I have a 19-month-old daughter that I have taken about a million pictures of since she was born. Obviously these photos are very important and extremely valuable to me and something that I hope to someday pass on to my daughter, so it’s my responsibility to make sure to keep them as safe as possible.
Anything that you have that exists only on your hard drive is in constant danger of being lost forever. Is it likely to happen? Perhaps not, but trust me, you don’t want to be the one who finds out the hard way.
I am a photo freak. I, like everyone else who owns any sort of camera, fancies myself an unpolished, amateur photographer. I love taking photos of what’s going on around me. I am constantly amazed at how easy technology has made it to instantly immortalize what is going on in at any given moment in time.
I want to make sure that ever photo I take is safe. I have enough going on in my life that I don’t want to have to worry about whether or not I could suddenly lose every photo I have of my daughter if my hard drive decides to crap the bed.
You don’t have to be a huge corporation to utilize backups and extra storage to keep your photos safe. Here are a few of the tools I use to do it.
Picasa – Cost: FREE
This tool isn’t specifically for backing up your photos but it is a great desktop organizer and editor for your photos. It easily imports your photos and allows you to create folders on the fly as your images are importing. It also has great facial recognition features that learns to recognize faces which makes it much easier to tag people in a large number of photos. The face recognition also allows you to view your album by “people”. So if you want to see every photo you’ve ever taken of your wife, all you have to do is click her name and you’re all set.
Picasa automatically uses the EXIF data on your photos to organize your albums chronologically and separate them by year. There are also a number of sharing options built in that allow you to share, publish, print or export your photos.
Picasa Web – Cost: FREE
Picasa Web is another Google product. It’s base service is free which actually stores quite a few photos but they also offer very reasonable tiered storage options. Picasa Web integrated seamlessly with Picasa desktop app. Once you have your photos saved in a folder on your hard drive it’s incredible simple to backup your photos to Picasa Web.
With the flick of a switch you can sync your desktop folders with your Picasa Web albums. No dragging and dropping, no file selection, just flip the switch and all your photos are synced to your Picasa Web account.
You can also control what size images you want uploaded. Full-size or a slightly smaller size for faster uploading. Since I’m using it to backup my photos I always upload the full-size. You can also set defaults on who can see each album as it’s created. You can have a “safe list” of people that can see certain albums or you can make other albums public, or you can make them completely private. You’re in control.
External Hard Drive – Cost: $99 – $125
If you want to go one step further and have a tertiary backup system then you may want to spring for an external hard drive. You can get a 1TB hard drive for around $100. To put that into perspective, a 1 TB HD should hold around 500,000 photos depending what megapixel your camera is. Obviously you can spend less and get a smaller hard drive, but either way, don’t be intimidated about backing up your photos. External hard drives are extremely simple to use, often times they can be set up to automatically update whatever folder you choose. So when you add photos to your MY Pictures folder your external hard drive can match up what’s already in there, backup the new ones and take care of all that in the background while you’re checking your email or Tweeting away.
Whether you choose to use any of these tools or not, if you’re storing your photos on your home computer you should definitely be taking steps to safeguard against potentially having them wiped out forever.