Have you ever wondered WHERE on earth to put all your photos??? Even your iPhone & insert other phone brands here photos now taking up 5-10megabytes a piece! The 200 photos of your child’s ONE sporting event is now taking up a big chunk of your phones drive space. Never mind the 10 minute video of their recital in 1080p @ 60 fps. AND… now you have no space left.
The big question is where do you put all these photos & videos? How do you store them? And how do you keep them safe? What about seeing them in the future! I’m going to spend some time going over the three ‘general’ ways of accomplishing this.
Two things to consider before I jump in.
One - There are probably 100’s of variations of these options and options that combine them as well. These are the general categories and the ONE option I use for each.
Two – Professional Photog’s -> read this before reading any further -> This is a general consumer post. Please do not jump in with comments about ©copy-write or backing up raw. However, absolutely make suggestions on other options and helpful considerations.
With disclaimers out of the way, lets jump in to the three types of general service's / tools that are out there:
1 - Online Backup & Sharing
In this category we have tons of common options you very familiar with. Everything from Facebook, to Instagram, Flickr, 500PX & Google Photos. All of these places allow you to save your photos for the LONG term and view and share them at will. And, they are all mostly free! Some charge depending on how much space you use or how you use the service. But all have free options.
I'll give you a brief run down of google photos which is what I use all the time, but first let's discuss some considerations about these sites.
They dont back up high quality images for printing. That is not necessarily true! Many of the services allow for or are specifically designed to allow you to upload print quality images. They may not be 30" prints on canvas... but they will print very nice 8x10's. Lets face it people, how many people are PRINTING images these days anyway?!?!? I would hazard a guess and say 99.99% of PROFESSIONAL images go unprinted these days in favor of posting, tagging and hashtagging friends, family and locations.
Here is the big one: They steal / take / borrow the rights to my images. YEP! Many of them do!!! Lets face it folks... if you post it online... it can be stolen, manipulated, copied, fill in the blank. That's just the (online)world we live in. Just. Get. Over. It. And hope and pray some huge company accidentally borrows and images that they dont have the rights to so you can politely ask for a big check!
Bottom Line - These sites are for convenience and the shareability of your images and having them safe somewhere other than a device you can lose and a hard drive that can fail!
In this category of services, GOOGLE PHOTOS is my go to! I love all things Google. (I also hate how much info they keep about you and use to market to you every chance they get! But, thats a trade i'm willing to make.) I use Google for ALL my cell phone images. You can also grab a desktop version of the application to back up 100% of your image files on your computer!
Here is the best part. It's 100% free for ALL your photos. The only rub is that the images are sized down by Google to "optimum" size. This is still a print worthy size for standard 4x5 or 5x7 size prints! This service keeps my cell phone free of photo clutter! You just install the app, tell it to back up and it's done! It will even politely delete backed up files from your phone for you! The best part... It seamlessly keeps all your photos available for viewing whenever you want. ALL OF THEM! Of course that uses data, so I highly recommend that you flip the switch for backup via wi-fi only!
There are other neato things Google Photos does but I'll let you discover those!
2 – Online BACKUP only
In this category we are getting into services which are there primarily to backup your images (and other information). They are not necessarily a tool for sharing your images and other documents. Though, some of them have plenty of tools to do this. In the group we have services like DropBox, Google Drive, Carbonite & CrashPlan.
DropBox and GoogleDrive do have plenty of sharing options, but, they are not geared towards the sharing of photos. Also, they work on more of a drag and drop system. Depending on how you have it set up, they may also be unnecessarily duplicating information or inappropriately deleting it!
Carbonite and CrashPlan have a few sharing options also, however they focus on being a backup services. They both install on your computer and, in the background, review and backup new files online! You don't have to do anything! (Mostly)
I have used Crash Plan for years now. Let's discuss a few of the details why:
I use CrashPlan because it's seamless. It's just works. You install it and forget about it! My favorite thing about CrashPlan, however, is that it backup unlimited versions of your entire drive AND EXTERNAL DRIVES! This is hugely important for a few reasons. If you're like me and have 4 terabytes of external drive space at home filled with family and client photos, then you need THAT backed up also! Now, why are versions important? Crashplan saves versions of your files so if you ever change or delete something you can go back and get the "old version" or the one you accidentally deleted!
The most important thing about these services which allow massive online storage is that they are OFFSITE storage. This is important because even if your house burns to the ground, (I pray to God that never happens to you) all your precious memories and other files on your computer are completely safe out there on the cloud. CrashPlan has serious encryption and "military-grade security standards"
Be aware, backing up even 1 gigabyte can take days... With my high speed internet it took almost 3 months for my 2 terabytes or so of data to back up! I now have gigabit speed internet and I takes only hours to back up huge amounts of data. But, not everyone has 1 Gigabit of uploading speed!
3 – Onsite storage space!
External hard drives come on hundreds if not thousands of varieties. Heck, you can get 500GB thumb/sub drives at this point! External drives are not really a backup plan in and of themselves. (See note above about house burning down). However, they can be a great expansion tool when you need more storage or just for some basic backup incase your computer's internal drive kicks the bucket!
Many drives come with some sort of backup tool, but I would highly recommend using your OS' backup tool.
Apple OSX has had the time machine tool for a long while. Simply attach an external drive (assuming it's formatted properly) and tell the system tools to use it as a time machine backup!
I don't use Windows so good look there!
ALSO! You can use the free version of Crashplan, coupled with an external drive, to manage your back up for you just like time machine does in OSX! There is an option for you Windows people! I'm sure there are plenty of others...
I haven't even touched and multi drive external raid systems. Google it if you have $1000 to drop and/or a business need for serious onsite redundancy.
There are so many ways to back of and store your information, photos, important documents and other files alike. I use these three in tandem all for very specific reasons. You need to decide how you want to store, back up and ensure recovery of your important files. Costs and complications may be limiting factors from time to time. So you may have to compromise somewhere!
Good luck! Comment with any questions or thoughts you may have. This was just a quick glancing overview! I'd love to discuss details!