Scan Your Photos Before Natural Disaster Strikes
What would happen if you lost all of your photos in a fire or flood? Do you have backups stored in the cloud?
Sometimes we take it for granted that we’ll always have our photos. They tell our family histories — their events and milestones — and celebrate the moments that make up our lives. But natural disasters are an increasing threat to our homes.
Every September, The Photo Managers, a community I started in 2009, holds in-person and virtual classes that educate and inspire people to save their photos. This year — in collaboration with professional photo organizers, photo retailers, and related companies — we have 30 days of classes organized around four themes: gathering, organizing, story-telling, and bringing photos to life.
Our hope is to inspire people to put in a little bit of work in exchange for peace of mind and the protection of their family legacy through photos.
One of the photo manager members, Nancy McFarland, runs SoCal Photo Solutions, a professional organizing service in Southern California, a region prone to natural disasters, like fires and mudslides. “I had one client whose house had burned down — literally down to the ground,” she says. “And she was arguing with her husband about grabbing the photos, which were in a concrete garage. He said, just leave them, they’ll be fine. And the door blew off and they weren’t fine. I went to her house, which was still smoking, the fire department had been there, so there was water everywhere. Her photos were burnt and wet — and they were in boxes.”
And she was arguing with her husband about grabbing the photos, which were in a concrete garage. He said, just leave them, they’ll be fine. And the door blew off and they weren’t fine.
Taking what she had learned in professional photo management certification, Nancy got to work. “The photos were literally bricks, hard, melted bricks, all burnt, but when you soaked them, you could peel back the layers, and inside were real photos. We soaked them, hung them up to dry, and then flattened them.”
Nancy was able to salvage 2,500 photos of her client’s treasured memories — her childhood photos, her wedding photos, her pregnancy photos, and photos of her kids. “She thought they were all lost, and she was never going to speak to her husband again. And now, they’re so happy, he tells me, ‘thank God you saved my marriage.’”
There’s never a bad time to start saving your photos. Save Your Photos Month features 30+ pre-recorded mini-classes presented by industry professionals, many of whom I know personally. These sessions can prepare you with the know-how you need to tackle your photo projects — or even launch a business as a Photo Manager.
Sign up here to learn more about keeping your photos safe — before disaster strikes.
(Originally published in September 2021)