Back Up Your Photos Four Ways!
(Or Choose One And Go With It)

If your phone takes a plunge into a puddle, you’re going to wish you’d backed up your irreplaceable photos…

The video from the time you met Oprah. Photos from the top of Mt. Everest. A timelapse of your first place win at the donut eating contest.

Don’t wait until you wish you would have backed up your photos.

We’ve compiled our four favorite backup solutions, their pros, their cons and their how-to’s. Turns out it’s easy and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Do not wait until your computer is actually on fire. That is entirely too late.

Find A Way That Suits You, Back Up Your Photos Today

External Hard Drive

beforeHow to: Buy an external hard drive. Plug it into your computer and copy your folders full of photos onto it. Easy peasy.

Cool! You can store anything on a hard drive, not just photos. Also, you can take your files with you without schlepping your entire computer. Since it lives at your house, once this whole internet fad passes you’ll still have digital data.

Not Cool. It’s a big upfront investment, money-wise. You can’t browse your files on a phone. If you’re working on a laptop, you have to remember to plug your hard drive in every now and then (even if you’ve got software remembering to run backups for you). Finally, since it lives at your house, if catastrophe/burglary befalls your computer, it might just take your hard drive too. Eek.

Co$t: one time $50-$200 for a hard drive

The Cloud

beforeHow to: A cloud service is a company that owns a bunch of hard drives (they call ‘em servers, cuz they’re fancy like that). You pay them a bit of cash and they back up your photos over the internet.

Cool! No need to remember to plug anything in or back up after you take new photos. It’s done for you any time your computer is connected to wifi. We really like Crashplan. It’s one of the least spendy services, and you get unlimited backup for your entire computer (not just photos) and all storage connected to your computer. They even have a mobile app to access your files from your phone!

Not Cool. It’s only backing up your computer. You still need to remember to sync your phone to your computer, so the photos you’re taking on your phone are going into their safe second home in the cloud.

Co$t: about $5 per month


beforeHow to: Upload every photo you’ve ever taken to Flickr. They give every user 1 terabyte of storage (1 TB = 1024 GB). You can upload about 500,000 full-res pix!

Cool! Well, it’s free. Also, there’s so much space you’ll likely never fill it. We like that you can access your photos from the Flickr mobile app, organize your photos in sets, share ‘em with friends and get comments. You can also set your account to private if you’re only using it as backup. You can even have the Flickr app automatically upload every photo you take with your phone.

Not Cool. Flickr is only for photos, not other files. There is no setting to automatically back up photos from your computer, but there are several ways (listed in this handy blog post) to move large batches of photos to a Flickr account. It’s up to you to remember to do it.

Co$t: FREE!

Physical Copies… Prints!

beforeHow to: Print your photographs onto paper! This might not be a solution for every single one of your photos, but it’s a nice way to keep copies of some of your faves. We like the service Piccolo. They print up your 20 best photos every month and mail them to your house.

Cool! Hold ‘em in your hands! Pass them down to your grandkids. In a post-apocolyptic electricity-free world, you’ll still have your precious memories.

Not Cool. The colors will fade over the years, you might just lose a box of them or drop some down a well. You should probably combine this option with one of the digital options above.

Co$t: about 15¢ per print or $10 monthly for Piccolo

Thanks for the CC photos Karen and Lisa!