More than 30 per cent of people in the UK would lose their digital photos forever if their computer or camera were lost, stolen or damaged, says a study from information security company Symantec.

More than 30 per cent of people in the UK would lose their digital photos forever if their computer or camera were lost, stolen or damaged, says a study from information security company Symantec. Of the 2,227 consumers surveyed through YouGov, 77 per cent do not backup their photographs and 30 per cent do not print any of them, whilst 42 per cent only print a quarter of their photos.

The survey found that almost 90 per cent of UK adults own a digital camera or camera phone, and that digital photography is growing in popularity, with 46 per cent of UK adults taking at least ten digital photographs per month. Fifteen per cent of us are taking more than 36 photos per month, totalling at least 432 digital photos per person, per year.

The findings are supported by a recent report from analyst house Forrester which in March 2005 launched its ?Where Should I Print My Digital Photos?? research. The conclusion was that 75 per cent of digital photos stored on PCs are not backed up in any form. It seems that despite our apparent love for digital photography we still fall short when it comes to safeguarding those digital memories. There are some shining examples of best practice though, with six per cent of respondents indicating that they printed all of the digital photos they took. Also, a savvy 23 per cent of consumers advised that they do back up their photos online.

Further findings from the research include:

Only 40 per cent of those questioned chose to stick with tradition and place pictures into photo albums.

An average of 38 per cent of people like to use photo-editing programmes to improve their appearance in images. Men are more likely to take part in this (43 per cent) than women (34 per cent).

A growing number of people are taking advantage of the new wave of web sites and tools available for digital photo takers with 17 per cent uploading photos to sharing sites.

Lee Sharrocks, Consumer Sales Director, Symantec UK, commented: ?Unfortunately it only takes one computer virus or accident to critically damage a PC, with the possible result of losing stored data forever. It only takes a few moments to install backup and Internet security software to protect your PC and ensure that you keep those photos safe for years to come.?

The survey also asked consumers which memory they would choose to turn into a photo to keep forever. The highest responses for this centred on the family unit, with memories of a family member or friend that is no longer with them, birth of a child and priceless family moment being the most favoured. Perhaps not surprisingly, female respondents rated these significantly higher than male respondents. These memories were followed in popularity by memories of weddings and best holiday moments. In contrast, these categories ranked much higher for males than females.