Photo storage recommendations

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Hanna
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#1
Hello. I’m a newbie here. I’m also not a professional photographer but would greatly appreciate your advice.

I am just a mum who loves taking photos of my two girls as they grow. Subsequently, I have been storing digital images and videos taken on my iPhone on two separate 2TB Seagate hard drives. I have 4-5 years worth of memories on there which are incredibly precious. My seagate harddrives are now full.

I’m aware that apple offer storage but I think I would need to pay £7 a month for this. I worry that one day I might not get access or what will happen if I no longer use apple products.

Would anyone be able to answer my questions please?
*would storing them on iCloud with apple be the safest option? Or should I repurchase another two harddrives?

*Is storing the photos on two separate harddrives the safest option in case one dies? I have one as a back up- thank goodness I did as one day I dropped one and had to buy another to back up.

*are mains powered external harddrives better than just usb plug in ones?

Thank you for any help. I’m quite anxious about losing any memories in the form of photos and videos. My phone fills up quickly and I transfer them on the harddrives then delete them. I’m sure I take too many photos but I get so much joy from sharing them with my girls
 
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Dougie
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#2
Hi Hanna,

Your approach in having multiple drives is sound. Cloud storage would be an additional great resource.

Personally, I would buy a couple of higher capacity usb drives, transfer all your existing content to these then retain your older drives as a further backup.

I'm not familiar with the current best cloud options, I use a Synology Diskstation on my local network with 2 mirrored 2 Terabyte drives.

Have a look at the Synology stuff if you want something more than just storage. Keeps it local as well.

Other opinions and options are of course available.

Dougie.

p.s. Welcome to the forum. Great resource.
 
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#3
Hi Hanna and welcome to TP

In general I second what @Snapper67 says but add this thought into the mix because I was unsure from your post as to whether your two current drives were two copies of the same files or just two drives that you have filled up!

As you say, your family photos are precious to you. A backup of the files is best done with at least two drives that have identical files.....with one stored off site (a relative or other safe/trusted location). And as a future proof added protection.....get prints made of your most precious memories, again as more than one copy in safe keeping at two locations.

Only you can know just how precious they are to you......as such that is why you ideally never keep your multiple copies of the backups in the same place:)

HTH and best of luck with creating & saving your family memories.

Edit ~ sorry just re-read your post and you do say one is a backup (exact copy) of the other one.......so I will just repeat, don't keep both copies in the same location. I trust the reason for that is obvious.
 
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Hanna
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#4
Thank you. Yes they are two identification copies. I find it quite time consuming to transfer the files but hopefully worth it. Im intending on making photo books with them too so we have paper copies. Just haven’t got round to that yet! Need to do it as a priority.
Thanks again
 
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Chris
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#5
If you want to go down the line of cloud storage and social media integration you could have a look at zenfolio ( https://zenfolio.com/uk/signup ).
The basic plan gives you unlimited storage for £5/month and from my experience it does not tend to increase in price.
 
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Hanna
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#6
Hi Hanna,

Your approach in having multiple drives is sound. Cloud storage would be an additional great resource.

Personally, I would buy a couple of higher capacity usb drives, transfer all your existing content to these then retain your older drives as a further backup.

I'm not familiar with the current best cloud options, I use a Synology Diskstation on my local network with 2 mirrored 2 Terabyte drives.

Have a look at the Synology stuff if you want something more than just storage. Keeps it local as well.

Other opinions and options are of course available.

Dougie.

p.s. Welcome to the forum. Great resource.
thank you for this. Could you explain to me- is this like a cloud system? Do you just use 2TB? I’m just thinking if I bought this, my system would be full straight away.

When you say- a few higher capacity usb drives, are they more robust that the external harddrives I have? I’m just trying to find the most robust system so I appreciate your comments. Thank you
 
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Hanna
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#8
I can’t even think about losing the photos. Surely it’s quite unlikely that both external harddrives would become corrupt?!
So it’s just thinking about what I continue with next- cloud storage or more external harddrives?
 
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#9
I can’t even think about losing the photos. Surely it’s quite unlikely that both external harddrives would become corrupt?!
So it’s just thinking about what I continue with next- cloud storage or more external harddrives?
its not if they fail it is when, if they are the same age I have found they usually go together, we now ensure our drives are changed ensuring. 5000 hour gap in their timeline.

easiest option, £12 a month, get a unlimited Box account, simply drop your images into the folder on your desktop, this creates a backup locally, the software then sends your images to your box account. plent of others work this way, but we found box to be quite robost.
 
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#10
Thank you. One question about the cloud storage option- I’ve got into the habit of taking anything between 3 and 20 photos of the same thing (it comes with having a moving baby and trying to get the best shot) so if I upload everything to a cloud storage then go and delete lots, does it save the ones I’ve deleted from my phone, or does it save my edited collection? Also could I upload my 2TB harddrives to a cloud storage? Or is it just from my phone?
£12 a month is quite pricey in the long run as I don’t think I would ever not pay it. Surely things like that would continue for life?
 
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Clint
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#11
I hope you don’t mind me saying this. Whilst it’s great taking so many photos and storing them, I would fear that trying to go through them and looking for a specific one would be akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. I would recommend some sort of digital asset management software to keep track.
 
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John
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#12
Hi Hanna,

Do you have an Amazon Prime subscription? If you do then it is worth looking at Amazon's photo storage - unlimited cloud storage for photos in included in the Amazon Prime subscription.
 
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Rob
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#13
For proper backup the 3-2-1 backup rule is a good idea to follow:

keep at least three (3) copies of your data, and store two (2) backup copies on different storage media, with one (1) of them located offsite.


Hard drives will fail at some point. Cloud storage just means someone else is dealing with the hard drive failures and ensuring the data is kept safe.

For personal use something like Flickr may be a good idea coupled with hard drives at home. Im not 100% sure of the current price but it was something like £40-50 a year when I last looked. It’s basically storing your images in the ‘cloud’ but with the added benefit you can put them in digital albums when can be made private, public or limited access to others.

The big question to ask is whether you will ever be happy losing everything. If not then several hard drives at home plus cloud storage will be a possible solution.
 
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Hanna
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#14
I hope you don’t mind me saying this. Whilst it’s great taking so many photos and storing them, I would fear that trying to go through them and looking for a specific one would be akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. I would recommend some sort of digital asset management software to keep track.
Yes I definitely need to delete some and work through them.
 
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#15
For proper backup the 3-2-1 backup rule is a good idea to follow:

keep at least three (3) copies of your data, and store two (2) backup copies on different storage media, with one (1) of them located offsite.


Hard drives will fail at some point. Cloud storage just means someone else is dealing with the hard drive failures and ensuring the data is kept safe.

For personal use something like Flickr may be a good idea coupled with hard drives at home. Im not 100% sure of the current price but it was something like £40-50 a year when I last looked. It’s basically storing your images in the ‘cloud’ but with the added benefit you can put them in digital albums when can be made private, public or limited access to others.

The big question to ask is whether you will ever be happy losing everything. If not then several hard drives at home plus cloud storage will be a possible solution.
Thank you. I think I will need to buy more harddrives and look into cloud storage too
 
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Hanna
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#16
I’ve spent a few days looking at cloud storage. All seems very costly especially if I am buying 2 harddrives too and replacing them- but like I say, these photos are very special to me. I’ve come across pcloud. They are offering a lifetime service of 2TB for £350. Has anyone any thoughts on this?
 
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#17
Hey Hanna , hope my two pennies worth is not overload , and my opinions may vary and not agree with others . But here you go . I have used Seagate Drives for years and touch wood have had only one fail , ( hope I`m not tempting providence ) . I would use drives you don`t have to plug into the mains as I believe these have less moving parts and are less likely to break down . They also take up a lot less space . It`s suggested you keep your two drives in separate places , in case of god forbid disasters happen , ie fire , flood or theft for examples . I don`t use any form of cloud storage , and am not knocking it , but I think any online service can fold , and would assume your images would fail along with the company . I used to use Photo bucket , this failed and returned but I believe many lost their images . The £350 sounds a good deal for lifetime service , hopefully you will get some good replies on that . I seriously suggest you start organising your photos , as as mentioned it will give you a headache at some point trying to trace certain images . I would put them into year , and sub folder them into month and content . Delete all the out of focus and where you have chopped bits off you wish you hadn`t unless they are very sentimental , this will save you some space . Hope that`s of some help .
 
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Hanna
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#18
Thank you very much for your reply. I have organised my folders by date thankfully. It is very time consuming but it is done that way. I’m just very concerned about both drives failing. It’s all ifs and buts. Yes cloud storage can fail or fold too. I really appreciate your reply. Do you use two hadddrives then?
 
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Rich
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#19
I believe the newer SSD hard drives are much less likely to fail than the mechanical older HDD versions
Also check your ISP, might give you some cloud space, know BT does, I don't use it so not sure how much.
 
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Jim
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#21
Another for Amazon Prime
 
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Jim
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#23
The £7.99 you pay for amazon prime next day delivery- does that automatically let you save photos on the cloud?
Yes, unlimited jpg storage.
You can also pay an annual £79
 
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Jim
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#25
I was thinking about this - really back up RAW's and final TIFFs which puts me off. Great for casual photographers but really I go with the 321 rule posted earlier.
I'm not sure what you mean but we are talking backup here for images taken on a phone. I do events and can take 1K images per event so I very rarely shoot raw, it's a waste of time and space for me. I have 475,000 images on Amazon Drive. Regarding the 3-2-1 method, only one of them is a backup, the other two are copies.
 
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Hanna
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#26
I’m going to buy 2 more external hard drives and set up amazon photo. Any recommendations for the best external hard drive please? Should I get a mains powered one or not? I’m looking to get 4tb. Any advice? I’ve been looking at seagate and Wd ones on amazon
 
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#27
*would storing them on iCloud with apple be the safest option? Or should I repurchase another two harddrives?
iCloud is really more of an online storage, not an online backup. The difference is, online storage as the name implies, is storing your files on the cloud, as if it was another folder. It's more suited for people who wants to upload any files, including photos, to the cloud, so they can be somewhere else, and use someone else's computer to access them. Like visiting a friend, and using your friend's computer, to access your own online storage to show off the holiday photos.

Online backup services, as the name implies, is really more suited for copying your files to the cloud as backup, in case you lose the originals.

In either case, your data (your photos) is on someone else's hard drives, that is, the company's hard drives. You have control over your photos, but you don't have control over their hard drives. If anything happens to their hard drives, you could lose your data.


*Is storing the photos on two separate harddrives the safest option in case one dies? I have one as a back up- thank goodness I did as one day I dropped one and had to buy another to back up.
Yes. Always have a primary backup and a secondary backup. Here's an important tip: Always have the secondary backup hard drive off-site meaning stored somewhere else away from the home. At a family member's home, in a safe deposit box at a bank, in the garage, or even in the garden shed if needed. The idea is if your home (touch wood it won't happen) were to burn up and you lose your primary backup, your secondary backup should be safe if it was not burned down with the house.


*are mains powered external harddrives better than just usb plug in ones?
Does not really matter, it really depends on your lifestyle, workspace, storage location, etc. In my case: I have a mains power external HDD attached to my computer, for the primary backup. And I have an USB plug-in external HDD locked up in the outdoor building, as secondary backup.
 
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Rob
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#28
iCloud is really more of an online storage, not an online backup. The difference is, online storage as the name implies, is storing your files on the cloud, as if it was another folder. It's more suited for people who wants to upload any files, including photos, to the cloud, so they can be somewhere else, and use someone else's computer to access them. Like visiting a friend, and using your friend's computer, to access your own online storage to show off the holiday photos.

Online backup services, as the name implies, is really more suited for copying your files to the cloud as backup, in case you lose the originals.

In either case, your data (your photos) is on someone else's hard drives, that is, the company's hard drives. You have control over your photos, but you don't have control over their hard drives. If anything happens to their hard drives, you could lose your data.
I agree it’s another step to implementing a good home backup system but I doubt any iCloud storage will be a single hard drive. It’s likely to be stored in the same commercial data centres as cloud backup storage with multiple layers layers of protection and copies on multiple sites. You are trusting them to manage the data storage for you (but you’re paying them to do so) which is a good and a bad thing. For some it’s probably a better option than trying to maintain your own backup system at home, especially if they are using a single hard drive kept next to the computer. The biggest downside side will be speed of access especially if you have multiple TB’s and slow internet speeds. Backups at home give you instant access.

Adobes new cloud storage lightroom plan is probably a good example. I doubt thats single layer cloud storage as there would be uproar from photographers when a hard drive enviably fails and loses all there data.
 
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#31
I stick with well known branded makes but, as with everything, there's always the chance of getting a 'one off' that's going to fail sooner than the rest of the batch. I think all you can do is buy good quality stuff and hope for the best. It's a bit like the joke about the person who bought a waterproof, fireproof, antimagnetic, radiation proof and frost proof watch... they lost it! There is always something that can go wrong! You could buy the best made mechanical hard drive in the world, but then drop it! :facepalm:

As for cloud storage, who's to say that a company that currently provides cloud storage won't suffer a loss of data (due to a fire in their server building or the activities of a hacker for instance), or go out of business during the next 20 or 30 years and leave you with nothing? You can only do so much. Storing your files on two or three different storage devices/mediums and keeping them in separate places is probably about as much as you can reasonably do, but nothing is totally forever! For long-term storage on a physical hard drive, I'd think about keeping a copy of my most important files on at least one solid state drive (particularly as these become more affordable) as mechanical hard drives might be more prone to long-term failure over the decades. Once again, only time will tell... and by that time it will be too late to do much about it!

I'd also think about sorting through my photos and selecting the best ones that I really wanted to keep. 1TB is a lot of images; will you ever have the time to look through them all? Also, unless you've spent a lot of time indexing them all, in 20 years time how long will it take you to find that one photo you remember on a 4TB drive?
 
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Steve France
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#32
Hi,
I am new to photography but own an IT company and been building PC's for photographers (Pro & Am) for 20 years. I have found Netgear NAS (network attached storage) to be a proven favourite with options from mirrored 2Tb upto RAID 5 24Tb. Personally I would avoid SSD as they have predefined life and from bitter experience when they fail they fail big time whereas data can almost always be recovered from traditional disks (albeit at a cost).

Again a mix with cloud storage is a good idea, but again I have customers who have lost access to their files and no end of problems getting it back !! FBI seized the server as part of an investigation and refused to give it back to his provider - apparently !

Like you I am taking lots of photos at a time, however, I sue Lightroom to select the best and bin the rest, even then in 6 months I have over 1000 and now need to start cataloguing !!
 
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#34
To add another idea regarding cloud backup.

I feel that most of the solutions shown before are too pricey and have too many bells and whistles. For me my cloud backup is the “last fail safe”. I also have multiple hard drives. I don’t intend to ever use the cloud backup, unless everything else fails.

I’ve gone with amazon glacier for this, a professional long term storage solution. It’s got some downsides (it can take up to a day to get your data back from there, because they don’t actually stay wired to the network. That’s called “cold storage” and I guess that’s why they named their service glacier). But it’s incredibly cheap (less than £1 a month for me at the moment for hundreds of gb). I think of all the providers I currently trust amazon the most to be around for a while. I upload encrypted batches. nd I hope I’ll never need it.

Just as an extra idea!
cheers
 
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#35
Thank you very much for your reply. I have organised my folders by date thankfully. It is very time consuming but it is done that way. I’m just very concerned about both drives failing. It’s all ifs and buts. Yes cloud storage can fail or fold too. I really appreciate your reply. Do you use two hadddrives then?
Sorry for late reply , yes back everything up onto two drives , I am up to twenty plus now . They are all in order but there is loads I can delete from them when I get the chance to rummage through them . I wouldn`t put all my Eggs in one basket by buying huge drives , I normally stick to two terabyte drives , try and get in the habit of deleting all the rough stuff before you save them to the drives , and try and be ruthless with the deleting . ;)

Printing is good and quite cheap these days , those books from PhotoBox and the likes are superb , and another good back up and fun to look back on . I recommend that too . :)
 
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Hanna
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#36
I’ve just ordered two Seagate external harddrives drives. I’ve been debating whether to get the ones which plug into the mains or not. Ended up going with ones which plug into the mains. Hope I’ve done the safest thing. Thanks
 
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