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Picture it: Your Kitchen, 2022...
...you're minding your own business, washing dishes in the sink, innocently watching murder documentaries on your phone, and then SPLOOSH! Phone takes an unexpected bath? (No? Just me? Ok then.)
Or maybe you booted up your laptop and got the dreaded blue screen of death? You didn't even do anything to it! Rude.
These are just 2 of the bajillions of scenarios that can lead to image loss and device failure. These things happen! And they happen more often than you would think. Just today, a client reached out saying her phone had broken and she had lost her precious newborn photos. Please tell me there is a way to replace them!? (Which was the reminder I needed to make this post!)
First off: YES. I got you. I'm diligent with my image backup plans over here and I never, ever, delete your images. I can't even count the amount of times I have had to replace images for clients, and I love being able to hand you a breath of relief when image loss occurs. But, it's so important to have your own image backup plan that you can utilize for your household.
This sweet baby girl is upset because you don't have a safe backup strategy!
So How Can I Back Up My Images?
My personal back up solution is as follows:
- Print your images
- Back up to an external hard drive
- Clone that hard drive
- Upload to the cloud
Let's look a bit more in-depth at how to achieve this!
1. Printing Your Images
There are many online photo labs available, and I have 2 faves for different purposes.
- When printing professional photos, a great consumer lab is Mpix. The print quality is very good and there is a mobile app available for direct purchase from your device. I would choose E-Surface paper. This paper is archival, meaning the print itself is meant to last over the years. Mpix has a customer chat that connects you to an actual person....a major plus in my book! Mpix will store your images online for 400 days.
- When printing casual snapshots you took yourself, a good solution is Shutterfly. While the print quality isn't quite as good as mpix, it definitely suffices for cell phone snapshots. There is also a mobile app, and the best part... unlimited 4x6's (in batches of 250 qty) for free! You just pay shipping. Shutterfly also offers unlimited free cloud storage and as of this writing, there was no time limit on their storage. Shutterfly also has a customer chat, and while you are able to eventually talk to a person... you have to chat with a bot first to get there. Meh.
(Note: Mpix is not the lab my studio utilizes for professional prints purchased through me, but it is a great consumer level lab that you can access on your own. Prints purchased through me are available to professional photographers only and of the highest quality.)
Conclusion: Mpix wins in terms of quality, Shutterfly wins in terms of cost. Use mpix for your pro prints (unless you get them printed through me...which is the best option of all!) and use Shutterfly for your casual, everyday, cell phone snaps. ***ALWAYS have a print release from your photographer***
2. Back Up to an External Hard Drive
Never assume that your images are safe in 1 location. Devices fail, and even cloud storage can go kaput. External Hard Drives are an affordable, high volume way to back up your images. For about $60 you can get a 2TB external hard drive that works like a flash drive. Just plug it into your usb port and voila... drag and drop your files to back them up! Easy!
I recommend this one here:
3. Clone That Hard Drive
Copy/paste the instructions from rule #2 above. Buy a 2nd hard drive, and make it an identical clone of the other hard drive. As with any technology, Hard drives can fail and they can fail without warning. Sometimes the data is recoverable, sometimes it's not. I can promise it will cost more than $60 to recover it tho... so just buy another drive and make yourself a copy!
4. Upload to the Cloud
You might be thinking, "why do I need to do ALL these things?" when you could just pick one option and run with it, right? The answer is, technology fails. All the time. Even cloud storage. Data can corrupt, servers can crash... yikes. If that ever happens, enter your external hard drives! Hopefully your backups can save the day. But what if your hard drive crashes/corrupts or what if (God forbid) your house burns down? Enter cloud storage! Cloud storage offers off site data storage, which is great when you need to access data away from home.
TLDR: Print your photos, back them up to 2 hard drives that are clones of each other, and also upload to the cloud. You've now got back ups to your back ups and if 1 should fail, you've got a soft place to fall. :)