Let’s face it, we’re all addicted to taking pictures. We take pictures, we share pictures, we post pictures everywhere. But what about those pictures that mean the most to us? Or what if photography is your livelihood? Whether you’re a regular Joe or photography pro, the good news is that you have a lot of options for keeping your photos safe.
Using more than one method of backup is the best strategy in keeping those treasured moments safe. These next five tips will go a long way in making sure that you never lose a shot, no matter your budget.
1) Social Photo Storage Sites
The most popular photo storage sites include Flickr, Photobucket, Shutterfly, andPicasa. Storage on these sites is free up to a certain point, with an affordable monthly or yearly fee for users who wish to up their storage or bandwidth limits. Your average photographer will find these sites very useful in either the ‘Standard’ or ‘Pro’ format.
Social storage sites are popular for their usability, for their seamless integration with Facebook andTwitter, and also for their portability in offering desktop, tablet and mobile apps, enabling consumers to edit and share on the fly no matter where they are.
Picasa, being a Google product, interfaces easily with various other Google products, making it a desirable storage site for those consumers already enamored with all things Google. All these sites are considered ‘off-premise’, and should be used as a backup to your on-premise digital copies.
2) Cloud Storage Sites
If you still need an off-premise backup without all the social networking or photo editing, then Cloud storage is your new best friend. Photographers with libraries of data will most certainly prefer these sites, since unlimited storage capacity can be had, for a price. Cloud storagesites need an internet connection, and that has to be factored into the final cost.
The ability to access your files from any computer is certainly an advantage, especially for professional photographers who need to be able to display their work for clients all over the world.
Popular cloud storage sites that specialize in digital photo files include Mozy, Google Drive,SkyDrive, and Dropbox. All these sites aim to keep your files private, but you can choose to share through more social networks if you wish. Keep in mind that not all internet companies last forever. Should any off-premise website that you use go out of business, your data would most likely be lost forever.
3) Hard Drives, External Hard Drives, Thumb Drives and Disks
Today’s cameras are becoming increasingly advanced. Cameras with higher resolution and megapixels create larger digital files. The bigger the files, the harder it is to store all of them in the same place. CD’s/DVD’s and thumb (USB Flash) drives are very convenient, but they don’t store a ton of data. Part-time photographers will benefit from the cost-effectiveness and convenience of a USB Flash drive.
Photographers with a higher demand for storage space can try buying the most expensive computer out there with the most hard drive space, or they can simply invest in an external hard drive.External hard drive are the most cost-effective way to add storage space without having to buy a new computer.
They come in different sizes and speeds depending on your needs. The bigger the hard drive, the more you’re going to have to deal with certain issues like power requirements, heat and noise. The main disadvantage of drives that offer ‘on-premise’ storage is that they degrade over time. Having your photos on multiple drives will mitigate that risk.
4) RAID/NAS Systems
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. This technology allows users to create multiple copies of a file across multiple linked hard drives. The overarching strategy remains the same. The more copies of a single file that you possess, the less there is a chance that one single act can destroy all your files. If one of the hard drives becomes corrupted, your backups will remain safe.
A RAID system can be significantly more expensive than having one or two separate external hard drives, but depending on your storage needs, can be much faster and more effective at keeping your photos safe. Having this redundancy allows consumers to fix any problems with certain hard drives while the rest of the system keeps plugging away. TheseRAID systems are recommended for photographers with serious storage demands and deep wallets.
NAS stands for network-attached storage, which operates similarly to RAID, but is connected to your computer through a local area network (LAN) instead of a single plug. This allows the user to connect to their photos without having to drag the standalone RAID system with them. They can be more expensive than their RAID counterparts, but they also don’t need a host computer to function. NAS systems are more useful for photographers with large businesses that require quite a bit of storage capacity while still allowing that person the flexibility and security of downloading those photos from anywhere that connects to that same LAN.
5) When Too Safe isn’t Safe Enough
Most people that try and protect their valuables at home end up buying a safe of some sort. You could buy an external hard drive and put that in a fireproof safe, but why take two steps when you only need one? Enter theIoSafe Solo 3G, a fireproof and waterproof external hard drive with a storage capacity of 3TB. This device is also heavy enough that nobody is going to pick it up and steal it from you.
In the end, managing your photos can be safe and easy no matter if you’re an Average Joe or a true Pro. There are countless products, many of them free of charge. External Hard Drives are finally becoming cost-effective and therefore offer the most bang for your buck for photographers. Technology is a beautiful thing, and as it changes, make sure you stay up to date so that you never lose those precious memories.
About The Author
A former full-time professional photographer, Alyssa enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with those looking to break into the business. A proud resident of the PNW, Alyssa can often be found pursuing thrift shops, taking pictures, or enjoying a venti pumpkin spice latte. You can keep up with Alyssa’s latest adventures via Twitter