Back Those Up: The Importance of Yearbook Photo Backup Files

Sometimes unforeseen circumstances might delete your photo files.
Photo credit: Flickr CC user Daniel Morrison


These days we have the ability to take thousands of photos with the simple click of a button. With digital cameras and smartphones getting more sophisticated every year, everyone can now capture every magical moment a hundred times over.

However, it can all come crashing down–literally–with one wrong click.

Back in the day, we only had film negatives to fall back on if things went awry during production. I remember several late nights pouring over hundreds of negatives to try to see if I could hunt down the right one. Squinting and trying not to expose them to too much light, my fellow staffers, and I would jump for joy when we found the right batch.

Thankfully students today will never have to experience this frustration. There are many different ways you can backup ALL your files–photos, word docs, everything–and not pull all your hair out in the process.

To ensure all of your student’s hard work doesn’t accidentally get deleted forever, install a backup plan into each assignment. Make sure to teach your students how to save their photos and word documents in multiple locations so no one is freaking out when they’re up against a deadline, and they can’t find their photo files.

Here are some ways you can backup your precious yearbook photo files and not lose any sleep in the process:

  • Online backup – Saving photos to online sites like Flickr or Shutterfly means your photos are safe somewhere on the internet. You can set up a private account with limited access to the yearbook staff so outside sources cannot steal or use your images without your permission. You can also create a Dropbox account and store and share files that way as well. You can even create a special yearbook Facebook account and tag photos on there too–just make sure to adjust your settings to private so others can’t see what you’re working on.
  • External drives – When in doubt, download your photo files to an external hard drive. You can download and save as many as you want, ensuring that the files aren’t just in the hands of one student. It’s quick, painless, and instantly takes the pressure off of one person. Make sure you clearly label all your photos on your computer before you download them to the external drive so whoever is working on the next feature knows exactly where to find them.
  • Hard copies – Call me old fashioned, but I’m a big fan of paper. If you’re really worried about losing files, you can always print out hard copies of the photos in question and file them away. Visual prints can also help jog your memory when you’re physically laying out designs. You can print them out on your classroom printer or send your files to a company that can print them out for you.

What backup plan do you have in place for your photo files? Have you ever lost important photos due to a computer crash or other disaster? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comment box below.