Backup your photos in the cloud.

It sounds great. All you have to do is click somewhere on your computer and all your photos will be safely backed up as if by magic.

I wish it were that easy.

Over the last couple of years a lot of companies, including some big players have been trying to convince us that we should do everything in the cloud.

In the cloud is just a fancy way of saying online.

These companies have a vested interest but the claims aren’t completely spurious.

Looking back a bit I can see that most computer users who are connected to the internet use online email services.

I can remember my early experiences of hotmail when I was on a dial up connection.

It was slow and it was primitive.

It offered little storage, few features and you had to log in frequently to keep the account active.

Today all this has changed and there are a number of reliable fully featured webmail services around.

Perhaps we’re at the same stage here. with photo backup.

Perhaps you can begin to backup up your photos in the cloud.

One obvious question is, why bother?

For me there’s one very good reason.

If you backup your photos in the cloud they are safely away from many of the usual threats to backups.

  • They can’t be stolen by thieves.
  • They can’t be destroyed in earthquakes.
  • There’s less chance of corrupted optical media and crashed hard disks.

From my point of view it’s clearly not time to backup your photos in the cloud as the first or only backup strategy but it might be part of a good strategy and it might become more reliable, simple and worthwhile later on.

At the moment there are several problems:

As a working photographer I produce mainly three file types.

  • I shoot all my originals in RAW
  • I edit the keepers in the lossless tiff format.
  • My final output for editors and agencies and the internet is in the JPEG format.

From one point of view the RAW files are the most important – they are the originals, the digital negatives.

From another point of view the JPEGS are vital as they are the final product – sometimes very far from the original being produced as stitched panoramas, HDR (High Dynamic Range) images and various other cutout and composite images which may represent hours of work.

Each format represents different backup problems.

Another factor is internet speed.

Many internet providers emphasise download speeds.

But to backup your photos in the cloud it’s the upload speeds that are important.

And then, there’s the sheer amount of data involved.

Over the last few years, the cost of hard drive storage has fallen dramatically.

There are signs that the cost of backing up your photos in the cloud will fall in the same way as companies compete for your custom.

So where are we now?

It’s a good idea to backup your photos in the cloud if you can.

It’s not a good idea to back up your photos in the cloud as your main or only backup options.

In the past few months I have tried out a few services and shall review some of them in the weeks to come.

My picture this week is of Martinitsi in Bulgaria.

My picture of Martinitsi in Bulgaria is here.

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Stock photography by John Rocha at Alamy

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