Saturday, August 2, 2014

Best Photo Storage in the Cloud and Elsewhere

How to Keep Pics for a Lifetime

Saving photos
I have two worn out computers beneath my desk collecting dust as I write this - an 2007 HP Pavilion, and a 2010 Dell Inspiron. My daughters keep asking why they remain, and to be honest, for the longest time I didn't know what to tell them. Each laptop has its share of digital images that were stored within, but never protected. When both crashed, my images of years in New England nature were seemingly gone. Of course, now I know I can take them to my local computer repair shop and have the hard drives pulled so I can copy the info, but the hassle and the expense is something I wouldn't have to stress about if only I had followed these tips.

Download the Digital Images for Storage
 
As soon as I can after completing a photo shoot, say of frolicking fisher cats (a rare shot indeed) or meandering moose in Pittsburg, NH, I download my images to my laptop. I shoot with two cameras these days, a Nikon D3100 and an always-in-the-pocket Canon Sure Shot. Both are supported with an SD memory card, and I simply pull out the card and insert it into my current HP laptop when it's time to download. The files open automatically, and I just drag-and-drop in the appropriate folder.

File Photos Accordingly

 
In my pictures directory, I have a folder earmarked for only my camera images. Within, I keep sub-folders under which each of the individual images are cataloged: Kids, garden, cooking, hometown, roadtrips... the idea is to have the digital photos immediately transferred to a file that will make it easy to access once I'm in need. Should I be writing an article about composting, I want to easily open my gardening folder and select the image I need.

Delete Those Images
 
Before removing my SD card from the laptop, I deleted them from the card. This way, the memory is clean for the next shoot I happen to need it for in the Nikon of Canon. Then, I move through the new images looking for less-than-perfect shots. I have to make some hard choices, for even though my oldest daughter looks adorable with bubblegum ice cream smeared across her face, I would prefer the shot be in focus.

Back Up the Files for Cloud Storage
I use two methods to back up my images, but for most folks, one should suffice. I use an affordable Patriot Aero as a desk-access external hard drive, and an online repository service called ZipCloud for $4.95 a month. ZipCloud is, in my opinion, the best cloud storage available for digital files. The prices are reasonable, and the security is encrypted and locked down so my images won't be compromised. I simply send along my files to be stores in my account, ready for whenever I need them. The monthly fee gives me unlimited storage, but there is a free service as well, and worth a few minutes to check out.

Prints
 
Once I have the files backed up, I review one more time looking for exceptional shots that I would like hard copies of. I prefer to download these to a memory stick and bring to my local camera shop for self-service printing, but I could also send digital files to any number of mail-service, online companies, such as HP's Snapfish. As a note, Snapfish also offers a storage service for digital files. I also receive, from vendors such as Walgreen's printing service, a free CD as an additional digital back-up of my images. These I label and store away should I ever need them.

Once I have the images in hand, it's time to sit back and wait for inspiration to strike once more. For my next shoot, I'm thinking the New Hampshire Kancamagus Highway in deep winter...