Newsletter – September 2020

Welcome to Save Your Photos Month!

September Tip – Be Prepared

The best way to protect your precious photos is to be aware of the risks, assess your options, choose solutions that fit your personal needs and create a plan to ensure you keep them safe. Do it now, before disaster strikes. You’ll be glad you were prepared!

Create a Backup Plan

The single most important thing you can do to protect your photo collection is to back it up. Your digital photos are at more risk than your printed photos and should be addressed first. I recommend you follow the 3-2-1 Method of backing up your digital photos – keep 3 copies of your entire photo collection, stored on 2 different types of media or devices, with 1 copy stored in a different physical location. What would this look like? Perhaps you will keep one copy on your computer’s hard drive, one copy on an external hard drive and one copy in a cloud-based storage site.

An external hard drive (EHD) can be purchased at Staples or Best Buy for less than $100. They have a life expectancy of around 5 years. When you purchase a new EHD stick a label on it with the month and year it was purchased – now you will know when it is time to replace it.

A cloud-based storage site is an excellent choice for a second backup copy of your photos. Please don’t consider it your primary (or only!) backup. When you use these sites, you are entrusting your photos to these companies – and you then become subject to the way these companies treat your photos. Some change the size of your photos and only keep low resolution copies. Some don’t keep the metadata attached to your photos. Some allow syncing with your mobile devices (which can easily lead to accidentally deleting your photos on ALL your devices!) Do a little research to see which site is best for you.

Check out the following cloud-based storage sites specifically for your photo collection:




Google Photos

Amazon Prime Photo

Also look at these cloud-based storage sites which will back up other files on your computer as well as your photos:




SOS Online

Acronis True Image


One Drive

Here is my personal backup plan:

  1. I keep the primary copy of our digital photos and videos in a digital photo hub file on the hard drive of my desktop computer. It’s easy to access and I use it all the time.
  2. We use Carbonite to run a backup copy of all the documents and photos on our desktop computer. It automatically updates as files are changed. This is my first cloud-based backup.
  3. I keep a copy of my entire digital photo hub in One Drive. This is my second cloud-based back up. I also have the photos and videos on my phone automatically upload to a folder in One Drive to provide immediate back up. I can download any picture from my entire collection to my phone in seconds.
  4. I keep a copy of my entire digital photo hub in Dropbox. This was my original cloud back up, and it’s simple to maintain, so it’s become a third cloud-based back up.
  5. I also keep a copy of my digital photo hub in SmugMug – I use this copy to share photos and videos with my family.
  6. I have an EHD that I attach whenever I download pictures or work on my personal digital photo hub. I copy over any changes I have made to my digital photo hub as I work on it. This is part of the process of organizing my pictures and gives me a back up copy at my fingertips should something go wrong.
  7. I plug in another EHD every few months to make a full backup copy of the files on our computer. I like to have a local back up copy for ease of recovery, mainly for files that are not photos or videos.
  8. I create an annual photobook for our family (this is a printed copy of our best photos).

I use a mix of manual and automatic backups and I keep to a schedule so I know when my last backup copies were made. I didn’t even blink the summer our computer hard drive was completely wiped. Or when my phone suddenly stopped working and had to be replaced. Or when Marko’s phone was stolen in Russia (though we did lose a few pictures he hadn’t uploaded yet). Or when we quickly evacuated the house when the construction company hit a gas line across the street. It happens! ?

Create your own backup plan. Write it down and establish a schedule for downloading your photos and backing them up. Include a mix of automatic and manual backups. Investing a small amount of time each month is well worth avoiding the panic and loss when your computer eventually crashes. Please contact us if you would like help setting up your backup plan!