The Ins & Outs of Organizing your Photos: Backup Everything!

I began this series with “The Ins & Outs of Organizing your Photos – Make 2017 the Year you finally get it done!” and most of us can relate to the “whys” our photos are so unorganized. Now we begin to break it down and I have to start with backing up. Backing up your photos is always the first step toward organizing your photos. Of course backing up your digital photos is easier to do than your print photos (where you have to scan them first or find duplicates and store them offsite). From external hard drives to cloud storage, we have a plethora of options to choose from all of which can provide us with a peace of mind.

So here is a brief list of hardware and services to consider:

External Hard Drive (EHD)

  • You can purchase either a stationary model that sits next to your computer or a portable one to take with you
  • You control the access of data because it is stored in your home
  • You are not reliant on an internet connection to access your files
  • You must have the EHD connected to your computer in order to access the files

Cloud Storage

  • Relatively affordable storage that can be accessed from any device at or away from home
  • Your files are automatically stored offsite on secure servers so if a disaster were to happen at your home, they would still be safe
  • Make sure to look at the fine print when signing up for cloud storage. You want to be sure that they are not compressing the files, that it is easy to download all the photos if you needed to, and that you are not giving permission to the company to use your photos in their marketing (unless that is acceptable to you)
  • You must have internet access to access your files

Cloud Storage with Automatic Back-up

  • See above
  • Automatic Back-up to a cloud server automatically puts your photos in a secure offsite location; you don’t have to remember to do it
  • This type of service is especially great for those who take a lot of photos and video on their phones. It provides you with a great sense of peace knowing that dropping your phone or spilling coffee on it will not cause you to lose years of memories
  • There is a monthly or annual fee (compared to an EHD)

Flash Drives and Memory Cards

Pro: Cheap and portable, these sticks can hold a lot of photos to transfer between computers and other devices.

Con: They have a high failure rate so many don’t consider them a real back-up method.


It is still considered a best practice to store your photos in two places. Most recommend using both an external hard drive and a cloud service. If you choose to use only cloud services, make sure to store your files with two different services.

Backing up your non-digital photos is a little trickier because you’ll need to scan them. But every photo you own is not scan worthy. I’ll be covering how to determine what photos are worth the investment of time and/or money to scan in a later post but for now … Backup Everything! In my next post I’ll talk about how to Prevent Photo Disorganization From The Get Go.

Is organizing your photos on your 2017 project list or have you already begun to plan or organize your photos? If you have any thoughts to add, please share in the comments below. I would love to hear what your plans are, what works for you and what doesn’t, or where you may be hitting a road block. Let’s tackle this together!







Previous Posts in the series:

The Ins & Outs of Organizing Your Photos 

The Ins & Outs of Organizing your Photos: Preventing Photo Disorganization from the Get-Go

The Ins & Outs of Organizing Your Photos – Identifying Your End Goal

You may also like:

5 of the Worst Things to do to your Photographs – Living Peace Tuesday Tip

Digital Photos – Backup & Storage: How Safe are Yours?

Header Image: Credit Source Cloud Storage

About Gabriela Burgman

Gabriela's mission is to empower her clients with the tools and motivation they need to get and stay organized. Prior to becoming a Professional Organizer, Gabriela worked in a photograph archive as well as several university archives, assisting offices, administrators, and retiring academics to sort through their files for preservation or disposal. She became a professional organizer in 2007 working as an independent consultant before joining Living Peace. When Gabriela is not learning new ways to organize photos or paper both physically and electronically, she is spending time on what matters most to her: visiting with family and friends, reading a good mystery book, or cooking a tasty meal.

4 comments on “The Ins & Outs of Organizing your Photos: Backup Everything!

  1. Pingback: The Ins & Outs of Organizing your Photos: Preventing Photo Disorganization from the Get-Go

  2. Pingback: Photo Organizing – Follow the ABC’s!

  3. Pingback: 5 Common Misconceptions that Impact your Photo Organizing – Living Peace Tuesday Tip

  4. Pingback: Organizing Your Photos: To Scan or Not to Scan

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