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How Do You Store Your Personal Photos?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the and-where-do-you-put-the-negatives? dept.

Data Storage 680

mxhf writes "I just came back from a four-week vacation to Mexico. This is the country for Aztecs and Maya Ruins and we visited plenty of them. Needless to say we took thousands of pictures with two cameras. Having arrived back home I realize that my hard-disk does not have enough space left to hold the additional 16GB that I collected on the other side of the globe. Now, my hard disk already is 250GB. I work exclusively on a laptop and do not want to change this. I know that there are larger disks today. But I figured that the time has come to finally move my image collection from my laptop to somewhere else. But where should I go? So, how do you store your photo collections? And how do you keep backups? These are obviously images that I want to keep for my life. So the need to survive fires, burglaries, etc. I think the amount of data I have rules online storage out. Should I just get two USB disks and leave one at a reasonably save location? I think this must be a common problem today. And yes — before you ask — I do know that the first thing to do is to go through your collection and dump what is not worth keeping."

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USB Drive, SAN/NAS, LTO ... (5, Informative)

adam (1231) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945072)

In your case, since it sounds like you don't create that much data, you'd probably be fine picking up a couple of portable USB drives (2.5" drive, powered over USB = tiny). For consumer use, the Samsung Goflex 1TB [] (the 2.5" version) is around $100, widely available, and works great in my experience. Buy two. Use one as your master repository, one as a backup of that, and keep the second in a water-proof container (hint: try rubbermaid containers, they're waterproof and cost about $4), locked in an inexpensive fire safe, safety deposit box, or at a nearby friend's or relative's house. If you aren't needing to store more than 64GB of material then you could substitute "thumb drive" or "CF/SD card and reader" for portable USB drive ... solid state media will be 'safer' for long-term storage but obviously afford less space-per-dollar.

A better option, but beyond what you wanted is a SAN/NAS. Drobo makes some decent products, and I currently have a DroboFS [] at my home, loaded with 2TB drives. This gives me a little over 7TB of RAID storage to backup all my footage, images, documents, and so forth. It's network addressable, so any of the several machines in my house (both Mac and Windows) can access it. The total cost (Drobo + drives) was around $1100 or $1200 iirc. The downside to the FS is that its max transfer speed is around 20MB/sec, but they do offer other models [] with transfer speeds that are better suited to live editing — I only use the FS for backup, I have 4TB [in the machine I am posting from now] dedicated to live editing. The Drobo is nice, imo, because it's a consumer-oriented appliance (with RAID built in) that can take any SATA drive, will allow you to mix and match drive capacities on the fly, and they offer 'Time Machine' style automated backups (along with other apps) if you want that sort of thing. Beyond the Drobo, I also do separate backups to portable drives and keep them offsite (as I mentioned above), just as an extra level of paranoia in case my house burns down. If you are really paranoid or into safety, LTO [] would be a better way to go for this.

Actually, given how little data you (the original poster) might need to backup, an old LTO machine bought on craigslist (LTO 1 will do 100GB, 2 does 200GB) might be the solution. The tapes are relatively cheap, and the format is both open and reverse-compatible for a few generations (so when your LTO 1 craigslist machine dies you can buy an LTO 2 or 3 machine from the same venue and still access your content (and then migrate it forward to LTO 2 or 3)).

Re:USB Drive, SAN/NAS, LTO ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945114)

> A better option, but beyond what you wanted is a SAN/NAS

That is no substitute for a backup.

Re:USB Drive, SAN/NAS, LTO ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945210)

Who the fuck would set up a SAN for personal photos?

Re:USB Drive, SAN/NAS, LTO ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945348)

Who the fuck would set up a SAN for personal photos?

this is slashdot...

Re:USB Drive, SAN/NAS, LTO ... (3, Informative)

HotBits (1390689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945282)

1- Don't erase any images from the memory card except the useless ones (like those with the lens cap on). Get a new card when full. This is much cheaper than film and developing was just a few years ago.

2- When card is full, or when you get back from a trip like that, copy all the images to an external USB hard disk.

3- Every once in a while (once per year at least), do a system backup to the external USB hard drive, encrypt anything that might be embarrassing, and send the drive to your Mom for off-site storage.

Re:USB Drive, SAN/NAS, LTO ... (5, Funny)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945416)

and send the drive to your Mom for off-site storage.

How is upstairs off-site?

Re:USB Drive, SAN/NAS, LTO ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945442)

Send the drive to your Mom for off-site storage.

Really? Upstairs is considered to be off-site?

Re:USB Drive, SAN/NAS, LTO ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945298)

Let's see...

All images are imported into iPhoto. (Site 1, Copy 1)
From there there are exported to a directory on a per-event basis. (Site 1, Copy 2 - though on the same drive as Copy 1)
From there, all pictures are rsynced to my home NAS (RAID-1). (Site 1, Copy 3)
From there, all pictures are rsynced to a remote account. (Site 2, Copy 4)
Additionally, I have an online backup account which my main machine gets backed up to. (Site 3, Copy 5)

Re:USB Drive, SAN/NAS, LTO ... (1)

bobetov (448774) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945306)

I recently purchased a Bubba 2, 2TB capacity. It is network-enabled, so you can leave it on and plugged in all the time, and supports remote mounting from OSX, Windows and Linux. Very sexy little box, with nice Web-based GUI for managing it and a smorgasbord of OSS services enabled (eg music streaming, email cache-and-forward, etc. etc.)

It's quiet and problem free after 3 months. Not too pricey, either (~$250 IIRC).

Re:USB Drive, SAN/NAS, LTO ... (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945422)

Tape probably isn't worth the cost or effort for a personal system, even for old kit on craigslist. I'd stick with your first suggestion, two USB drives, keep one off site. It's also worth mentioning that you can get very cheap online storage - slow, and not something I'd trust as my only copy, but Dreamhost or Amazon S3 can easily handle many GBs for not much cash. For your money you get the advantage of worldwide access, extra geographic redundancy, and some level of backup assurance at the data centre too.

How I back up photos/videos (1)

KDN (3283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945478)

  • Main store is on a MAC.
  • Weekly (or so) rsync backup to a Linux box into a date labaled directory, linking to the old one to minimize disk needs.
  • Every three months on the Linux box establish a new directory tree, not linking to the old one.
  • Roughly monthly: rsync to a portable usb drive. Rotate with another at work
  • When I visit my relatives who are a very long distance away, I rotate another usb drive with them. This one gets updated every year or so.

Long term idea: use FUSE to create a directory structure where every directory has error correction run on the contents. From the user view, just a normal directory From the backup view, backup will back up date and ECC files. In that way the backup can handle limited corruption. Also this will help detect/correct another problem I have: Over the years, I find that some files get corrupted and I don't notice it. Trouble is, all the backups eventually get overwritten. And when you literally have tens of thousands of pictures, its impossible to go through them all on a regular basis. So what I hope to do with ECC over FUSE is to run periodic ECC validation scripts to detect and correct these problems.

PS: does anyone know of a utility that will go through and validate JPG or ELIF files? Or any video files?

Fire safe design for paper not electronics (5, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945486)

Be careful with fire safes. They are generally designed and rated for paper, not electronic media, and will get too hot for electronics to survive. Be sure the safe you get is rated for electronic media. Also such electronic media rated safes I've seen are really designed for disaster not security, a claw hammer can probably open them. If you are just storing your family photos this is probably a plus.

I stored them on a hard drive (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945116)

with no backups. Faulty power supply fried it last year. Yeah, I keep regular backups now.

Re:I stored them on a hard drive (1)

pr0t0 (216378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945328)

I keep mine at a 2T WD external USB HD ($100), as well as on my PC's HD. The nice thing is I keep the external connected to the HTPC so I can pull up the photos (or movies, music, etc) in XBMC for my viewing pleasure. I suppose if I really wanted to protect them for a longer period of time, I could back them up to Blu-Ray or DVD...but it's not like those last forever either.

Online ruled out? (2)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945122)

I definitely wouldn't rule online backup out. Unlimited backup providers like Crashplan, Carbonite, etc. certainly provide a service that can be very useful.

Re:Online ruled out? (4, Informative)

kenj0418 (230916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945288)

I definitely wouldn't rule online backup out.

If we are just talking about photos, there are even more options. A Flickr Pro subscription allows unlimited photos for $25/yr with (optional) sharing of photos.

There are 3rd party services that will send you a backup of all of your Flickr photos for $20/DVD.

Personally, I keep my own backup, but upload nearly all my photos (except those of Ray William Johnson's mom) to Flickr just in case (and to share with friends and family).

Re:Online ruled out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945474)

I use Carbonite. At first I had it just backup my docs and photos. Once that was done, I added my MP3 collection. Carbonite is currently backing up 190GB of data for me.

Same as always (5, Insightful)

MrLogic17 (233498) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945128)

This type of question comes up a lot. How do I store for the long term?

Simple answer. Have it spinning on disk (or flash, or SSD, or...) and live accessable, plus an off-site backup.

Any off-line media will at some point be unreadable. Keep it accessable & live, and migrate it each time you upgrade your system.

Sure, I've got a few 5.25" floppies around, but how to read them? Keep it spinning & live.

Re:Same as always (1)

metageek (466836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945394)

I agree, live and spinning is best way to keep it. But make sure you have more than one copy. So the solution with 2 external HD is the best, IMHO

Re:Same as always (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945414)

Makes me kind of wonder about the validity of a "home" redundancy system. One box("vault") for the car and one for the home. They'd be encrypted storage (in case the car gets stolen) linked via encrypted Wifi, and would alert you to drive failure with audible or a big red LED. It would need an upgrade path. Allow the linking (plug in cable, press link button on new unit) of several vaults and allow you to phase out small old ones or keep three linked vaults (home, car, work/friend). You'd have to limit the size of all devices to the smallest vault, but it might work.

Facebook of course (5, Funny)

nemasu (1766860) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945130)

It's the safest, most secure and private place on the internet I can think of.

Re:Facebook of course (1)

cdp0 (1979036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945508)

Or not. []

Windows Home Server (2)

usacomp2k3 (972768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945134)

That's the simple solution. Then have that backup to the web via something like Crashplan.


Fraggy_the_undead (758495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945136)

In addition to external hard drives, I use DVD-RAMs, which are supposed to survive a few decades.

NAS (2)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945146)

Get a couple of NAS drives. Have your laptop run backups between the two devices in case 1 drive fails, or just run 1 device with RAID 1/5. Burn Blu-ray backups every 6 months or so, throw them in a fireproof safe or safe deposit box. Or take a separate USB drive to do the backups and throw that in the safe. If you're running Windows and the NAS is available as a windows share, you can run the free SyncToy app to do incremental backups.

combination (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945148)

Buy a larger internal hard drive for your laptop...that will solve your "immedeate access" needs.

If you're really serious about actual back up:

1. Buy a 1 TB external hard drive. Copy all of your pictures on there, then put the hard drive in a safe deposit box. This will be your "iron-clad" backup, one which you only update after major trips such as the one you came back from.

2. Buy a second 1 TB external hard drive that you keep at home. This will be your "primary" backup, one that gets updated every time you have new pictures.

3. For extra protection, buy a crap-ton of DVD-Rs, and burn all your photos on them.

keep going (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945154)

I do know that the first thing to do is to go through your collection and dump what is not worthwhile keeping."

Keep doing it ... get it down to like 20-30 pictures.

Two words: (0)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945158)

Face. Book.

Re:Two words: (1)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945274)

Not for long [] , apparently. Also ignoring the idea that he might want to keep full resolution copies.

Re:Two words: (1)

Quantus347 (1220456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945302)

Do you really want to trust Facebook as your sole backup? For that matter, do you want to trust them with EVERY picture you have? I still remember when every picture on MySpace got leaked and was available in one massive torrent.

Downsample..... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945160)

As a part time pro photographer, I'll let you on a little secret. You rarely need more than 5 MP of data. Downsample all your images to 2500px on the long side, with the appropriate aspect ratio, save as 98% JPG and enjoy. Unless you are going to print 30x40-inch high gloss roll off prints, or crop massively, your 12-15 MP camera is really chewing up disk space for no good reason.

Re:Downsample..... (4, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945372)

I sort of agree with this and sort of disagree.

On one hand, the poster is right: high resolution isn't really useful unless you want huge size or a very large crop.

But on the other hand, there are a couple reasons you might not want to do that. First, I recommend doing that resizing in post (instead of in-camera) if at all. This gives you the freedom to look at them and go "oh, actually I do want to crop that tiny section" before you lose the ability. Second, I still recommend shooting RAW if your camera can. The resolution doesn't matter, but the likely extra dynamic range and the lossless white balancing adjusting does. Then you have a decision as to whether you keep the RAWs around, or post-process to JPGs and save those. You can definitely do the latter and reclaim space, but I'm a fan of the former -- and my workflow doesn't provide any opportunity to downsample. I don't even know of any tools that will let you downsample a RAW and still get a RAW, though I suppose perhaps some DNG conversion tool may let you do it.

(Downsampling makes a lot more sense for someone like this submitter than it does for me for instance. I shoot a fair number of photos, but even at nearly 30 MB a shot (18 MP or so in RAW) the main reason I whine about the size is the flash card itself -- and if you take my advice to downsample on the computer, it doesn't get around that problem. But I have a desktop with a ton of space and a 500 GB USB drive. For me, storage is very cheap not just in monetary cost but in terms of what I need to do to use it. Someone like the submitter may have a bigger problem with the latter.)

If you rule out desktops and online storage... (2)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945162)

...that leaves external hard drives. So buy a couple, back up from one to the other, and keep one somewhere else.

I put the best of the best of my pictures up on Flickr pro account, but that only works out to a couple dozen a month on average at most.

Upload them of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945164)

Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)

        * Torvalds, Linus (1996-07-20). Post to newsgroup. Retrieved on 2006-08-28.

Re:Upload them of course (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945336)

Usenet works just fine. They already store massive amounts of other data. Most servers are up to 3 years retention.

If you don't want people to see the photos, encrypt them in a dmg or something. Split them into 50M rars with 100% coverage on the PAR2 files. Upload them to usenet. You don't even need to maintain an account. Come back after 2 years, pay $10 for unlimited access for a month and re-download everything.

If you're really paranoid. Split 1/2 the rars into one name and the other 1/2 into another. I highly doubt anyone ever actually reads headers anymore. You could literally just do "Anonymous's Wedding photos.dmg" and I bet you may get 1 person in the world that actually downloads it and cares.

backblaze (1)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945166)

I do not move them of my computer, I use a backup service called backblaze ( that gives you unlimited storage and continuously backup for 5$ / month, hassle free and cheap.

Re:backblaze (1)

jvolk (229717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945516)

I second BackBlaze. I have my stuff backed up to a local disk, an external usb drive, and finally, BackBlaze. The local disk is in case of a primary drive failure. The external is in case of fire or something and I want to smash and grab important things. BackBlaze is in case all else fails.

You'll never look at them... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945176)

You'll never ever look at the vast majority of them. If you don't have time to look through them and only keep the good ones why not just delete them.

the other side of the globe? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945180)

Come on, Mexico is _not_ in the other side of the globe from US...

My solution (3, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945182)

I upload them to 4chan, from where they will be stored on a multitude of /b/tards' harddrives forever.

Flickr & External drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945186)

Get an external drive to keep a local copy, and upload everything to flickr.

Bam. done.

Website. Gallery Software. (1)

Icepick_ (25751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945196)

1. Get Website
2. Install []
3. Store Photos.
4. ????
5. Profit!

Re:Website. Gallery Software. (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945290)

That's hardly a backup. What if you miss a payment on the hosting bill because you're in the hospital or something? Your files = gone for good.

Flickr (3, Informative)

kenholm3 (1400969) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945206)

$25 / year. Easy to use. Easy to share. My 70 y/o dad harasses me on a regular basis when we'll post new photos. Currently have 10k+ pics online. Back up of our Flickr is Carbonite. -K

Re:Flickr (2)

twilightzero (244291) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945316)

Someone please mod this up. Fantastic value for the money, also has built-in online editing tools, grouping/sets, blah blah blah etc. I probably have on the order of 5-7K+ pics on Flickr these days, works fantastic for what I need and easy linking.

Re:Flickr (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945460)

Count me in the group who loves Flickr. I don't use it for backup really, just pictures I want to share around. (A dozen or two a month or so on average I'd say.) I whine and complain about 98% of the software I use, but I'm actually quite happy with the software that's in my photo workflow. (That's Adobe Lightroom locally and Flickr remotely.)

You maintain you photos like any other data (1)

pyster (670298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945212)

If your data is important to you, you keep it on a radied device that you back up to another device, that is also backed up to a remote location.

Backup to an external, sync to online. (2)

Umuri (897961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945216)

It is well worth the $100/year to shell out for an online webspace to store your photos if you want to keep them for life.
10 gb is nothing, just setup a background process to sync and limit it's upload bandwidth, and it'll do it over a few days/weeks, no matter how big your file is.

That way even if your external dies, or gets stolen, you have that ace in the hole.

Peace of mind, especially for valuable memories, is worth the money, plus it has the added benefit of giving you a way to share photos with friends/family easily. Plus any other things you want to do with some webspace.

The reason i recommend buying a full webspace somewhere rather than dedicated backup utilities is because you can normally get more storage/cheaper, and have a little better direct control over your data, with the added convenience of access through http!

Solaris Express + ZFS. (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945218)

5 2TB drives in RaidZ2 (Yes, it's not optimal, but it'll take 2x failures.

2 external 2x2TB enclosures with the drives mirrored. Rotated off site every week. When an enclosure comes home I scrub it make sure I didn't break anything and then for the next week everything is synced nightly.

If I'm not shooting any photos, then I really don't rotate stuff.

I'm not quite at a TB of photos, but shooting 8GB at a time does start to add up. Last resort nearly everything is on Facebook. They do allow photos up to 2000 pixels / side. It's not a lossless backup, but if it means having children's photos vs not, it's better than nothing.

Sadly NOTHING has happened. No drive failures, nothing. I haven't been able to test any of it out other than when I upgraded to 2TB drives from 1.5TB drives with a
zpool replace tank ...

I don't have nearly as much data, but.. (3, Informative)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945220)

I like to keep them in picasa. I trust the cloud (especially for a company like google) much more than my own management of a couple hard drives.
Plus, I like the service (its interface, being able to download the original, easy sharing, transparent sync to my phone, etc..).
The big downside is not being able to download entire albums in one download (maybe there are 3rd party apps that do that), and the fact that you can't upload videos unless you are using the windows client (I usually just use the web).

I'm getting a Drobo (3, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945226)

Funny enough, I was just thinking about this insofar as my backup disk died, while the main disk in the machine is still running fine. I've listened to enough TWiTs and the like to know about Drobo and checked out the site. I like that the size can be increased over time (up to whatever limit the firmware supports in the enclosure). I was thinking I could also justify it by getting the version that sits on the network as a NAS and use it for all my Time Machine backups, etc.

I also have a separate external disk (not a Drobo or NAS or anything fancy) that I do an overnight copy of all the important files using rsync with the disk plugged directly into the Firewire 800 port, then I take the disk with me to my folks house and let it sit there. After a week or two I bring it home and the whole process repeats.

I've also got a private vpn to a Linux machine I set up, but even though I did a full update on it for backup, rsync takes forever (many many hours) to determine what files need to be updated/added, and the machine gets pretty bogged down. Still working on a good solution for automatic offsite backups...

I'd be interested to know what others think of the Drobo before plunking down the $$$ for one.

Preservation of life costing it at the same time (2)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945228)

These are obviously images that I want to keep for my life.

Every single one? Why? Everything you feel you must have for life is another thing you'll be "paying" interest on for the rest of your life, in the time and money spent managing it. When you die, will anyone want to continue saving these thousands of photos from a single trip, or even have time to look through them?

Use silver halide (0)

simonbas (1319225) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945232)

Simply, just use silver halide films (35mm or bigger) and keep them in a fireproof safe. They will last pretty much forever, and you will always have the technology to view them...aka your own eyes.

Re:Use silver halide (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945332)

What if he goes blind?

Re:Use silver halide (2)

simonbas (1319225) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945402)

probably won't care much about the pictures...

Why are you destroying anything (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945238)

"And yes — before you ask — I do know that the first thing to do is to go through your collection and dump what is not worthwhile keeping."

Well let's start with that then, as it is totally false.

You have a mere 16GB of data. You can fit that on a Flash drive and leave it somewhere in Death Valley to be found 500 years hence if you wish. You could mail one to every continent on earth for a pittance.

Yes it's good to sort through images looking for thing that are worth more effort editing and sharing now, but you should never assume you know now what pictures will most interest you 10, 20, or 50 years later!

As for the base of your question, I use an external hard drive, which I clone to another external hard drive, which in turn I keep another clone of in an offsite location backed up about once a month.

However I am strongly considering other backup based web services that would let my backups by updated more in real time and more geopgraphically dispersed than my current solution, so you might want to look into that. It involves a monthly fee though, so if you can't pay there goes your backup... such services often have a way to "prime" them with a hard drive you mail in, so you don't have to transfer many hundreds (or thousands) of GB of data to them over your capped internet connection.

NAS plus Backup (1)

Shagg (99693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945248)

I have a NAS (RAID 5) array that I keep the photos on. Every once in awhile I'll burn the photos directory to two DVDs. One is kept locally just in case of a failure of the NAS. The other goes to family/friends house in case of a disaster (fire, etc).

Most of the pictures we have of the kids since they were born are all digital, so I don't want to take any chances with loosing them.

Hard drives are ridiculously cheap. Buy many, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945252)

back up frequently, and try to keep one off-site if possible. Online solutions are also fine- they just take while to send the data up the first time around.

Thumb drives in a fire proof safe (1)

fpp (614761) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945254)

The price of a couple of thumb drives is insignificant compared to the price of your vacation and the memories associated with the photos. I buy a thumb drive for every vacation and store them this way, in a medium sized fire proof safe. Yes, thumb drive storage is more expensive than hard drive storage, but I trust their longevity more than I would a hard drive.

you will need multiple copies at local and remote (1)

blacktulip (1980426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945258)

For me I keep two local copies. One on my internal HDD and another on my external HDD which is for backup exculsively. And one remote copy on my flickr pro account. I think my photos are pretty safe this way.

One method... (1)

farnsworth (558449) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945268)

  • Use something like iPhoto or Lightroom or Aperture or whatever the best OSS equivalent is.
  • Learn how to use the library features to archive/import/rejigger your photos to/from your computer's local filesystem.
  • Buy two external drives.
  • Keep an entire snapshot of your library on the external drives.
  • Find someone you trust who lives in another town, and mail them one of your drives.
  • Every month (or whatever) have that person mail you the drive and you mail them the other, newly-updated, drive.
  • Repeat
  • When your drive fails or is otherwise lost, buy a new one and get the second drive back and reset.

16Gb? 250Gb full? (2)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945276)

You either take way too many pictures. Are you really going to look at thousands of pictures of ruins? Hardly. However, since that's not the kind of advice you asked for, I'd suggest an external HD. It's cheaper than a similarly sized pen drive (1.5Tb ~$80).

Re:16Gb? 250Gb full? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945350)

Not everyone can appreciate that the 20 shots of the "Same Thing" are actually three apertures, using several exposures each.

Sure, you can say I got a picture of 'ruin' by looking at the screen on the camera, but you won't know till later which exposure was best for further use.

Re:16Gb? 250Gb full? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945412)

Um, no.

Once you start doing, for example, HDR panoramas in a RAW format, it eats up space FAST.

NAS + external drives to backup NAS (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945278)

I bought a ReadyNAS bare and added 2 2TB drives in a mirror. I have a 1.5 TB USB drive which also plugs into the NAS and I rsync them periodically.

Re:NAS + external drives to backup NAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945426)

Mod parent up -- especially for not assuming 'mirror = backup'.

Have a Synology NAS with 2 2Tb drives in RAID 1. Monthly backups of the NAS to an external drive.

Bonus features of the setup include (in addition to photo storage):
  - a place to back up everything else in the house (laptops, desktops)
  - a place to cram all the music
  - a place to cram video
  - a server (NAS) to stream all that to where ever I want

My hard drives (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945284)

I store my photos on the terabyte hard drive I have dedicated to archive storage. In my case it's in the machine that acts as the general-purpose server for my home network, but you can buy dedicated storage boxes from companies like NetGear if all you want is a file server.

External services? Why in the world would I want my stored photos to be at the mercy of a free service deciding to close up shop? And it certainly isn't financially feasible to keep paying a monthly fee for storage.

attitude (2)

cluthu (470987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945286)

>I do know that the first thing to do is to go through your collection
>and dump what is not worthwhile keeping.
I'm not sure why you say this in such an authoritative tone, but this is a great example of something you *shouldn't* do. There's nothing to say that a shot that you're not particularly fond of today will remain so forever. This is especially true when you shoot in RAW, since there's so much to work with and techniques you can learn to salvage a so-so picture.

Moreover, your attitude of 'I have a laptop with an internal disk and don't wish to change' is a terrible one to have. If your data's security is important to you, you'll need to expand your horizons quite a bit.

Bit Torrent (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945292)

Zip them up and call the file something like "HD Celebrity sex tapes collection" and upload it to your favorite bit torrent site.
I call it my free foolproof backup solution.
Then you can just download your pictures any time you need them.

Re:Bit Torrent (1)

cdp0 (1979036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945472)

Zip them up and call the file something like "HD Celebrity sex tapes collection" and upload it to your favorite bit torrent site. I call it my free foolproof backup solution. Then you can just download your pictures any time you need them.

Won't work. Most torrent search engines allow ranking and commenting on torrents and it'll soon be marked as 'fake' and people will stop accessing it.

Easy and free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945308)

Compress all your images inside a .RAR archive (you'll understand why in a moment), then make a torrent available under a name similar to "Hundreds of thousands of pictures of naked celebrities".

The .RAR archive is to prevent people from looking at the individual filenames and checking only a few pictures to confirm if it's really naked celebrities.

You came back! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945310)

You came back from Mexico alive?!

Wireless network drive. (1)

TheWizardTim (599546) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945322)

I just upgraded my wireless network to allow for a shared hard drive. I have several laptops at home, but I was running out of space quickly with all the photos and music that I own. I had some portable hard drives that I would move photos to, but keeping that plugged in at all times was a pain. Now with a wireless external storage, I just keep what need right now on the local drive, and the rest is shared. When I am at home, I have access to everything. Right now it's 500GB, but that will expand to a few TB soon. I will also be looking for online backup once I am a bit more organized.

USPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945324)

I use the United States Postal Service, in business since 1775. Basically what you'll want to do is:

  • 1. Have prints made at your local photo service
  • 2. Package them and take the package to the USPS
  • 3. Mail the package to yourself at the least expensive option--Book Rate. Just say "No" when asked if you want insurance.
  • 4. Relax. Enjoy life. Your worries are over.

Many years from now, after your home has been looted and your laptop and backup drive have been stolen, or gone up in flames, or destroyed by an act of God, your treasured photos will arrive, hand-delivered by a dedicated, part-time USPS contractor.

External drive and Time Machine (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945326)

As the subject as for me. I get my photos from my camera onto my laptop, and then semi-regularly sync them with Time Machine to an external drive of 500 GB. Automatically starts backing up as I connect the drive, which is important to me -- if it's not convenient enough, I'm not going to use it.

Unfortunately, my laptop's drive is "only" 250 GB large and it's one day going to fill up. It's actually taken surprisingly long despite me photographing mostly in 12 MP RAW, but when it do happen, I guess I'll move to a larger hard drive as my primary drive and (surprise!) a larger backup drive. I'll of course still keep my old drives - no point in needlessly throwing away redundancy even if they don't offer complete redundancy.

I think that'll do for me for now. Won't help much against burglary or extreme fires where I won't have time to get out and carry a backup drive with me, but I guess that's my limit then. If I were to go further, I think I'd have looked at online storage despite the storage needs. It's getting cheap today with Amazon S3 and all the services that make use of that as a back-end. You may also wish to look at Google Docs. Stores any file format (including encrypted file archives *hint*), 200 GB there is $50/yr ( [] ).

a good home backup strategy (2)

junglebeast (1497399) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945330)

I use three hard drives in my main computer. One small drive for the OS and installed applications, a second large drive to store my media (1 TB is sufficient for me), and a third drive to hold backups. Differential backups are automatically made for WIP data on a nightly schedule, everything else is automatically done on a weekly schedule.

Every few years I pull the hard drive and wrap it in some bubble wrap, package it into a cardboard box with the date on the outside and give it to my parents to store in their attic as a fallback.

The total cost of this operation comes down to about $100 every three years.

2 Onsite disks, 1 offsite disk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945334)

I keep three backups at all times, all on 1TB hard drives.

1 is kept running on my home server (the equivalent of on your laptop, I suppose)
1 is kept offline, but nearby
1 is kept in my car

Every month or so we sync all the new photos onto all the disks.

I don't have a truly off site location available to me, but I figure that the car is probably going to survive a house fire and the house should survive a car crash.

My plan is not meteor proof and should not be construed as such.

Cauzin Softstrip (2)

fizzup (788545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945338)

I print them out in Cauzin Softstrip [] format on archival paper. It's the only way to be certain that my blurry thumb will be preserved for my grateful descendants.

Laptop, eh? (1)

repetty (260322) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945352)

I work exclusively on a laptop and do not want to change this.

Consumer laptops and their components are engineered and manufactured based on priorities that the market dictates. Were I in front of you, I might well pick up your laptop and smack you in the head with it: You are NOT using a device optimized for mass storage.

Your laptop's design priorities are: 1. low price, and 2. small size. In that order.*

Notice that I didn't mention reliability, speed, or storage capacity.

In addition to the laptop computer that you already have, I recommend that you get a desktop computer (ridiculously cheap desktop computers normally outperform most laptops and are much more reliable). It's a realistic, grown-up thing to do.

* Unless your laptop is a Toshiba, which are sometimes
no lighter or smaller than desktop tower computers.

In sleeves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945354)

6 strips of 6 per page

Vacation? (1)

sirdude (578412) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945356)

Is it just me or is the rest of the world getting just as trigger-happy as the Japs (assuming that the OP isn't :})? 16GB of data over 28 days at a resolution of say, 4MB per picture, is about 150 snaps every flippin' day. That sounds more like work than a vacation to me.

Reminds me of this chap [] .

In any case, I rely on Picasa for low-res storage, NAS for general storage and an external HDD for back-up of essential files which I sync every now and then and store at a remote location.

2006 called... (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945358)

... and it wants it's Ask Slashdot question back. 250GB of data? But seriously:

1. Buy USB or SATA HDD dock (3.5"). Probably USB3 is what you want, and get some sort of card so that your laptop can connect at USB3 speeds.
2. Buy several internal 3.5" HDDs. Browse newegg and pick the best $/GB that is as reliable as you need it to be (judge by % of low star reviews). They make them in TB these days.
3. Find a good priced local store and buy it there if you want to minimize risk of it being damaged in shipping, or buy on newegg if you want.
4. Back your 250+GB of photos to at least 2 of these internal HDDs, one of which should be somewhere else that is safe. It will cost you a couple hundred bucks, or 5% of a somewhat decent digital SLR with lenses, flash, tripod, bag etc.
5. Profit.

Grade school called (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945392)

and it wants its grammar back. Doh.

1996 called... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945514)

...and it wants its cliche back.

USB drives and FreeFileSync (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945388)

2.5" USB-attached hard drives that only require a small USB cable and no other power cable are cheap and large now. Then use FreeFileSync to make sure that the same information is on two or three of those hard drives.

USB drives and a safe deposit box (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945398)

I keep all of my photos on a file server that automatically backs up my files every night to a USB drive and have another that gets written to monthly. These two stay in the house and are in case the server dies. I also have a USB powered drive in a safe deposit box that I update yearly. Then I have two other USB powered drives that I rotate through the safe deposit box monthly. I'm also kicking around the idea of keeping a drive at a friends house and backing up through the internet. A few years ago I was backing up my family photos manually and got a little lazy for about 6 months and lost a drive with many of the pictures from my daughter was 4. That sucked, so I decided that redundancy and automation were the way to go. You may want to check out some of the internet sites that do on line backups.

After a lifetime of experiences ... (3, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945400)

... particularly those that predate ubiquitous image capturing (I can't in good conscience call it photography), I just don't take many personal photos. A few each time to document the event, but not enough to warrant a question about how to store all that stuff.

Instead, I prefer to *live* the moments, seeing them personally through my own eyes, rather than experience them through the camera viewfinder and then later via images. My epiphany came in the hospital when I was faced with the choice of documenting the birth of my daughter with a video camera plastered to my face, or putting the fucking thing down and living the experience myself. You can probably guess from my choice of words which option I chose. So I'm left with my own imperfect memory of the event rather than a memory as seen through the viewfinder and replayable later.

Your precious personal photos and videos are like the dreaded vacation movies/slideshows back when people did that kind of thing. Odds are you will never look at your archive of photos very much - if you did, you wouldn't be experiencing new things, you'd just be reviewing your old experiences over and over again.

So stop worrying about your "precious" photos and just go out and experience some new things. Pay attention while you're doing so, and you can tell stories later about the wonderfullness of it all.

IMHO, this is much better than compulsive photo-documentation.

But I don't expect many to agree. Shiny gadgets have captured our souls, and I'm afraid they may be lost forever.

Importance, prioritising (4, Insightful)

arikol (728226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945418)

Seriously, are all those thousands of vacation pictures worth storing?
Or could the feeling of the vacation be summarised by less than a hundred pictures? What about less than fifty? Less than 30? 20?

We really are behaving like mad magpies, hoarding this data as if it really were the memories of the event (well, if one takes multiple thousands of pictures then one may actually have spent the whole vacation behind the camera instead of enjoying the experience. See "experiencing self vs remembering self" [] )

I've recently taken to culling my selection of pictures which I actively back up; selecting only a dozen or so images from each month. That still results in less than 150 images a year. This selection gets backed up both on multiple media here at home as well as backed up online. The other thousands of pictures are saved only at home, on an external drive (external USB drive connected to an Airport Extreme) an on my laptop's internal drive. These extra images just don't require the safety of an off-site backup. They're just not that important!
And nobody will care about the 500 pictures of an Aztec pyramid in a couple of years. Even if you and a loved one are in the pictures it will end up that there are two or three pics which are great, the rest serve only to bore housegests senseless when subjected to the torture of a thousand picture slideshow of places they haven't been and people they don't know...

When I think to my childhood I actually remember large parts of it, especially extremely good or bad events. This is independent of whether pictures exist from that event. Where pictures exist, they tend to colour my memory, and in many cases change it (events which I KNOW weren't fully positive, but the single picture from the event shows something enjoyable happening and everyone smiling).
Pictures LIE, and they change how you remember. Taking them also changes how you experience life. Live a little.

Honestly (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945424)

OH the HORROR! What should I DO? Please slashdot, help me solve this difficult problem!!! I need a team of NERDS for this!

Seriously, with HD prices at under $100 for 1.5 TB, who gives a flying fuck? If you don't know how to plug in a USB drive you should be shot.

Shrink them (1)

JohnWiney (656829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945430)

One component of a solution might be to make lower-resolution versions of the pictures (e.g. use ImageMagick to do a batch scale-down) and store those in multiple copies. You could probably reduce the size by 90% and still have perfectly useable pictures. Obviously lower-resolution is not as good as the original, but it would make it more practical to make many backups, and keep them in many places. Lower-resolution is better than nothing. (This is not meant to replace backup of the originals - just make it possible to make a lot more, and as a result a lot better chance of something surviving.) BTW - Make sure you also backup the captions for the pictures - you are going to do that, right? I've just spent the last few months going through my father's old slides, trying to figure them out. BTW2 - I made a bunch of backups on CDs about 10 years ago. I went through them a few months ago - about 75% were unreadable.

Flickr Pro (1)

cdp0 (1979036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945446)

Flickr [] Pro imposes no storage limit, and you can keep your photos private if you choose to. You can also organize your photos in many ways, thus you can show them to your friends if you'd like to. Granted, I don't know any way of downloading many photos at once (ie. restore the backup), but I've never been interested in doing it either. Check this [] .

Back up twice (1)

coolmadsi (823103) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945450)

1. Get an external hard drive. I'm sure there are many comments available for good solutions for this

2. Get some of those digital photo frames, load up some SD cards/USB sticks and keep them around the house. You could have one photo frame for one holiday, another frame for a special birthday or other event, etc.

This way, you have your main back up in the form of a hard drive somewhere, and a visual back-up/reminder of the events for which you took photos for/of to remember.

Apple iDisk, Mobile Me, or similar services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945452)

I'm happy with my Apple iDisk which is included in a mobile me subscription. I use it along with storage on my computer and an external backup drive. The standard subscription has 20GB of storage, which is about right for photos, but you can get more with different subscription options. Yes, there are probably cheaper options from other companies out there that are equivalent, too, but these sorts of services are good because they give you your "off site" backup. Personally, I like Mobile Me because it has lots of services I find useful, including easy ways to distribute photos on your Mobile Me web site (if you choose). It's good for a busy guy like me who doesn't have time to fiddle with computers after work--it's easy for the family to use, too! []

Live+2+1 redundancy (3, Interesting)

cpct0 (558171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945462)

I am a semipro photographer. One raw picture is >20M, and I tend to take between 500 and 2000 pictures for an event.

I keep all pictures. All of them. With the usual exceptions of the black ones or a very blurry ceiling.

My computer is also a laptop. I removed the useless DVD drive to host a second hard drive, only for the pictures. That gives me 750gb for pics.

I also have a 2TB external hard drive, and a general backup 4TB drive.

The workflow I use is as follows:
- I put all my pictures on my computer.
- Once transferred, I plug and copy all the new pictures on my 2TB, never removing anything from there, only adding.
- I then process the pictures, adjust them, do whatever needs to be done. I sort them in 3 buckets (deleted, meh, good).
- I copy the working copies for the good ones to the 2TB also.
- I delete the deleted/meh from my laptop, only keeping the good ones.
- I do a general incremental rsync backup of my laptop to my 4TB.

For me that's enough protection, I always have my "good" pictures with me on my laptop, and have access to everything else on my dump drive.

For fires and burglars, I also have a second encrypted 2TB at work. I can safely recreate everything else from that part...

So far it has served me well, and I haven't lost anything. I've been burned badly in the past after crashing a HD while doing a backup, and having 6 HDD failing me in the same year (yeah, lan partys will do that to your gear) so I am very anal about my data.

NAS + Online storage (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945470)

Save photos to a RAID-enabled NAS, and for offsite backups use some form of online storage.

I'm a SmugMug user and SmugMug provides EXCELLENT value - you can even store RAW images with SmugVault if you have a Premium account (If you don't shoot in RAW, Standard will be fine for you most likely.) If you don't shoot RAW, Flickr might be a good alternative.

As to, "And yes — before you ask — I do know that the first thing to do is to go through your collection and dump what is not worthwhile keeping."

NO. The definition of "worthwhile" can change. I do exposure/focus weeding initially (An initial run in digiKam on import for the most obvious, then a second weeding during RAW conversion in ufraw), but after that I never delete anything.

Burned Backups (1)

LordEd (840443) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945480)

Might not be good for 250GB at once, but after a trip, I burn the photos to a set of DVDs. One set to my work DVD case, one set kept at home.

The DAM Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34945482)

Check out The DAM Book [] and dpBestflow [] .

My solution (1)

vondo (303621) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945484)

What I do. First, I use Lightroom to manage everything which lets me categorize and rate.

I keep one hard drive at home on my desktop. I keep another at my office attached to that desktop. I use unison to keep the two in sync. So I have offsite backup.

On my laptop, I keep two sets of photos. First is the recent stuff I've taken that I'm "working" on. The second set is only stuff I rank above a certain level and processed by lightroom into JPGs of reduced size (still bigger than the laptop screen). So I've got my whole collection that I can show to people at any time, but not the original full resolution RAW files. The laptop is kept up to date with the originals also with unison.

I upgrade the size of the offsite and onsite hard drives as needed. They are currently 1 TB each. And I have no need to take an external drive with me anywhere.

Dedicated server with Gallery software (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945490)

I use Gallery, an open source PHP one, because I've not been motivated to find one that fits my needs more perfectly. It's not terrible, though finding specific pictures is hard. If I had infinite time, money, and motivation to spend my time on maintaining pictures (which, arguably, is a better expenditure of my time than a lot of my hobbies), these are the features I would want:

  • Web access
  • Automatic thumbnail / "small size" generation, so that I can easily upload them to Facebook, link them on forums, or show them to coworkers without saturating my upload bandwidth
  • Able to set tags on batches of images (e.g., "Disneyland 2010", or "$KID"), with multiple tags able to be applied, both at upload and from a multi-selection screen. Re-tagging pictures individually (or after you upload them) is a royal pain.
  • Facebook's name-tagging feature is rather neat, and I'd want that too.
  • Searchable tags. This way, it's easy to search for, say, "$KID computer" to find the pictures of my kid playing on the computer, or search for all vacation, or beach, or formal pictures.
  • Able to apply ratings to pictures, and view stats like unique visitors and so on.
  • Able to manage the storage of pictures on multiple volumes, so that my gallery can live on an array of drives without me needing to set up RAID.
  • Most importantly, the ability for an image to show up in more than one "album". You might want a Christmas album, and then also one for 2010 pictures of your child, and then one for vacation highlights -- all of which might overlap in their image choices -- without needing to duplicate (or re-tag) images. This could probably be easily implemented on top of the tagging feature.

Depends how important they are to you (1)

lurker412 (706164) | more than 3 years ago | (#34945494)

I'm a what is called a serious amateur photographer. I probably take around 25,000 pics a year and keep maybe 3% of them. I always have two copies of everything I value on separate media--at the moment, DVDs and an external hard drive, but I expect that to change in the future as storage technology evolves. In addition, all of my best work is stored as high quality JPGs on an online photo site. I consider this a minimal scheme. If I were a pro, I would have additional off-site copies of everything, but if my house burns down, my pics will be the least of my worries. How much you invest (time and money) should be a function of how important the photos are to you. Another thing to consider is how you will find photos years from now, especially if you accumulate thousands of them. Besides a solid backup scheme you should consider investing (time and maybe money) in some catalog software that will help you locate photos by keyword, location, date, whatever.
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