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Smart Photo File Management

If you’re like one of our clients, you may have a huge number of photo and video files from your last vacation, and you may be getting ready to add more as your family gathers for the upcoming holidays. If you’re also like this client, you may be wondering where to safely store all your accumulated pictures and videos without paying an arm and a leg.

We can never recommend strongly enough that your precious memories are safest when stored on the cloud. Those large servers have built-in redundancies to protect your data, removing worries about crashing hard drives, whether they’re in your computer or external. Your storage on your own devices are suspect because:

  • Your computer’s hard drive can crash.
  • An external hard drive can crash.
  • Removable storage media (thumb drives and DVDs) can be damaged or lost.
  • Your smartphone can be lost.
  • Your camera, with its SD card, can be lost or damaged (which means you might want to find a way to upload photo and video files daily by one means or another).

In addition, photo and video files can take up a lot of space on your hard drive, and at some point, they will slow down your computer’s performance. If you have an iPhone, you can free up space by managing your storage; just go to Settings – iCloud – Storage, and you can delete files from your old phone. Android and Windows phones have similar capabilities.

So, let’s deal with all those photo and video files. Here are some options:

Free-storage sites all come with various limits, such as file size, types of files you can store and download and exposure to ads or privacy limitations. Some will allow you to upgrade to paid storage for more space and options.

Some of the more notable free-storage sites include:

  • Flickr
  • Shutterfly
  • Smugmug
  • Dropbox

While one of those sites may work for you, our mission here is to give you storage options that give you the same capability to store and retrieve files just as you would if they were stored on your hard drive.

Google gives you 15 GB of free storage, and you’ll always have it no matter how much additional storage you buy. Only monthly plans are available, and you have lots of flexibility. You can buy 100 GB for $1.99 per month or 1 TB (terabyte) for $9.99 per month. You can change your plan or cancel it before your next bill.

Google has apps for uploading and downloading image and video files from a computer, iPhone or Android phone. You can upload RAW files, which is critical for serious photographers who use SLR cameras, and high-quality j-peg files for equally serious photographers who use higher-end point-and-shoot cameras.

Apple gives you 5 GB of free storage and offers 50 GB for $0.99 per month, 200 GB for $2.99 per month or 1 TB for $9.99 per month. Again, you can upload all of your files in their original formats and can invite people to view selected files. You can edit files and still retain the originals, which gives you a Photoshop mulligan.

Apple also has apps for uploading from iPhones, Macs and PCs, and you can easily create photo books from your library.

Amazon gives you 5 GB to store “non-photo” files, such as videos and offers 5 GB for a free three-month trial. After that, it’s $11.99 per year. You can scale up to unlimited storage – also with a free three-month trial, and then you can pay $59.99 per year. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you already enjoy unlimited, secure photo storage plus 5GB of free storage for videos and files at no extra cost. You can upgrade to the Unlimited Everything plan at any time.

Again, you can view your files on a computer or mobile device through Amazon’s Cloud Drive.

We like the big three of Google, Apple and Amazon because they have well-earned reputations for safe, secure storage. The pricing is cheap – especially when you compare it to high value of photos and videos that are irreplaceable. Each site has its own peculiarities about setting up an account and uploading files. If you have any questions or need a hand to hold, contact us by email or by phone – 973-433-6676. And while I find them all device-neutral and platform-neutral, we can answer questions you may have about compatibility and raise your comfort level with your choice.