The wedding day always seems to fly by, which is why hiring a photographer is key to capturing all the moments you may miss or forget. A few months, or hopefully weeks, after your wedding day, you will receive a wonderful email from your photographer with a link to a digital photo library where your entire wedding day will appear in photos. (Yes, it’s OK to let out an excited squeal!)
Once you’ve paged through all the photos from the big day and relived it once or twice, it’s time to decide what to do with your wedding photos. Before you click away, or quickly download and share a few of your favorite shots, follow the steps below to properly store your photos. We know, this isn’t the exciting part, but both print and online photo storage are essential for keeping your precious wedding photos safe.
Safe from what, you ask? Loss and damage are real threats to any photos, even digital ones which can be accidentally wiped off your camera roll or lost if your computer fries. With photos as precious as the ones from your wedding, you don’t want to take any chances. Here’s how to safeguard all those precious snapshots.
The first step is to download your photos onto your desktop. When you go to download a gallery from your photographer, you will likely be presented with a couple of resolution options. The larger the resolution, the more space the photos will take up. Still, we recommend downloading the original format, or the highest resolution, as well as a lower resolution format, often dubbed “web,” because this size is ideal for sharing on the web. You’ll see why soon.
There are a host of online photo storage platforms that make safeguarding your photos simple and accessing them from anywhere easy. Before you upload your newly minted wedding photos to just any photo storage service, do your research to discover which one will meet your storage needs. We’ve done a bit of the hard work and compared two of the top photo storage websites for your reference here.
With either platform, once uploaded, you’ll be able to reach your wedding photos online or on a coordinating app you can access on your smartphone, so you can be prepared to show them off at a moment’s notice.
The online photo storage sites listed below also integrate seamlessly with Zola’s wedding album design generator, so you can easily gain access to your wedding photos when creating your wedding photo album, which will save you a lot of time and energy.
One of the major benefits of storing your wedding photos on an online cloud service such as Google Photos is that they are automatically backed up. This means that no matter what happens to your phone or your laptop, you can access the cloud from any device with your Google Photos login.
Another great feature of Google Photos is that you can use the search function to find anything pictured within your photos. For example, if you want to find any photo from your wedding featuring the floral arrangements you could just enter “flowers” into the search bar and—voilá—all of the images featuring flowers will surface.
In its free plan, Google Photos provides unlimited storage as long as images don’t exceed 16 megapixels. To store larger photos, you can opt for one of Google Photos paid plans, which start at $1.99 per month. The original versions of your wedding photos will likely exceed this 16-megapixel limit, but now you see why we suggest downloading multiple resolutions of the photo library.
Dropbox is another cloud photo storage service that features automatic backup. Photographers say it’s one of the best websites to store photos, because it’s easy to organize images in folders and access is seamless. Once you create folders, you can also share them with friends and family who can view them and comment on individual photos.
Another cool Dropbox feature is that it works with Burner, an app that provides temporary phone numbers. You can ask guests to text any photos they took at your wedding to your burner phone number and they will automatically sync to your dropbox. This way, you can hold onto more than just the professional photos your photographer captured and savor all the fun snaps your guests caught on camera as well.
The free dropbox plan provides 2GB of storage, or for $9.99 per month, you can get a Dropbox Plus account, which provides 1TB of storage.
In addition to an online photo storage platform, you’ll want to store your photos offline as well. Back up your wedding photos onto an external hard drive or USB—or both, to triple-proof your memories. An external hard drive is also the best place to store all of your photos in their original format, because it has the most amount of space.
Online photo storage is great for everyday life, but it’s also important to have physical prints of your wedding photos. You never know when the internet will come crashing down or, more realistically, when technology will change and you may not be able to access some (or all—gulp!) of your wedding photos. After you download your wedding gallery, use the high-res files to order a set of prints in a variety of sizes. You can place them around the house or simply store them. Even if you don’t do anything with them, at least you’ll have hard copies on hand in case something happens to the digital versions.
Once you have your physical wedding photos in hand, you have to put them somewhere. While you will surely place some in frames and photo albums (more on those later), the majority of your hard copies will need to be put away safely. Invest in a few boxes or bins that close securely and are opaque, so light can’t get in. Honestly, a shoebox will do. Then place all of your photos inside and stow the boxes away.
Sometimes it’s nice to step away from technology and enjoy the photos in real life, whether you’re flipping through prints, admiring framed photos on the wall, or paging through an album. These are the best ways to display your physical wedding photos:
Your photos don’t do anyone any good on a day-to-day basis just sitting in storage. Put them in frames and place (or hang) them around your house, so you can fully enjoy their beauty. High-quality frames will also protect your photos from being bent, overexposed, or damaged in some other way.
Whether you choose a modern digital album or a classic album filled with laminated photo sheets, photo albums are still a great way to preserve your wedding photos and share the memories with your loved ones. While you won’t be able to reuse the photos inside if something should happen to the original prints or digital copies, you’ll still have a beautiful keepsake full of your favorites.
You probably spent a pretty penny hiring your photographer because you wanted professional photos from your wedding day. Protect your investment by storing your photos properly. If you follow these steps to store your wedding photos both digitally and physically, you’ll be in good shape.