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How to protect and preserve your family photos



As the old saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words." This is especially true when it comes to your family photo collection.

We take pictures to capture the most important milestones in our lives. Whether it's your wedding day, the baby's birth or their college graduation, pictures can take us back to a moment – even when the memories fade.

But as much as we value and care for our photo collections, let's be honest: most of us do a little to protect them. You can have boxes of physical pictures tucked away in a wardrobe. Or thousands of digital files stored on a hard drive. But somehow, these immutable heirs can be just a broken tube or a lost computer away from being lost forever.

At ERIE, we think memories are worth protecting ̵

1; just like the homes they are made in. Here are some tips on how to preserve family photos for years and generations to come:
[19659006] How to protect digital photos

Thanks to our smartphones, we take more photos now than ever in human history. And unlike film camera days, there is no limit to how many images we can capture or store. But do not make the mistake of keeping all photos on a single phone, memory card or hard drive.

Backing up your files is crucial for protecting your digital photos. You can do it with a physical storage device, like an external hard drive. But today there are plenty of solutions for cloud solutions that make your photos easy. Most of the technical giants like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon now offer low cost, or even free, cloud backup photo solutions. But not all storage services are the same.

Here are some things to consider before uploading your photos:

  • Storage Size: Each image captures digital space. And all these photo files can upload quickly. Depending on your image collection, the assigned free storage space may not be enough. So consider a cloud service that gives you the space you need to protect all your photos.
  • Share and edit: Many cloud services allow you to make photos public or private. And if you pay for online storage, you will most likely get access to apps so you can share and edit photos. Choose a service that comes with features that you use the most, if it is to edit your photos or share albums with friends and family.
  • Backing up your photos: Most cloud storage services automatically back up your digital photos automatically. Then follow the instructions to set this feature on your smartphone and computer. It's also a good idea to make sure your photos are archived elsewhere online, if they are accidentally thrown away from a device.

How to Protect Printed Images

For older photos not taken on a digital camera, there is no way to recover a lost image. When it's gone, it's gone. Do not lose your photos due to incorrect storage. Instead, these tips follow you to enjoy these albums in the coming years:

  • Use plastic covers: If you cover your photos with plastic sleeves, there may be a big difference in the image protection. Choose a high-quality acid-free sleeve to provide an extra layer to protect your images from the elements.
  • Give them a new home: If you have pictures in an old album, chances are that the pages contain acidic materials such as rubber, ink and glue that can cause the pictures to turn yellow and stick. Moving your photos to a new album or photo box can help preserve them.

    Bonus tip: if an old picture is stuck on one side, lift a corner of the photo and gently look back and forth with dental floss to release it. For fragile images that will still not come off, consider letting the photo glued in place and cutting the page out of the old album.

  • Organize your photos: Tagging your backs on your photos can help you remember when and where they were taken so you can sort them accordingly. Be sure to use a pen, not ink pens or tape that can damage your images over time.
  • Keep them on the right terms: Don't just save your photos anywhere you find rooms. Instead, you are sure that they are kept in a place that is cold, dark and dry. Light, humidity and temperature fluctuations can all damage your printed photos.
  • Make them digital: With antiques, like the legacy of the 20th century, some damage can be irreversible. To preserve your images for future generations, consider having them scanned in digital files. You can do it at home with a high quality scanner or search for local businesses that will help you with the process. Even if you make digital replicas, professional archivists recommend that you also do the physical copies. Scans are usually not a single solution. Remember that digital scans must be migrated every ten years or as file formats and computers are developed.

Presenting Your New Collection

Once you have targeted all your photos, find creative ways to show them to friends and family. In addition to bringing back fond memories, your photos can add characters to your home and remind others of your family history. Looking for unique ways to showcase your photos? Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Add older photos in new frames around the house.
  • Use a collection of printed images to create a collage.
  • Place new photo albums in places and coffee tables.
  • Print old photos on T-shirts or coffee dresses for family gifts.
  • Use a digital frame to present a slideshow of your digital photos.
  • Take back the formal "slide show" by gathering your family with your newly organized archive.

What happens if my pictures are damaged in an accident?

For many, it is a worst scenario: Your valuable family albums are burned in a house fire. What then?

With ERIE you can rest easy. After a covered loss, most homeowners' insurance covers the cost of restoring photographs, such as those damaged by smoke. For completely destroyed prints, your homeowner usually pays a physical copy (of the same size) coverage if you have a digital backup.

Home is where love lives and memories are made. At Erie Insurance, our duty is to protect the beams and boards, but also the other things that make your house a home. Read more about ERIE housing insurance or contact your local Erie Insurance Agent to make sure your home and everything it stands for is protected.


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