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By: Dan Bullman – Digital Photography School

In today’s digital era, it’s so simple to copy your photos onto your laptop hard drive and forget about them, thinking they’ll be there whenever you need them. But if your laptop crashes or gets stolen, and you haven’t backed up your photos in another place, then they’re gone forever. Most forms of digital storage are unreliable in the long term. Hard drives crash, computers die, and CDs and DVDs get scratched up and become unusable.

If you want to preserve your digital photographs then it is important to develop a strategy to back them up. Many people have started looking to the cloud as a place to store their photos. Could cloud storage be right for you?

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Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you’re considering cloud storage:

  • Do you want to use a free storage service, such as Google Photos or Apple Photos? Or are you willing to pay for a service with more features? If so, how much are you willing to pay?
  • Do you want to use cloud storage as a backup solution for all of your photos or just some key ones? How much data do you have? How often will you need to access your photos?
  • What types of files do you have? Camera raw files? Tiff files? JPEGs? All of the above?
  • How fast is your internet connection? Uploading files to the cloud can be very slow.

There are a few free applications, such as Google Photos and Flickr. These services could be a good option to back up your digital photo library if you don’t want to spend any money. The problem with a lot of them is that they either compress your photos, which means a loss in resolution and quality, or dditionally they don’t support RAW or TIFF files. So if you’re a raw shooter then this isn’t a great solution for archiving your photo library.

Luckily there are a number of services which will store your digital photographs for a small fee. There are many different companies that provide cloud storage, so I’ve decided to focus on only a few in the rest of this article. Be sure to do your research and find a service that fits your backup needs.

A Few Options for Cloud Storage

Google Drive

Google Drive is a relatively cheap and reliable cloud storage service. All Google accounts are given 15GB of free storage. From there you can pay as little as $1.99/month for 100GB, $9.99/month for 1TB, and up to $299.99/month for 30TB. Google Drive allows you to organize your own folders and supports all photo file types.

Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon Cloud Drive touts an impressive unlimited photo storage plus 5GB for video and other file types for only $11.99/year. Additionally, if you have an Amazon Prime account, then this service is already included as part of your subscription. The one catch is that file uploads are limited to 2GB per individual file, so if you have files that are larger than that then you may not be able to upload them.

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