Are you one of those people who think that the solution to backing up your photos is buying new memory cards? If so, you’re not alone; many people think that leaving photos on memory cards is a perfectly safe way to store those precious memories. However, it’s not the safest, and it’s definitely not a cost effective way to safeguard your digital images. Memory cards are not infallible, and all devices will fail eventually.
Here are the different kinds of backup solutions, with pros and cons for each. I use a combination of local backups (using external harddrives) and cloud backups, which offers total peace of mind!
External Hard Drives
What I love!
- Relatively inexpensive – just $65 for the 2TB Western Digital Passport that I use for personal photos, and the super fast Samsung SSD drive that I use professionally is under $200.
- Holds lots of photos
- Small so it takes up very little space on your desk AND it’s portable if needed!
- Easy to use as there is software available to automate the backups (Time Machine for Macs) so you can set it and forget it!
What I don’t:
- Sensitive to drops and bumps – so stick it somewhere where it’s not likely to fall!
- Like any small device, they can fail suddenly with no warning (this is why I always have two backups)
- It’s super expensive to restore corrupted files or damaged drives BUT the likelihood of your main drive AND backup drive failing simultaneously is very, very slim.
Cloud-Based Systems (Dropbox, Google Photos, Amazon Prime Photo Storage, iCloud, BackBlaze, etc)
What I love:
- Often come with big data plans for a reasonable price tag (I pay $10/month for 1TB of space for Dropbox!)
- When backing up mobile phone photos, apps can be configured to “set it and forget it” so your photos automatically back up once a day
- Offers backup of multiple devices
What I don’t:
- Not always a “true” backup solution. In some programs, if you delete a photo on your phone or computer, it also gets deleted in the cloud
- Not as easy as plug and play, does need some technical knowledge to set up
- Concerns about security, hacking or company-wide outages
- Uploading can be slow if you don’t have a strong wifi signal or data plan. The initial backup can take weeks or months!
Most of the programs mentioned here will have free trials that you can test out to see which service fits your needs and your lifestyle. The most important part of backup is…doing it! So be sure to choose a program that is easy to use, and that you are able to maintain.
Questions about backing up your photos? Reach out! I’m happy to answer any questions you have!