Keeping your holiday photos safe

fz50.jpgThe hol­i­day sea­son is upon us, which means that we’ll be enjoy­ing time spent with fam­i­ly and friends. Many of us will grab our handy cam­era-enabled data phones and snap price­less shots that we’ll want to share, and keep for pos­ter­i­ty.

But that’s where the tech can get a bit tricky. Sure, we’ve tried shar­ing to our var­i­ous Face­book, Flickr and Picasa accounts, but what about the ‘sav­ing for pos­ter­i­ty’ part.

Pho­tos in the Cloud
Well, two of those three ser­vices men­tioned above are a great start. Here’s the four that I’ve seen and used that will offer sol­id pho­to ser­vice over the hol­i­days and into the future:

  • Flickr offers a Pro lev­el account (about $25 per year for unlim­it­ed pho­to and video stor­age) that will keep all your pho­tos online and avail­able. Free gives you unlim­it­ed stor­age, but only your most recent 200 pho­tos are view­able. Online image edit­ing pro­vid­ed by Pic­nik.
  • Picasa has a free account that offers 1GB of free pho­to stor­age and basic image edit­ing tools.
  • Smug­Mug is prici­er, offers three lev­els of ser­vice, and is geared toward the more seri­ous pho­tog­ra­ph­er.
  • Adobe Pho­to­shop Express gives you access to basic online pho­to edit­ing and orga­ni­za­tion tools, and 2GB of free pho­to stor­age. Addi­tion­al stor­age space can be pur­chased annu­al­ly.


So, what’s so great about stor­ing your pho­tos online any­way?

  1. Back­up — you don’t have to wor­ry about keep­ing your images safe; the ser­vice you’re using does that.
  2. Shar­ing — easy to embed the images into blogs, email and twit­ter mes­sages. Each pho­to usu­al­ly has a pub­lic URL that’s sharable (or pri­vate, if that’s your thing).
  3. Print­ing — a few of the ser­vices are offer­ing part­ner­ships with pro­fes­sion­al print­ing labs which lets you pro­duce pho­to­books, cus­tom prints etc.
  4. Inte­gra­tion — some of the more pop­u­lar ser­vices are already inte­grat­ed into your iPhone cam­era appli­ca­tions (such as Instra­gram). Push a but­ton and your lat­est shot is uploaded to the ser­vice, ready for you to edit and share.

Local stor­age?
Yep, you can keep your pho­tos on your own com­put­er, but you do run risks should your com­put­er crash or worse. I do keep the major­i­ty of my images at home, stored on a net­work attached stor­age device that’s got two dri­ves, one a mir­ror of the oth­er. So if one should die, I’ve got a copy of my data on the oth­er.

Also, I back­up my pho­tos week­ly, and move the back­up dri­ve to an off­site loca­tion for even greater safe­ty. Yeah, a house­fire would ruin a lot of things, but I know my pho­tos and oth­er impor­tant data would be safe.

Your needs?
It depends. Take a sol­id think about what you plan to do with your pho­tos, how you want to share them, and how impor­tant they are to you (can you afford to lose them?). I’ve like­ly giv­en you some ideas to try and exper­i­ment with as we head into the hol­i­days. I’d love to hear what you’ve tried and how it worked (or didn’t).
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