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No Need to Over Think: How to Back up Digital Photos

Family photos, professional photos, hobby photos, and photos that are just for fun are all loaded safe and sound on your hard drive. While hard drives can be secure and large enough to hold the amount of pictures you upload, the problems arise when your computer is compromised (your hard drive fails) and your digital photos cannot be recovered. Once the photos are gone, they’re gone, but you can prevent this tragedy from happening by backing up your photos using one or all of the following easy to use, little thought necessary methods.

Put ‘Em in a Bucket: Online Photo Sharing

Online photo sharing site is one of the most popular ways memory keepers back up their photos. Not only do online photo sharing sites store the photos you upload, they also allow you to create photo albums that can be sent to email recipients, or you can choose to get creative and make mugs, blankets, key chains, and sundry with pictures of your favorite beagle on them. Photo sharing sites are also great places to get your photos printed and sent to you in the mail. Having hard copies of your photos on hand is a great way to keep them safe.
A few online photo sharing sites:
• Shutterfly
• Snapfish (must make at least one purchase per year to keep your account active)
• Flickr (there is a $1.87 fee for PRO membership which gives you access to unlimited uploads and storage)
• Kodak Gallery (must make at least one purchase a year to keep your account open)
• Photobucket (there is a $2.99 per month fee for a PLUS membership which will give you access to 20GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth (upload speed))
Make sure to register for each site so that you have access to the higher resolutions for photo printing.

Storing Outside the Box: External Hard Drive

Backing up your digital photos on an external hard drive is easy, choosing what type of hard drive to use might be a little harder. We can go into detail about the different types of hard drives on the market, but that is a totally different article. Instead we will just tell you a few basic things to look for in your ideal photo storage hard drive.

Digital photos take up a lot of space on storage devices so the external hard drive should be at least 750GB, but a larger one (1 to 2TB) would be even better. Depending on the ports you have available on your computer, you can use a FireWire, USB or Thunderbolt external hard drives. Some hard drives have multiple interfaces available.

If your photos are top secret, or if they are a crucial part of your business, you will want to buy an encrypted hard drive which means that no one can see your digital photos unless they have the decryption key or password. A bonus: most external hard drives come with software that will actually schedule regular data dumps; automatically saving your photos or other data to the hard drive. That means you can back up your precious memories even when you don’t remember to save them to the hard drive specifically. The cost of a good external hard drive can be as low as $70 to $100.
When you back up your digital photos on an external hard drive, your photos will be safe in the event of your computer crashing or the computer hard drive failing.

Tried and True: Storing on Blank Disks

If your device has a CD, DVD, or BluRay burner, the old back up stand-by is the blank disk. Before you run out to buy a cheap pack of disks, keep in mind that there is a difference between CDs and DVDs and different types of each. The difference between a CD and a DVD is that DVDs have a much larger storage capacity (usually around 4.75GB) which is why they are used to store movies whereas CDs (with a 700MB storage capacity) are used mainly for document files and music. If you want to back up large quantities of digital photos, your best bet is to use a DVD.

DVDs come in two basic blank disk types: DVD-R and DVD-RW. The DVD-R is a DVD that can be used once. Once the photos have been recorded to the DVD you can never add or delete photos. This type of DVD is ideal if you are giving them away as gifts but aren’t very useful for backing up digital photos over and over again. The DVD-RW is perfect for backing up digital photos because you can use the same disk to repeatedly store (add and delete) digital photos.

You can find blank DVDs in bulk online or you can purchase packs in a variety of quantities (DVD-R and DVD-RW) at your local Walmart or RadioShack.

Storing in the Clouds: Online Data Storage

Online data storage has risen to popularity quickly since the advent of “the cloud.” The cloud is a form of online data storage that allows the user to upload data from any device and store it outside of any device. That means that you can back up your digital photos without using an external hard drive or blank DVD, or having to painstakingly upload each photo to a photo sharing site. When you back up your digital photos in the cloud, your photos are actually stored on HUGE secure servers in any number of places around the world. The beauty of cloud storage is that you have unlimited access to unlimited storage space (depending on how much you want to spend) on a secure server.

One of the most popular online data storage (cloud) providers is Carbonite. Carbonite is a huge hit with people who store large amounts of important data (document files, music files, digital photo files) on their computers but want everything backed up automatically. A yearly subscription to Carbonite will run you $60, but that is pittance to pay when you consider that everything you save on your computer will be automatically stored, safe and sound, in the Cloud – away from computer crashes, hard drive failures, disk destroying fires, and dropped external hard drives.
Backing up your important digital photos is easy. Pick your back up storage method. Do as instructed. Stop thinking so hard.


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