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Weddings are perhaps unique in their importance as far as photography is concerned. The event cannot be repeated and there is therefore only the one opportunity to capture the key moments for posterity. Once the day is over, the bride and groom and their close families and friends will want to have an attractive and reasonably good quality record of the wedding.

Assuming that all goes according to plan, and the wedding is photographed in a manner agreeable to all concerned, the photographer is left with a large set of original images which must be archived in some secure manner. Some photographers state in their terms and conditions that images will be archived for a particular number of years. This has two principal implications. The first is that the couple may return to the photographer within the stated period to obtain further copies of some of the images. Should the photographer be unable to supply the pictures, he would be in breach of contract. The second consideration is that, for the duration of the stated archiving period, the images of each wedding must be safely stored on DVD or perhaps an external hard drive. The longer the stated period, the more onerous this task becomes.

Some photographers have shelves filled with archived images, all of which might be damaged by water, fire or perhaps an intruder in the storage area. As wedding images accumulate, so the archiving system must become more sophisticated and effective. If the photographer takes 500 images at each wedding, and photographs 24 weddings per year, after seven years the archive will contain 84,000 images!

As far as the couple are concerned, the best way to preserve the images of their wedding throughout their lives is to print their favourites onto the pages of an album. The paper print is arguably still the best way to archive images in a domestic environment provided that the album is stored carefully away from moisture, high temperatures and direct sunlight.

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