Save Your Family Photos from the Dangers of Outdated Technologies

The technology you use may seem like a shiny new object today, but it could be dull, obsolete, and hard to manage in the near future.

People are looking for permanent storage solutions but they’re not aware of what I’ve found. Look at this 2018 article from The Guardian that a friend brought to my attention that makes storage seem like a juggling act. A link to the article is at the end of this post:

Making digital documents last for ever therefore involves two processes. First, you have to keep moving the data to new storage systems before the old one fails or becomes unreadable. Second, you may have to keep converting documents to whichever file format becomes dominant before the old one is abandoned.

How fun does that sound?

I use a system that’s an all-in-one convenient storage system FOREVER® to store my family photos and other important files. It’s easy to use and it’s guaranteed and safe for a lifetime plus 100 years and longer.

Home offiw looking outside
My home office today, where I connect with clients, team members across the U.S., and enjoy sharing my photos through FOREVER®

Storage is important because your family photos aren’t just things. They represent lives touched and stories needing to be told.

Read on to compare current popular, storage solutions to FOREVER®.


How Technology Becomes Outdated

I’m now in my 27th year as a photo coach and safe storage for photos has always been a challenge. Storing photos permanently was an impossible task, but that changed as we entered the digital age. The idea of permanence took shape even as technologies became updated and outdated.

As I’ve looked into the topic, someone else told me about the audio recording industry.

Remember those old radio jingles?

As recently as the mid-to-late 90s, radio commercials were still recorded using reel-to-reel tape and they were spliced together by hand. Then along came Digital Audio Tape (DAT) which was heralded as a bold new step to make production more efficient.

DAT was supposed to last for generations, but it only took hold for a couple of years before CD and DVD technology emerged.

Then software was used to record directly on PCs and audio recording became fully digital. DAT was a blip on the scene and now, no one remembers it except for diehard production specialists.

The technology you use to back up files from your laptop, tablet, and phone will gradually change, too, and if it’s not replaced through updates then it’ll wear out.

There isn’t one technology that will simply last and last. The key is keeping up with changes in technology and that’s what FOREVER® guarantees that they will do for a lifetime, plus well beyond 100 years.

You’re probably not familiar with FOREVER®, but you know about favorite types of photo storage tools and strategies.

Let’s see why they’re not a permanent storage solution for photos.


Thumb drives

These devices are like young children—little and cute. They’re compact, easy to carry around, and they’re easy to use. Simply plug into the USB drive, share files, and eject so you can safely pull out the thumb drive.

While children grow up and seem to have an endless supply of energy, thumb drives will wear out in a few years or more, depending on the amount of use.

This post on FOREVER® notes that thumb drives may only last a few years and equates them to wearing a pair of running shoes. The more often you run in them then the sooner the treads will wear thin.

Use thumb drives for convenient, temporary storage when you need it, but not as a long-term storage device for your family photos.


External hard drives

I know people who say that external hard drives are the way to go, especially professional photographers and graphic artists who use external drives every day. But the equipment can get damaged.

Look at this juggling act described on the website Expert Photography (with a link at the end of this post):

Because a hard drive can fail at any time, it’s not enough to store your photos on a single drive. Two hard drives is a usable minimum, but I have my photos on at least three: my desktop PC, the external USB hard drive that backs up my PC, and an 8TB drive that backs up three external hard drives.

I’m so glad that I’ve made FOREVER® a major part of my photo coaching business with Safeguard Your Memories®.

Now look at this comparison chart before reading on:

Comparison chart from FOREVER
Compare the services you know with FOREVER

Social media and low-cost storage services

Free to Low-cost cloud-based storage sites seem like a trusted option. Google Photos offers a free storage option for limited space while Apple offers a low-cost service. There are other well-known options and then you have well-known social media options from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest.

The challenges with these sites are:

Terms of Service that are favorable to them, meaning you can get locked out of your account without warning or the company can choose not to offer the service any longer;

Data mining is a reality because free sites have to generate revenue somehow. Your interests are tracked as you upload content like your photos and interact.

Social media is easy to share and low-cost sites are appealing, but you give up control.

And what happens if your friends and family decide they get tired of the social media grind and leave a site?

Another reason these storage sites and tools are limited is that digitizing all your old media files is downright difficult if not impossible. Sure, you can scan old photos into your drives or have them sent out, but you’re dealing with different vendors so it’s an awkward situation.

Social media news

This story from KSL Channel 5 is telling:

News headline from Channel 5 Salt Lake City
Screenshot from Salt Lake City

Americans are learning the same hard lesson: Social media is not a safe place for safekeeping.

Earl Foote of Nexus IT Solutions says people are finding themselves locked out, and social media companies aren’t always bending over backward to help folks get back in.

“Sometimes that can take weeks or months, and sometimes they can never recover the account,” Foote said.

It’s hard to put an exact number on how many social media accounts are compromised, but according to data from internet security firm, Norton, there was a 43% increase in social media fraud attacks in 2018, and 34% of U.S. adults don’t trust social media companies at all with safeguarding their personal data.

It’s a frustration that is tragically compounded for folks who use social media the way many of us do: to store and catalogue life’s moments.

You can see why I don’t rely on social media and instead use a trusted solution.


Why I Chose FOREVER®

Company names mean a lot. For most of my photo coaching career, my company was Photo Solutions by Melody®, LLC.

But now it’s Safeguard Your Memories® because my goal is for you to have your family photos, older videos, slide shows, and other files readily available for you to enjoy during your lifetime and the lifetimes of your children and grandchildren and beyond.

I studied FOREVER® carefully before personally using the services and recommending to my clients. But it’s a forward-looking company that offers a range of services in one easy-to-use space:

  • Digitizing your old slide shows, VHS tapes, and home movies from generations past;
  • Offering storage options that you purchase and own and that fit your budget
  • Digital space to upload, describe your photos, and easily share them with friends and family who live in other parts of the country or other parts of the world. One Digital Home, a Private Family Network!
Shot of Digital Photo Album from Melody Whitehead's Parents
My parents’ digital album with their photos from childhood to senior years in one place

For families searching for stories behind the pictures, FOREVER® also offers a family research service where professionals will uncover your ancestors, document their lives, and share their stories with you so that you can celebrate them today with friends & family and preserve them for generations with FOREVER®.

If you’re not ready to embark upon a Monthly Research Project but have questions about your family history or need some direction to get started on your own research journey, you can book a 1-hour consultation with one of our experts.

Once your photos and your most important memories are in one place, then FOREVER® makes it easy to create photo books and print pictures on that household favorite, coasters, wall décor and more.


Visit with Me

Adult daughter with her senior mother
Me (Melody) and mom today

You likely have questions about storing your photos so contact me and I’ll be glad to briefly chat, listen, and offer guidance.

If you’d like to know more about being a photo coach, I’ll gladly share my experiences. I work with clients and colleagues across the U.S. so I stay on top of trends.

Want to know what it’s like writing your family story?

Check my Events page and join online with some of my friends who get together and write stories to accompany their all-important photos.






Here are links to the above stories from The Guardian:

How can I store my digital photos forever?

From Expert Photography:

The best way to store photos in 2022

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