Where to Back Up & Store Your Photos

When it comes to old photo albums, prints and negatives, there’s not a whole lot you can do about making copies (apart from scanning & digitizing like I did with this photo:)

Hiking Quandary, a Fourteener in Colorado

But luckily, it’s much, MUCH easier to back up digital photos because, well, they’re digital and 0s and 1s are way easier to make copies of. :)

How about you? Are your photos backed up? If not, read on, ‘cuz they should be.

Your Options

There are few different ways you can store your images, and these are the main contenders:

1) Physical Hard Drives

2) Online Backup Services (not catered to photos only)

3) Photo-Specific (designed especially for photos and/or videos)

1) Physical Hard Drives

Backup External Hard Drives [Photo: Daryl Mitchell]

This used to be the best option for most of us. While it was simple enough in theory to set up hard drives and software to automatically back up our data at regular intervals, many of us did not.

Plus, what makes this option even harder is that in addition to the backups we have on our hard drives at home, we also should technically have at least one offsite backup (i.e. a hard drive stored safely away from wherever our main backup hard drive is kept). This rarely happened.

So while you can still use hard drives to store your images and do backups of them if you want, I think we have better options.

2) Online Backup Services (non-photo specific)

In my opinion, the easiest and most reliable way to truly back up and store your images is with an online, automated backup service.

For this, I use and recommend CrashPlan (and it’s what I use for my non-photo data backups). You simply install their program, tell it what files & folders to back up, and then ensure your computer is connected to the Internet. That’s pretty much it!

It does take some time to get all your files uploaded to their servers initially (especially if you suffer from dreadfully slow speeds like I did when I lived in Alaska!), but after that’s done it’s so nice and easy.

But, if you’re also interested in showcasing and selling images, then you’ll probably want to consider the next solution, too.

3) Online Photo Sharing Services (that also let you store & sell your images)


I’ve tried out a lot of different services for this and by far my favorite is SmugMug.

While SmugMug is not a true back up because it doesn’t keep multiple copies of the same files, it’s a great place to store your photos. After all, you get unlimited JPEG storage. Nice!

But that’s not all, folks. As I mentioned above, you can also easily share and even sell your photos if you want to. They have many beautiful designs to choose from and it makes this whole process easy and slick.

This is what my site looks like:

Kim Olson Photography on SmugMug

The main “photos.kimolsonphoto.com” part of the site uses SmugMug, while the rest of the site “kimolsonphoto.com” utilizes WordPress.org (what I’d recommend if you want to start a blog).

To learn more, my SmugMug review has the details.

Or you can just go check out SmugMug yourself because it’s FREE to try (and you’ll get 15% off if you use that link and decide to sign up :).


So I hope that helps you choose the option that’s best for you so you’ll never have to worry about losing any images in the future.

Happy Photographing! :)