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How Do You Store Your Personal Photos? 680

Posted by timothy
from the and-where-do-you-put-the-negatives? dept.
mxhf writes "I just came back from a four-week vacation to Mexico. This is the country for Aztecs and Maya Ruins and we visited plenty of them. Needless to say we took thousands of pictures with two cameras. Having arrived back home I realize that my hard-disk does not have enough space left to hold the additional 16GB that I collected on the other side of the globe. Now, my hard disk already is 250GB. I work exclusively on a laptop and do not want to change this. I know that there are larger disks today. But I figured that the time has come to finally move my image collection from my laptop to somewhere else. But where should I go? So, how do you store your photo collections? And how do you keep backups? These are obviously images that I want to keep for my life. So the need to survive fires, burglaries, etc. I think the amount of data I have rules online storage out. Should I just get two USB disks and leave one at a reasonably save location? I think this must be a common problem today. And yes — before you ask — I do know that the first thing to do is to go through your collection and dump what is not worth keeping."
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How Do You Store Your Personal Photos?

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  • by adam (1231) * on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:48PM (#34945072)
    In your case, since it sounds like you don't create that much data, you'd probably be fine picking up a couple of portable USB drives (2.5" drive, powered over USB = tiny). For consumer use, the Samsung Goflex 1TB [amazon.com] (the 2.5" version) is around $100, widely available, and works great in my experience. Buy two. Use one as your master repository, one as a backup of that, and keep the second in a water-proof container (hint: try rubbermaid containers, they're waterproof and cost about $4), locked in an inexpensive fire safe, safety deposit box, or at a nearby friend's or relative's house. If you aren't needing to store more than 64GB of material then you could substitute "thumb drive" or "CF/SD card and reader" for portable USB drive ... solid state media will be 'safer' for long-term storage but obviously afford less space-per-dollar.

    A better option, but beyond what you wanted is a SAN/NAS. Drobo makes some decent products, and I currently have a DroboFS [drobo.com] at my home, loaded with 2TB drives. This gives me a little over 7TB of RAID storage to backup all my footage, images, documents, and so forth. It's network addressable, so any of the several machines in my house (both Mac and Windows) can access it. The total cost (Drobo + drives) was around $1100 or $1200 iirc. The downside to the FS is that its max transfer speed is around 20MB/sec, but they do offer other models [drobo.com] with transfer speeds that are better suited to live editing — I only use the FS for backup, I have 4TB [in the machine I am posting from now] dedicated to live editing. The Drobo is nice, imo, because it's a consumer-oriented appliance (with RAID built in) that can take any SATA drive, will allow you to mix and match drive capacities on the fly, and they offer 'Time Machine' style automated backups (along with other apps) if you want that sort of thing. Beyond the Drobo, I also do separate backups to portable drives and keep them offsite (as I mentioned above), just as an extra level of paranoia in case my house burns down. If you are really paranoid or into safety, LTO [wikipedia.org] would be a better way to go for this.

    Actually, given how little data you (the original poster) might need to backup, an old LTO machine bought on craigslist (LTO 1 will do 100GB, 2 does 200GB) might be the solution. The tapes are relatively cheap, and the format is both open and reverse-compatible for a few generations (so when your LTO 1 craigslist machine dies you can buy an LTO 2 or 3 machine from the same venue and still access your content (and then migrate it forward to LTO 2 or 3)).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by HotBits (1390689)

      1- Don't erase any images from the memory card except the useless ones (like those with the lens cap on). Get a new card when full. This is much cheaper than film and developing was just a few years ago.

      2- When card is full, or when you get back from a trip like that, copy all the images to an external USB hard disk.

      3- Every once in a while (once per year at least), do a system backup to the external USB hard drive, encrypt anything that might be embarrassing, and send the drive to your Mom for off-site s

      • by confused one (671304) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:08PM (#34945416)

        and send the drive to your Mom for off-site storage.

        How is upstairs off-site?

    • by bobetov (448774)

      I recently purchased a Bubba 2, 2TB capacity. It is network-enabled, so you can leave it on and plugged in all the time, and supports remote mounting from OSX, Windows and Linux. Very sexy little box, with nice Web-based GUI for managing it and a smorgasbord of OSS services enabled (eg music streaming, email cache-and-forward, etc. etc.)

      It's quiet and problem free after 3 months. Not too pricey, either (~$250 IIRC).

    • by MoonBuggy (611105)

      Tape probably isn't worth the cost or effort for a personal system, even for old kit on craigslist. I'd stick with your first suggestion, two USB drives, keep one off site. It's also worth mentioning that you can get very cheap online storage - slow, and not something I'd trust as my only copy, but Dreamhost or Amazon S3 can easily handle many GBs for not much cash. For your money you get the advantage of worldwide access, extra geographic redundancy, and some level of backup assurance at the data centre to

      • Main store is on a MAC.
      • Weekly (or so) rsync backup to a Linux box into a date labaled directory, linking to the old one to minimize disk needs.
      • Every three months on the Linux box establish a new directory tree, not linking to the old one.
      • Roughly monthly: rsync to a portable usb drive. Rotate with another at work
      • When I visit my relatives who are a very long distance away, I rotate another usb drive with them. This one gets updated every year or so.

      Long term idea: use FUSE to create a directory structu

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:14PM (#34945486)
      Be careful with fire safes. They are generally designed and rated for paper, not electronic media, and will get too hot for electronics to survive. Be sure the safe you get is rated for electronic media. Also such electronic media rated safes I've seen are really designed for disaster not security, a claw hammer can probably open them. If you are just storing your family photos this is probably a plus.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        SentrySafe makes a very nice document safe with a USB pass-through, the QE5541 [sentrysafe.com]. My 2.5" backup drive resides in the safe 24/7.

  • with no backups. Faulty power supply fried it last year. Yeah, I keep regular backups now.
    • by pr0t0 (216378)

      I keep mine at a 2T WD external USB HD ($100), as well as on my PC's HD. The nice thing is I keep the external connected to the HTPC so I can pull up the photos (or movies, music, etc) in XBMC for my viewing pleasure. I suppose if I really wanted to protect them for a longer period of time, I could back them up to Blu-Ray or DVD...but it's not like those last forever either.

  • by jaymz666 (34050) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:51PM (#34945122)

    I definitely wouldn't rule online backup out. Unlimited backup providers like Crashplan, Carbonite, etc. certainly provide a service that can be very useful.

    • Re:Online ruled out? (Score:5, Informative)

      by kenj0418 (230916) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:00PM (#34945288)

      I definitely wouldn't rule online backup out.

      If we are just talking about photos, there are even more options. A Flickr Pro subscription allows unlimited photos for $25/yr with (optional) sharing of photos.

      There are 3rd party services that will send you a backup of all of your Flickr photos for $20/DVD.

      Personally, I keep my own backup, but upload nearly all my photos (except those of Ray William Johnson's mom) to Flickr just in case (and to share with friends and family).

      • by metamatic (202216)

        If we are just talking about photos, there are even more options. A Flickr Pro subscription allows unlimited photos for $25/yr with (optional) sharing of photos.

        Until Yahoo kills the service and deletes all your data. But I'm sure they'd never kill Flickr the way they killed Yahoo Photos [mashable.com] and Yahoo Video [techcrunch.com] and deleted everyone's data, right?

    • Re:Online ruled out? (Score:5, Informative)

      by joebok (457904) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:25PM (#34945632) Homepage Journal

      Absolutely don't rule out online backup. I recently started using DropBox as an on-line backup for my iPhoto library. When I combined that with using PhoShare (https://sites.google.com/site/phosharedoc/Home) I can easily keep a backup in the cloud for a very reasonable price.

      Note that I use PhoShare's resize option when I export my library - that makes it fit. I used to worry about keeping originals and lossyness and all that, but in real life I look at the pics on a screen or a photo frame or print 4x6 at most - so even if I have a total disaster and lose my hard drives and backup SAN, I'll still have "good enough" copies in the "cloud".

      • by greggman (102198)

        Dude, you must be high. $20 a month for 100 gig!?!? There's no way Dropbox is going to work as a backup solution for photos. My camera was adding 4-16 gig every month and that was before I started using RAW which is 10x larger.

        A 2TB HD is $80 internal, $110 external on amazon.
        http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Elements-External-WDBAAU0020HBK-NESN/dp/B002QEBMCI/

        On top of that, backing up all that data over the net could take quite a while on slow USA upload speeds, not to mention that the largest ISP, Com

  • Same as always (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrLogic17 (233498) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:51PM (#34945128) Journal

    This type of question comes up a lot. How do I store for the long term?

    Simple answer. Have it spinning on disk (or flash, or SSD, or...) and live accessable, plus an off-site backup.

    Any off-line media will at some point be unreadable. Keep it accessable & live, and migrate it each time you upgrade your system.

    Sure, I've got a few 5.25" floppies around, but how to read them? Keep it spinning & live.

    • by nschubach (922175)

      Makes me kind of wonder about the validity of a "home" redundancy system. One box("vault") for the car and one for the home. They'd be encrypted storage (in case the car gets stolen) linked via encrypted Wifi, and would alert you to drive failure with audible or a big red LED. It would need an upgrade path. Allow the linking (plug in cable, press link button on new unit) of several vaults and allow you to phase out small old ones or keep three linked vaults (home, car, work/friend). You'd have to limit

  • by nemasu (1766860) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:51PM (#34945130)
    It's the safest, most secure and private place on the internet I can think of.
  • That's the simple solution. Then have that backup to the web via something like Crashplan.
  • by DomNF15 (1529309) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:53PM (#34945146)
    Get a couple of NAS drives. Have your laptop run backups between the two devices in case 1 drive fails, or just run 1 device with RAID 1/5. Burn Blu-ray backups every 6 months or so, throw them in a fireproof safe or safe deposit box. Or take a separate USB drive to do the backups and throw that in the safe. If you're running Windows and the NAS is available as a windows share, you can run the free SyncToy app to do incremental backups.
  • combination (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:53PM (#34945148) Homepage

    Buy a larger internal hard drive for your laptop...that will solve your "immedeate access" needs.

    If you're really serious about actual back up:

    1. Buy a 1 TB external hard drive. Copy all of your pictures on there, then put the hard drive in a safe deposit box. This will be your "iron-clad" backup, one which you only update after major trips such as the one you came back from.

    2. Buy a second 1 TB external hard drive that you keep at home. This will be your "primary" backup, one that gets updated every time you have new pictures.

    3. For extra protection, buy a crap-ton of DVD-Rs, and burn all your photos on them.

    • If you are archiving to optical discs, make sure that you use dvdisaster:
      http://dvdisaster.net/ [dvdisaster.net]

      It allows you to utilize all of the unused (otherwise wasted!) space on a disc with distributed error-correcting data. It is free, cross-platform, and trivial to use. As an experiment, I burned a dvdisaster-padded CD-R and made a deep scratch on the surface with a key. Dvdisaster was able to recover the data without any trouble.

      It's quite brilliant software!

  • Downsample..... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    As a part time pro photographer, I'll let you on a little secret. You rarely need more than 5 MP of data. Downsample all your images to 2500px on the long side, with the appropriate aspect ratio, save as 98% JPG and enjoy. Unless you are going to print 30x40-inch high gloss roll off prints, or crop massively, your 12-15 MP camera is really chewing up disk space for no good reason.

    • Re:Downsample..... (Score:4, Informative)

      by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m a i l.com> on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:06PM (#34945372)

      I sort of agree with this and sort of disagree.

      On one hand, the poster is right: high resolution isn't really useful unless you want huge size or a very large crop.

      But on the other hand, there are a couple reasons you might not want to do that. First, I recommend doing that resizing in post (instead of in-camera) if at all. This gives you the freedom to look at them and go "oh, actually I do want to crop that tiny section" before you lose the ability. Second, I still recommend shooting RAW if your camera can. The resolution doesn't matter, but the likely extra dynamic range and the lossless white balancing adjusting does. Then you have a decision as to whether you keep the RAWs around, or post-process to JPGs and save those. You can definitely do the latter and reclaim space, but I'm a fan of the former -- and my workflow doesn't provide any opportunity to downsample. I don't even know of any tools that will let you downsample a RAW and still get a RAW, though I suppose perhaps some DNG conversion tool may let you do it.

      (Downsampling makes a lot more sense for someone like this submitter than it does for me for instance. I shoot a fair number of photos, but even at nearly 30 MB a shot (18 MP or so in RAW) the main reason I whine about the size is the flash card itself -- and if you take my advice to downsample on the computer, it doesn't get around that problem. But I have a desktop with a ton of space and a 500 GB USB drive. For me, storage is very cheap not just in monetary cost but in terms of what I need to do to use it. Someone like the submitter may have a bigger problem with the latter.)

  • ...that leaves external hard drives. So buy a couple, back up from one to the other, and keep one somewhere else.

    I put the best of the best of my pictures up on Flickr pro account, but that only works out to a couple dozen a month on average at most.

  • I do not move them of my computer, I use a backup service called backblaze (www.backblaze.com) that gives you unlimited storage and continuously backup for 5$ / month, hassle free and cheap.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You'll never ever look at the vast majority of them. If you don't have time to look through them and only keep the good ones why not just delete them.

  • My solution (Score:4, Funny)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:54PM (#34945182)

    I upload them to 4chan, from where they will be stored on a multitude of /b/tards' harddrives forever.

  • 1. Get Website
    2. Install http://gallery.menalto.com/ [menalto.com]
    3. Store Photos.
    4. ????
    5. Profit!

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      That's hardly a backup. What if you miss a payment on the hosting bill because you're in the hospital or something? Your files = gone for good.

  • Flickr (Score:3, Informative)

    by kenholm3 (1400969) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:56PM (#34945206) Homepage Journal
    $25 / year. Easy to use. Easy to share. My 70 y/o dad harasses me on a regular basis when we'll post new photos. Currently have 10k+ pics online. Back up of our Flickr is Carbonite. -K
    • Someone please mod this up. Fantastic value for the money, also has built-in online editing tools, grouping/sets, blah blah blah etc. I probably have on the order of 5-7K+ pics on Flickr these days, works fantastic for what I need and easy linking.

    • by SoupGuru (723634)
      I use Flickr as part of my backup scheme, as well. I just got a dslr and have been shooting raw files which take up a substantial amount of storage. The raw files get dumped out of the camera onto the raid 5 media server in the basement. A script runs on Sundays to copy those files to an external USB drive. As I go through the photos and find the ones that are presentable (about 1 out of every 200, it seems... yeah, I'm not a great photographer. Yet.) those get saved as jpegs and uploaded to Flickr. T
  • by Umuri (897961) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:56PM (#34945216)

    It is well worth the $100/year to shell out for an online webspace to store your photos if you want to keep them for life.
    10 gb is nothing, just setup a background process to sync and limit it's upload bandwidth, and it'll do it over a few days/weeks, no matter how big your file is.

    That way even if your external dies, or gets stolen, you have that ace in the hole.

    Peace of mind, especially for valuable memories, is worth the money, plus it has the added benefit of giving you a way to share photos with friends/family easily. Plus any other things you want to do with some webspace.

    The reason i recommend buying a full webspace somewhere rather than dedicated backup utilities is because you can normally get more storage/cheaper, and have a little better direct control over your data, with the added convenience of access through http!

    • by sycorob (180615)

      It is well worth the $100/year to shell out for an online webspace to store your photos if you want to keep them for life. 10 gb is nothing, just setup a background process to sync and limit it's upload bandwidth, and it'll do it over a few days/weeks, no matter how big your file is.

      That way even if your external dies, or gets stolen, you have that ace in the hole.

      Peace of mind, especially for valuable memories, is worth the money, plus it has the added benefit of giving you a way to share photos with friends/family easily. Plus any other things you want to do with some webspace.

      The reason i recommend buying a full webspace somewhere rather than dedicated backup utilities is because you can normally get more storage/cheaper, and have a little better direct control over your data, with the added convenience of access through http!

      Totally agree with this. I used to just keep stuff on my laptop, backing up from the laptop to an external drive since I know drives aren't fail-proof. I see others recommending this setup too.

      Then, some douchbag broke into our house and did a quick grab, got the laptops and the external drive. I felt pretty stupid. All photos, etc that weren't in Flickr were gone. Every single photo my wife took in England that summer are gone forever. Live and learn, I guess.

      Now I dump pretty much all pictures in Flic

  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:56PM (#34945218)

    5 2TB drives in RaidZ2 (Yes, it's not optimal, but it'll take 2x failures.

    2 external 2x2TB enclosures with the drives mirrored. Rotated off site every week. When an enclosure comes home I scrub it make sure I didn't break anything and then for the next week everything is synced nightly.

    If I'm not shooting any photos, then I really don't rotate stuff.

    I'm not quite at a TB of photos, but shooting 8GB at a time does start to add up. Last resort nearly everything is on Facebook. They do allow photos up to 2000 pixels / side. It's not a lossless backup, but if it means having children's photos vs not, it's better than nothing.

    Sadly NOTHING has happened. No drive failures, nothing. I haven't been able to test any of it out other than when I upgraded to 2TB drives from 1.5TB drives with a
    zpool replace tank ...

  • by Superken7 (893292) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:56PM (#34945220) Journal

    I like to keep them in picasa. I trust the cloud (especially for a company like google) much more than my own management of a couple hard drives.
    Plus, I like the service (its interface, being able to download the original, easy sharing, transparent sync to my phone, etc..).
    The big downside is not being able to download entire albums in one download (maybe there are 3rd party apps that do that), and the fact that you can't upload videos unless you are using the windows client (I usually just use the web).

  • I'm getting a Drobo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wandazulu (265281) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:56PM (#34945226)

    Funny enough, I was just thinking about this insofar as my backup disk died, while the main disk in the machine is still running fine. I've listened to enough TWiTs and the like to know about Drobo and checked out the site. I like that the size can be increased over time (up to whatever limit the firmware supports in the enclosure). I was thinking I could also justify it by getting the version that sits on the network as a NAS and use it for all my Time Machine backups, etc.

    I also have a separate external disk (not a Drobo or NAS or anything fancy) that I do an overnight copy of all the important files using rsync with the disk plugged directly into the Firewire 800 port, then I take the disk with me to my folks house and let it sit there. After a week or two I bring it home and the whole process repeats.

    I've also got a private vpn to a Linux machine I set up, but even though I did a full update on it for backup, rsync takes forever (many many hours) to determine what files need to be updated/added, and the machine gets pretty bogged down. Still working on a good solution for automatic offsite backups...

    I'd be interested to know what others think of the Drobo before plunking down the $$$ for one.

  • These are obviously images that I want to keep for my life.

    Every single one? Why? Everything you feel you must have for life is another thing you'll be "paying" interest on for the rest of your life, in the time and money spent managing it. When you die, will anyone want to continue saving these thousands of photos from a single trip, or even have time to look through them?

  • "And yes — before you ask — I do know that the first thing to do is to go through your collection and dump what is not worthwhile keeping."

    Well let's start with that then, as it is totally false.

    You have a mere 16GB of data. You can fit that on a Flash drive and leave it somewhere in Death Valley to be found 500 years hence if you wish. You could mail one to every continent on earth for a pittance.

    Yes it's good to sort through images looking for thing that are worth more effort editing and sha

    • by Veldcath (591080)
      Not to mention, some of my better photos have been ones that I hadn't meant to take, or turned out wrong on first look, but a bit of cropping and playing turned it into something I really liked. The only time I actually delete a photo is if it's completely and totally worthless (like a completely blurry picture of my foot, or something, from when I'm walking across a field.)
  • I have a NAS (RAID 5) array that I keep the photos on. Every once in awhile I'll burn the photos directory to two DVDs. One is kept locally just in case of a failure of the NAS. The other goes to family/friends house in case of a disaster (fire, etc).

    Most of the pictures we have of the kids since they were born are all digital, so I don't want to take any chances with loosing them.

  • The price of a couple of thumb drives is insignificant compared to the price of your vacation and the memories associated with the photos. I buy a thumb drive for every vacation and store them this way, in a medium sized fire proof safe. Yes, thumb drive storage is more expensive than hard drive storage, but I trust their longevity more than I would a hard drive.
    • Use something like iPhoto or Lightroom or Aperture or whatever the best OSS equivalent is.
    • Learn how to use the library features to archive/import/rejigger your photos to/from your computer's local filesystem.
    • Buy two external drives.
    • Keep an entire snapshot of your library on the external drives.
    • Find someone you trust who lives in another town, and mail them one of your drives.
    • Every month (or whatever) have that person mail you the drive and you mail them the other, newly-updated, drive.
    • Repeat
    • When you
  • by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:59PM (#34945276)

    You either take way too many pictures. Are you really going to look at thousands of pictures of ruins? Hardly. However, since that's not the kind of advice you asked for, I'd suggest an external HD. It's cheaper than a similarly sized pen drive (1.5Tb ~$80).

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      Um, no.

      Once you start doing, for example, HDR panoramas in a RAW format, it eats up space FAST.

      • by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:31PM (#34945722)

        Veering offtopic, here. Anyway, true, but not the case. TFS said he took "thousands" of pictures. In 16Gb. Probably standard 6mp JPEG. HDR is something else entirely. What I point out is how impractical it is for people to go through their tens of thousands of pictures. It would take way too much time, so no one really does that. We keep way too much crap.

  • I bought a ReadyNAS bare and added 2 2TB drives in a mirror. I have a 1.5 TB USB drive which also plugs into the NAS and I rsync them periodically.
  • I store my photos on the terabyte hard drive I have dedicated to archive storage. In my case it's in the machine that acts as the general-purpose server for my home network, but you can buy dedicated storage boxes from companies like NetGear if all you want is a file server.

    External services? Why in the world would I want my stored photos to be at the mercy of a free service deciding to close up shop? And it certainly isn't financially feasible to keep paying a monthly fee for storage.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      When your house burns down so does that general pusrpose server and with it those archives. And did you say "hard drive" as in singular as in keep your fingers crossed?

      I really doubt paying $2 a month for offsite backup is going to be financially infeasible.

  • >I do know that the first thing to do is to go through your collection
    >and dump what is not worthwhile keeping.
    I'm not sure why you say this in such an authoritative tone, but this is a great example of something you *shouldn't* do. There's nothing to say that a shot that you're not particularly fond of today will remain so forever. This is especially true when you shoot in RAW, since there's so much to work with and techniques you can learn to salvage a so-so picture.

    Moreover, your attitude of 'I hav

  • Zip them up and call the file something like "HD Celebrity sex tapes collection" and upload it to your favorite bit torrent site.
    I call it my free foolproof backup solution.
    Then you can just download your pictures any time you need them.
  • I just upgraded my wireless network to allow for a shared hard drive. I have several laptops at home, but I was running out of space quickly with all the photos and music that I own. I had some portable hard drives that I would move photos to, but keeping that plugged in at all times was a pain. Now with a wireless external storage, I just keep what need right now on the local drive, and the rest is shared. When I am at home, I have access to everything. Right now it's 500GB, but that will expand to a few T

  • As the subject as for me. I get my photos from my camera onto my laptop, and then semi-regularly sync them with Time Machine to an external drive of 500 GB. Automatically starts backing up as I connect the drive, which is important to me -- if it's not convenient enough, I'm not going to use it.

    Unfortunately, my laptop's drive is "only" 250 GB large and it's one day going to fill up. It's actually taken surprisingly long despite me photographing mostly in 12 MP RAW, but when it do happen, I guess I'll move

  • by junglebeast (1497399) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:03PM (#34945330)

    I use three hard drives in my main computer. One small drive for the OS and installed applications, a second large drive to store my media (1 TB is sufficient for me), and a third drive to hold backups. Differential backups are automatically made for WIP data on a nightly schedule, everything else is automatically done on a weekly schedule.

    Every few years I pull the hard drive and wrap it in some bubble wrap, package it into a cardboard box with the date on the outside and give it to my parents to store in their attic as a fallback.

    The total cost of this operation comes down to about $100 every three years.

  • by fizzup (788545) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:03PM (#34945338)

    I print them out in Cauzin Softstrip [wikipedia.org] format on archival paper. It's the only way to be certain that my blurry thumb will be preserved for my grateful descendants.

  • I work exclusively on a laptop and do not want to change this.

    Consumer laptops and their components are engineered and manufactured based on priorities that the market dictates. Were I in front of you, I might well pick up your laptop and smack you in the head with it: You are NOT using a device optimized for mass storage.

    Your laptop's design priorities are: 1. low price, and 2. small size. In that order.*

    Notice that I didn't mention reliability, speed, or storage capacity.

    In addition to the laptop compute

  • Is it just me or is the rest of the world getting just as trigger-happy as the Japs (assuming that the OP isn't :})? 16GB of data over 28 days at a resolution of say, 4MB per picture, is about 150 snaps every flippin' day. That sounds more like work than a vacation to me.

    Reminds me of this chap [slashdot.org].

    In any case, I rely on Picasa for low-res storage, NAS for general storage and an external HDD for back-up of essential files which I sync every now and then and store at a remote location.

  • ... and it wants it's Ask Slashdot question back. 250GB of data? But seriously:

    1. Buy USB or SATA HDD dock (3.5"). Probably USB3 is what you want, and get some sort of card so that your laptop can connect at USB3 speeds.
    2. Buy several internal 3.5" HDDs. Browse newegg and pick the best $/GB that is as reliable as you need it to be (judge by % of low star reviews). They make them in TB these days.
    3. Find a good priced local store and buy it there if you want to minimize risk of it being damaged in shipping,

  • I keep all of my photos on a file server that automatically backs up my files every night to a USB drive and have another that gets written to monthly. These two stay in the house and are in case the server dies. I also have a USB powered drive in a safe deposit box that I update yearly. Then I have two other USB powered drives that I rotate through the safe deposit box monthly. I'm also kicking around the idea of keeping a drive at a friends house and backing up through the internet. A few years ago I was

  • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:07PM (#34945400)

    ... particularly those that predate ubiquitous image capturing (I can't in good conscience call it photography), I just don't take many personal photos. A few each time to document the event, but not enough to warrant a question about how to store all that stuff.

    Instead, I prefer to *live* the moments, seeing them personally through my own eyes, rather than experience them through the camera viewfinder and then later via images. My epiphany came in the hospital when I was faced with the choice of documenting the birth of my daughter with a video camera plastered to my face, or putting the fucking thing down and living the experience myself. You can probably guess from my choice of words which option I chose. So I'm left with my own imperfect memory of the event rather than a memory as seen through the viewfinder and replayable later.

    Your precious personal photos and videos are like the dreaded vacation movies/slideshows back when people did that kind of thing. Odds are you will never look at your archive of photos very much - if you did, you wouldn't be experiencing new things, you'd just be reviewing your old experiences over and over again.

    So stop worrying about your "precious" photos and just go out and experience some new things. Pay attention while you're doing so, and you can tell stories later about the wonderfullness of it all.

    IMHO, this is much better than compulsive photo-documentation.

    But I don't expect many to agree. Shiny gadgets have captured our souls, and I'm afraid they may be lost forever.

    • by dougman (908)

      While I can respect your opinion, I do disagree. Many (most?) of the pictures I take are not for my personal consumption, but those of my family and especially my children. Recently I made a montage of photos using animoto for my mom's 60th birthday. I used photos taken by my parents over the years. The process of looking through them, thinking of the memories they provoked, asking questions (after the fact) about some of the events I didn't recognize (or happened before I was alive) was a great experience

  • by arikol (728226) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:08PM (#34945418) Journal

    Seriously, are all those thousands of vacation pictures worth storing?
    Or could the feeling of the vacation be summarised by less than a hundred pictures? What about less than fifty? Less than 30? 20?

    We really are behaving like mad magpies, hoarding this data as if it really were the memories of the event (well, if one takes multiple thousands of pictures then one may actually have spent the whole vacation behind the camera instead of enjoying the experience. See "experiencing self vs remembering self" http://sheshtawy.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/experience-self-vs-remembering-self-experience-vs-memory/ [wordpress.com] )

    I've recently taken to culling my selection of pictures which I actively back up; selecting only a dozen or so images from each month. That still results in less than 150 images a year. This selection gets backed up both on multiple media here at home as well as backed up online. The other thousands of pictures are saved only at home, on an external drive (external USB drive connected to an Airport Extreme) an on my laptop's internal drive. These extra images just don't require the safety of an off-site backup. They're just not that important!
    And nobody will care about the 500 pictures of an Aztec pyramid in a couple of years. Even if you and a loved one are in the pictures it will end up that there are two or three pics which are great, the rest serve only to bore housegests senseless when subjected to the torture of a thousand picture slideshow of places they haven't been and people they don't know...

    When I think to my childhood I actually remember large parts of it, especially extremely good or bad events. This is independent of whether pictures exist from that event. Where pictures exist, they tend to colour my memory, and in many cases change it (events which I KNOW weren't fully positive, but the single picture from the event shows something enjoyable happening and everyone smiling).
    Pictures LIE, and they change how you remember. Taking them also changes how you experience life. Live a little.

  • Honestly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:09PM (#34945424)

    OH the HORROR! What should I DO? Please slashdot, help me solve this difficult problem!!! I need a team of NERDS for this!

    Seriously, with HD prices at under $100 for 1.5 TB, who gives a flying fuck? If you don't know how to plug in a USB drive you should be shot.

    • Ahh, just the sort of maladjusted, socially challenged nerd response that keeps people coming back for more helpful insights like yours.

      And it's modded +4 insightful as well. Yeah, responding to someones question with , "you should just die you dumbass" is very insightful.

      But to the point, how does a USB drive not burn up in a housefire, or NOT get stolen by a burglar? See, when you stop to consider the question in full, as opposed to telling the guy to up and die for being such a stupid asshat, you'll fin

  • One component of a solution might be to make lower-resolution versions of the pictures (e.g. use ImageMagick to do a batch scale-down) and store those in multiple copies. You could probably reduce the size by 90% and still have perfectly useable pictures. Obviously lower-resolution is not as good as the original, but it would make it more practical to make many backups, and keep them in many places. Lower-resolution is better than nothing. (This is not meant to replace backup of the originals - just make
  • 1. Get an external hard drive. I'm sure there are many comments available for good solutions for this

    2. Get some of those digital photo frames, load up some SD cards/USB sticks and keep them around the house. You could have one photo frame for one holiday, another frame for a special birthday or other event, etc.

    This way, you have your main back up in the form of a hard drive somewhere, and a visual back-up/reminder of the events for which you took photos for/of to remember.

  • Live+2+1 redundancy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cpct0 (558171) <slashdot@miche l d o n a i s.com> on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:12PM (#34945462) Homepage Journal

    I am a semipro photographer. One raw picture is >20M, and I tend to take between 500 and 2000 pictures for an event.

    I keep all pictures. All of them. With the usual exceptions of the black ones or a very blurry ceiling.

    My computer is also a laptop. I removed the useless DVD drive to host a second hard drive, only for the pictures. That gives me 750gb for pics.

    I also have a 2TB external hard drive, and a general backup 4TB drive.

    The workflow I use is as follows:
    - I put all my pictures on my computer.
    - Once transferred, I plug and copy all the new pictures on my 2TB, never removing anything from there, only adding.
    - I then process the pictures, adjust them, do whatever needs to be done. I sort them in 3 buckets (deleted, meh, good).
    - I copy the working copies for the good ones to the 2TB also.
    - I delete the deleted/meh from my laptop, only keeping the good ones.
    - I do a general incremental rsync backup of my laptop to my 4TB.

    For me that's enough protection, I always have my "good" pictures with me on my laptop, and have access to everything else on my dump drive.

    For fires and burglars, I also have a second encrypted 2TB at work. I can safely recreate everything else from that part...

    So far it has served me well, and I haven't lost anything. I've been burned badly in the past after crashing a HD while doing a backup, and having 6 HDD failing me in the same year (yeah, lan partys will do that to your gear) so I am very anal about my data.

  • Save photos to a RAID-enabled NAS, and for offsite backups use some form of online storage.

    I'm a SmugMug user and SmugMug provides EXCELLENT value - you can even store RAW images with SmugVault if you have a Premium account (If you don't shoot in RAW, Standard will be fine for you most likely.) If you don't shoot RAW, Flickr might be a good alternative.

    As to, "And yes — before you ask — I do know that the first thing to do is to go through your collection and dump what is not worthwhile keeping

    • by pirodude (54707)

      I concur with SmugMug. I have their entry level account for $40/year and it's worth every cent for unlimited storage. Plus you can get back your original images very easily instead of compressed versions. Highly recommended.

  • What I do. First, I use Lightroom to manage everything which lets me categorize and rate.

    I keep one hard drive at home on my desktop. I keep another at my office attached to that desktop. I use unison to keep the two in sync. So I have offsite backup.

    On my laptop, I keep two sets of photos. First is the recent stuff I've taken that I'm "working" on. The second set is only stuff I rank above a certain level and processed by lightroom into JPGs of reduced size (still bigger than the laptop screen). So I've go

  • I use Gallery, an open source PHP one, because I've not been motivated to find one that fits my needs more perfectly. It's not terrible, though finding specific pictures is hard. If I had infinite time, money, and motivation to spend my time on maintaining pictures (which, arguably, is a better expenditure of my time than a lot of my hobbies), these are the features I would want:

    • Web access
    • Automatic thumbnail / "small size" generation, so that I can easily upload them to Facebook, link them on forums, or sh
  • I'm a what is called a serious amateur photographer. I probably take around 25,000 pics a year and keep maybe 3% of them. I always have two copies of everything I value on separate media--at the moment, DVDs and an external hard drive, but I expect that to change in the future as storage technology evolves. In addition, all of my best work is stored as high quality JPGs on an online photo site. I consider this a minimal scheme. If I were a pro, I would have additional off-site copies of everything, but
  • For primary storage, I keep mine on a NAS device that currently has four drives split into two RAID0 pairs. When space on the NAS gets low I install two new, larger drives, copy the data across and remove the now defunct pair. Given that you have a laptop you'd probably want to substitute a portable DAS system instead of my NAS for convenience's sake, and only keep the latest and favourite images on the laptop's internal HDD.

    I then do incremental backups (you don't really need any other method for medi
  • Get a few of your friends in different cities to all agree to be one anothers' hot-backups. Each of you buys a NAS box. You backup your files to the NAS boxes of two of your friends in different cities. Your site holds the backups of two friends... Hell, encrypt them in case someone's house gets burgled... Personally, I have a friend with dedicated bandwidth supplied by his employer. I store a small Mac Mini over there. I also have a small vhost on the other side of the continent that I pay $150/year fo
  • by JanneM (7445) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:18PM (#34945544) Homepage

    External harddrive. Second harddrive in different location and/or a flickr account so you don't have it only at home.

    Needless to say we took thousands of pictures with two cameras. [...] These are obviously images that I want to keep for my life.

    Now, seriously? I have photography as a hobby too, and in the very best case about one in ten shots are actually worth saving, and that proportion drops the more shots you take. Most pictures end up being crap - that's not an indictment, just a fact. Most shots Adams or Bresson took ended up as crap too. You have perhaps two hundred pictures, tops, that you or anybody else would care about.

    Chances are you're never ever going to look at most of those thousands of shots ever again, and your kids will simply throw it all away unseen in the far future when they're cleaning out your belongings. Problem is, if you haven't edited the collection and thrown away all the thousands of duds, they will end up throwing away those good, important images along with the rest.

    So, best approach: go through and delete all the crap, all the duplicates, all the technical duds. Then delete all the ho-hum images. Aim for, say, two hundred images to save, or better, fifty. No matter how eventful a vacation, you don't have more than fifty great places or events to record. And the more pictures you keep, the more you dilute the impact of the good images.

  • The RAWs from my camera are already 25-35MB each. A quality-9 jpeg post-production final is usually in the 7-10MB range. I archive both so I'm sitting on about ~40MB per picture in archive storage. Needless to say it adds up pretty quickly.

    I keep the archive on a 2TB drive which is backed up as part of my normal backup, meaning it gets backed up to another machine on the LAN and from there to a colocated off-site box. So I have three physically separated copies. I also usually wind up uploading the jpe

  • by ArcadeNut (85398) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:32PM (#34945726) Homepage

    1) Print them all out.

    2) Post them all to your Face Book page.

    Really? You don't know how to back up your data?

    USB Drives, Flash Drives, DVD's, BluRay's, On-line backup.

  • by joh (27088) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @07:37PM (#34946522)

    I know that many people have problems to keep their photo collections down to a managable size. I always recommend to first somehow mark photos for deletion and then delete them later. Why? Because deleting a photo is something nobody likes to do -- you *may* want to look at it again, so you don't delete it outright and later you never come around to go through all your photos and delete those you don't need.

    So use some photo managing app and flag those photos as soon as you see them. If you use some app that has this one to five stars thing, use a one star rating for photos you think you could delete (because "no star" could also mean you haven't rated them at all yet). Later then it's easy to just delete all photos flagged this way.

    Everything else is futile. Keep your photo collection small. Do not try to delete photos immediatly because you very probably won't do it anyway. Flag them for deletion. A year later or so you will have no problem at all to wipe them away then.

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