I will always advocate for printing out your photos and enjoying them in your physical space. However, it is also important to keep your family photos backed up digitally just in case. I beg you to please not let them rot in the digital ether forever, though.
There are a couple of ways to keep your family photos backed up safely. Here’s how:
1. Through Your Client Gallery
If you’re one of my clients, you receive a private online gallery with all of your images from our session(s) together. I’m unable to keep client galleries online indefinitely, but I provide an option to keep it online. I recognise that your online gallery is truly the best place to archive your images for long term access and safekeeping.
If you would like for your gallery to remain online beyond the included 6 months, there is an option for you to purchase a yearly hosting subscription. With this year-round hosting subscription, you can continue to access and download your images. You’ll also have access to seasonal store discounts which are lovely to use for printing images.
To purchase your gallery online hosting, go to your client gallery and then head to the store. Choose the backup product. If you do not wish to purchase this option I would recommend downloading your photos and backing them up using one of the alternative methods listed below.
2. An External Hard Drive
As a photographer, I have quite a few external hard drives of varying sizes to protect and back up my photos safely. There are endless options, but some things to think about when you’re shopping for an external hard drive are:
How many photos you have (or will have) and how much storage space you need
I have hard drives ranging from 1TB to 24TB.
1TB is enough for me to keep about 6 months of photos on as a photographer working with several clients a month. It’s hard to say how many photos that is as the size of your photos will depend on what camera you have and what settings it’s on.
You can always start small and upgrade later if you feel you need more space.
Do you want to travel with your hard drive easily or will it stay in one location?
I have a hard drive with “active” photos on it that I travel around with. I take it with me on trains and from my desk to the sofa. This is a lightweight, 1TB hard drive. I have a protective case for it in case I drop it. The last thing you want is to be on your sofa with your laptop and hard drive looking at photos and reaching for the crisps and for your hard drive to slip and fall and hit the floor thus losing all of your photos. (Totally never happened to me before, she says with sarcasm. As a professional photographer, my “active” client photos are backed up in 3 different locations in case of a situation like this so I never truly lose photos…just the edits I was currently working on.)
If your hard drive will stay in one location, you might opt for a larger sized one that plugs into both the wall socket and your computer. These are usually larger, containing more storage space. I have a RAID drive that stores about 24TB of data. This houses MY LIFE.
3. Cloud Storage
If you’re not a client of mine, want a way to backup photos from outside of our sessions together, or generally want an alternative way to safely store your photos than bulky hard drives, then online cloud storage may be the way to go.
There are a variety of options out there from Dropbox to Google Drive to Amazon Drive and more.
Many online cloud storage platforms offer a limited amount of storage for free. So, if you’re not storing a ton of photos and the file sizes are relatively small, then you may be able to get away with backing up all your photos for free. However, I’ve generally found this to not be the case and that it’s required to purchase additional storage space.
Prices range, so do your research with the different platforms to find what works best for you.
There you have it. Three ways to back up your photos in addition to printing them out. How are you going to keep your family photos backed up safely?