you still have access to a disk reader (archival gold DVD’s) and stored in a different location as far away from your home as possible.

Cloud Storage Recommendations 

Backblaze - automatic backup

Carbonite - automatic backup

Time Machine for Mac – automatic/manual backup

iCloud Photo Library


Google Photos


ABCs of Photo Organizing

narrow your collection to the best of the best

ABCs Photo Rating System

Professional photo organizers use a simple method to help their clients sort their photos, using an easy to remember acronym – the ABCs.

A is for Album

These pictures are the best of the best! The ones that belong in an album, and the memories that you would mourn if they were lost. These are the photos that you’ll want to digitize, backup, share, and display. It doesn’t mean we’re going to put all these pictures into albums; it just means they are “album worthy.”

B is for Box

These photos are the extras that support your best. They are the ones you aren’t ready to part with but want to have access to at some point in the future. These photos will be archived for safekeeping but not necessarily digitized.

C is for Can

Yes, you CAN re-purpose these pictures or throw them in the trash can! Your collection is filled with doubles, triples and REALLY BAD photos. If your photo doesn’t fall into one of the above categories, then it’s a C photo. I encourage you to be brutal here and set a goal to fill a garbage can with these!

S is for Story

Does the photo tell a story? These pictures play a significant role because there is something illustrative about the picture even though it may not be obvious. A picture of a single tree in the backyard may seem meaningless unless it’s the full-grown sapling your Great Grandpa planted before he passed away.