Protecting Photos from Disaster

SmugMug Online Photo BackupI’ve thought a lot lately about how devastating it would be to lose all of my photos.  My computer crash last December didn’t help.

I’ve written about backing up photos before.  I keep all of my photos on my hard drive and then a complete set backed up on an external hard drive.

What if my house burns down?  What if we get robbed?  The external hard drive lives in the same house as my computer, so I would be out of luck if either of these things happened.  I started to realize I needed to back up my photos in the cloud.

I started looking for robust photo storage solutions.  I’m not talking about a free photo service where you can upload your photos and order prints (I  never order prints).  I wanted something that would allow me to store my photos and download full-resolution versions for free if I ever needed to.  Facebook doesn’t count – you can’t get your pictures back after you upload them.

DVDs aren’t an option for me.  I could burn my photos on DVDs and keep them somewhere else, but it isn’t scalable for me.  I have over 20,000 photos.  That takes several DVDs.  Plus, I want to be able to upload photos immediately, not once every few months or so.  Finally, DVDs can get stale if they’re not used for a while.

I’ve decided to try SmugMug on the recommendation of a friend of mine.  There’s a nominal annual fee, but I can keep an unlimited amount of photos in my account.  I can download full resolution photos whenever I want.  I can also share links with friends and let them download full resolution photos.

So far so good.  I’m working on uploading all 20,000 of my pictures.  It’s already starting to put my mind at ease.  I’ll report back and let you know how it goes!

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4 thoughts on “Protecting Photos from Disaster

  1. This looks like a cool site. I’ve been looking into options myself. I worry about my EHD all the time. I’ve had mine for years now and I know it will die eventually. I need to have a backup for the backup and this looks interesting. How quickly are you able to upload? I have roughly the same number of photos and was worried it might take months to get them uploaded. I don’t mind doing it a little at time but would be nice if it’s a quick process. Thanks for the info!

    • SmugMug was the highest recommendation from my techie friend if I just wanted to store photos (as opposed to other docs – I store those in Google Docs). I like that I’m able to view the albums online and download hi res pictures from anywhere.

      Uploading was a process. I found that I really couldn’t do anything else internet-related on the computer while uploading (but I could do things non-internet like use the Silhouette). I just finished the uploads and it took me 2-3 weeks for everything. I uploaded them in small batches by event. I think it will depend on how fast your internet connection is. I just kept plugging away any free time I had – I would set a bunch to upload and then make dinner, for example. Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions!

    • I decided the external hard drive wasn’t enough because if there is a disaster such as my house burning down or getting robbed, the external hard drive is gone too.

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