Happy New Year!
I took some time over the holidays to update my digital photo and video backup for 2014. Since the year was now over and the last New Year's Eve party picture was taken, it was time to get organized and, more importantly, make sure my backup was in place.
The goal for a good backup is to make sure the important data is in more than one place and that these multiple locations are NOT under the same roof! For the purposes of this blog post, I will focus on digital pictures and not my entire backup strategy!
Many pictures that I want to save come from my camera. Some pictures will come from other people that I will copy to my computer - through SD cards, downloads, or if they send me a picture in an email. So I have two needs - getting pictures off of my phone to my computer and organizing the photos that are now on my computer.
I move pictures that are in the camera roll on my iPhone by using the "Camera Backup" feature in the OneDrive app. In DropBox, it is called "Camera Upload". The basic idea is that, by opening these apps, they will automatically access your phone's camera roll and upload the new pictures to an online storage location inside of an existing OneDrive or Dropbox account. This process is easier if you have OneDrive or Dropbox installed on your computer, because then the pictures will sync to this computer for the next step.
Instructions for setting up "Camera Backup or Camera Upload":
Keep in mind that if you have a limited amount of storage on your DropBox or OneDrive account, you may hit a limit. Note that the FREE storage given by Dropbox is 2 GB, but Microsoft offers 15 GB free in OneDrive.
My next step is to organize! I like to create folders that have pictures from certain days and events in them. For my New Year's Eve party, I created a folder on my desktop called "2014-12-31 New Years Eve" and put all the pictures I had in it. I pulled these pictures from my Camera Backup folder, the email I received from my friend, and by copying pictures off of my Mom's camera!
Once all my folders are organized on my desktop, I then upload them to a cloud storage location. I use Google Drive for my pictures. I could easily use OneDrive or Dropbox for this as well, but I have an existing system that is still working for me, so I put all my pictures there. I currently pay $2.99/month for 100 GB of storage in Google Drive. My photo/video collection is about 80 GB in size.
Now the ruthless part!! I go back to both my iPhone Camera Roll and my "Camera Backup" folder in OneDrive and DELETE the pictures that I have uploaded and backed up. Why? Otherwise these locations will quickly become unmanageable if they are filled with hundreds or thousands of pictures. Bad things happen when I run out of storage space on my phone and the iCloud backup of my phone.
The process I have described so far I actually do actually every few weeks, or any time I take a significant number of pictures at a certain event. The longer I wait, the harder it is to get organized.
The one extra task I do at the end of the year is copy my entire 2014 picture collection to an external hard drive. That way may pictures are both in the cloud (on Google Drive) and on an external hard drive. The external hard drive has my entire picture collection on it from previous years as well. When I am done copying, I UNPLUG that external hard drive and put it in my closet.
Technically, I have one other step, but that is just because I tend to go way overboard on backing up. I also keep a copy of pictures on my desktop computer at home for easy access for projects. This computer is also backed up using Carbonite. But I don't consider this my primary backup for pictures and video.
So that is my life! It gives me a good feeling to know that my pictures are safe in more than one place and my phone is not filling up! I am ready to take on the new year! What is your backup strategy? Let me know on Twitter - @jdgeek - or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.