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The Ultimate Dummies Guide to Backing Up Your Precious Photos

Hello, wonderful photo enthusiasts! 📸 Whether you're a selfie superstar, a candid camera champ, or just love snapping those priceless moments, your photos are treasures worth protecting. And let’s face it, in our digital age, losing these gems feels like misplacing a piece of our hearts. 😢

But fear not! I'm here to guide you through the super-simple, yet super-important world of backing up your photos. I'll try to make it as fun as I can!

Why Two Backups are Like Having Superpowers! 🦸

Imagine your computer is a superhero. It's strong, reliable, and holds all your precious photos. But even superheroes need a sidekick, right? Enter: the external hard drive – your computer's trusty companion, ready to save the day in case of any digital disasters.

But wait, there’s more! Even superheroes and their sidekicks need a guardian angel. This is where cloud storage swoops in. iCloud, Google Drive, CrashPlan, Backblaze - you name it, they're like the digital heavens safeguarding your memories. So, by having your photos on your computer, an external hard drive, and the cloud, you're basically forming an unbeatable photo-protecting trio!

[What is cloud storage? Cloud storage is storage on the internet, not in any way attached to your computer. The files physically exist on remote servers, well away from your computer. Usually, these servers exist in multiple locations all over the world. Google has a great article on this here.]

Step 1: The Home Base - Your Computer 💻

First things first, keep your original files on your computer. Think of it as home base. Organise them in folders that make sense to you – by date, event, or the number of dogs in the pictures (hey, we don't judge!). The key is to make them easy to find and ready to be backed up.

Personally, I find sorting by date AND event name most effective. That way I can put everything in order by date, but also search by name. So for example 20220126 Jane's Birthday Party. Note the reverse date order - this helps keep everything chronological.

Step 2: The Trusty Sidekick - External Hard Drive 🛡️

Next up, let's chat about external hard drives. These little boxes of wonder are like having a mini vault in your home. Connect it to your computer, copy your photo folders, and voilà – you've got backup number one! Keep this vault in a different spot from your computer. Why? Well, if your computer decides to take an unexpected bath (oops!), your hard drive is dry and safe elsewhere.

Choosing an External Hard Drive:

  • Capacity: Get one with more space than you think you'll need. Future you will thank you.
  • Durability: Look for something sturdy. It's like choosing a knight's armor – you want it strong!
  • Ease of Use: Pick one that's simple to use. If it needs a PhD to operate, it's a no-go.

External Hard Drive Recommendations:

I've never once had an issue with a Seagate hard drive. No failures whatsoever, and my hard drives have to work HARD. Here are the two types I have specifically used;

Step 3: The Guardian Angel - Cloud Storage ☁️

Finally, let's float up to the cloud. Cloud storage is like a magical, invisible backup that lives on the internet. It's always there, rain or shine, and you can access your photos from anywhere – your phone, tablet, or a computer in a cozy café in Paris.

Picking a Cloud Service:

  • iCloud: Great for Apple lovers. It syncs beautifully with your iPhone and Mac.
  • Google Drive: Perfect for those who love Google Photos and Android devices.
  • CrashPlan or Backblaze: These are the superheroes dedicated solely to backing up your data. They're like the digital equivalent of a fortress.

Tips for Cloud Backup:

  • Automatic Backup: Set it and forget it. Let the cloud do its thing automatically.
  • Security: Choose a service with good security features. Your memories are precious, after all.
  • Cost: Some services are free up to a point, then you might need to pay. Think of it as investing in peace of mind.
  • How long they keep your data for: Some cloud storage providers will only keep the data while the physical hard disk is connected. So if you're running a backup, and remove your hard disk, after a number of days they will delete the data. So always check on the retention period, especially when purchasing something like BackBlaze.

A Few Extra Nuggets of Wisdom 🌟

  1. If you're anything like me, every process which needs repeating - needs to be written down! So create a backup plan which you can easily refer to.
  2. Regular Check-ups: Now and then, check your backups. You know, just to say hi and make sure they're doing okay.
  3. Update Your Backup Plan: As your photo collection grows, your backup needs might change. Keep an eye on this, like you would a plant. 🌱
  4. Stay Organised: Start tidy, and keep your photos tidy. It makes backing up and finding them later a breeze. If you've ever had to trawl through a digital dumping ground of someone's photo files you'll know - it takes HOURS and hours and hours to organise. So start a good process, and stick to it.

Wrapping Up With a Smile 😊

Backing up your photos might not be as fun as taking them, but it's a super important habit to develop. Think of it like brushing your teeth – not the most exciting part of your day, but essential for a dazzling smile (or in this case, dazzling photo memories!).

So there you have it! With your computer, an external hard drive, and the cloud, you're the superhero of photo safety. Now go forth and snap away, knowing your memories are safe and sound!

Happy photographing and even happier backing up! 📷 💾 ☁️