As a photographer, you probably have folders full of images that mean a lot to you, from special vacations to day-to-day moments with your loved ones. Once you get those photos off of your camera and onto your computer, the next crucial step is to protect them from getting lost with some simple backup solutions.
Protecting Your Photos with a Backup Strategy
To keep their images safe, all photographers should implement what we call the “backup trinity”:
A well-organized hard drive that stores all of your photos. For laptop users, this should be an external drive; for those who have desktop computers, this can be an external drive or an internal one. Internal drives are great, but should be at least 1TB or larger (not common very common and can be $$$). Imagine this being like your wallet, where you can easily get access to your money if you need it.
A copy of your hard drive on another external device that stays at home and you back up every 2–4 weeks weeks/monthly as a redundancy—we cover this stage, along with data asset management for photo organization, extensively in our Lightroom I class. Think of this as important financial paperwork that you keep in a fireproof safe in your house.
Off-site cloud storage run by a third-party source that is responsible for keeping it safe. Think of this as a safety deposit box at the bank where you keep valuables.
Today, we’ll go over step #3 in detail.
Cloud Storage Options
An often-overlooked step, cloud storage is an almost fail-proof way to protect your photos from being lost. It does come with added up-front price tag, but when you consider the alternative—data recovery services than can cost upwards of $1,000 to maybe retrieve some or all of your photos from a damaged hard drive or after accidental deletion—the cost is nominal and the peace of mind is priceless.
Here are some common cloud storage solutions that we recommend; 2 terabytes (TB) is a good amount to aim for. Backing up isn’t one size fits all, so do some exploring and see what works best for you!
Great for: Amazon Prime members (it’s free to you!)
Pros: Unlimited, full-resolution photo storage (there is a limit on video)
Cons: Because you upload your content over the internet, set-up will be slow on your initial upload
Price: Free to Amazon Prime members
Great for: Those who already use Dropbox for business/personal reasons and are familiar with the interface
Pros: A fairly inexpensive solution starting at less than $10/month for 1 TB of data
Cons: Limited features; less value for the money
Price: $99/year for 1TB (Dropbox Plus), $199/year for 2 TB (Dropbox Professional)
Great for: Those who already have Google accounts (so, lots of us, as Gmail has 1.5 billion users at last count)
Pros: Even more inexpensive than Dropbox at $10/month for 2TB
Cons: Can be a little trickier than Dropbox to navigate, but you get more for your money
Price: $10/mo for 2 TB, $99/mo for 10 TB
Great for: Those who are interested in or already using Adobe’s photo software platforms
Pros: Includes Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC, and Adobe Lightroom Classic; keep all your photography services under one vendor; excellent customer service
Cons: Less bang for your buck in terms of storage; less familiar user interface than other like Google or Dropbox
Price: $20/mo for 1 TB and three programs