Compare Diffrent Ways to Backup Your Photos

Backups are there to protect you from disasters, they are there to make sure no matter what happens (from theft to flood and fires to natural disasters) at least your photos – your memories – are safe.

For your convenience we’ve collected all the ways you can backup your photos with their pros and cons and how they score by our requirements:

Quick Summery

Backup Solution High quality Automatic Off-Site Affordable
  Free Photo Sharing Sites YES YES YES YES
1/3Burn images to CD/DVD YES YES YES YES
1/3External Hard Drives YES YES YES YES
2/3On-line backup services YES YES YES YES
2/3SmugMug YES YES YES YES
3/3SmugMug + Giraffe Upload YES YES YES YES

Free Photo Sharing Sites

All the popular free photo sharing (Flickr and Facebook included) recompress your image to reduce the file size, in the process they reduce the image quality to a level that looks fine on the site (most of the time) but is worthless for printing or viewing in larger sizes.

Smaller photo sharing sites have deleted photos belonging to users who haven’t ordered prints and have gone out of business without notice in the past.

Verdict: The old saying “you get what you pay for” is true – not suitable for backups.

Burn images to CD/DVD

CDs and DVDs are cheap, unfortunately, they are pretty small compared to most photo collections making them unusable as a photo backup for most people.

Also, you have to remember to make backups – otherwise, when disaster strikes you can find the last backup is 4 months old.

Verdict: 1 star out of 3 - because you have to remember to create backups and to store the discs in a remote location - and even that only if you have a small photo collection that fits in a single disc.

External Hard Drives

External hard drives are inexpensive and easy to use, you can even get software to make the backup automatic.

But you have to have at least two drives and to move one to a remote location (your office, a relative’s home – anywhere in a different building) because whatever can destroy you computer’s internal drive and also destroy external drives.

This really happened to my parents – a burglar stole the backup drive together with the computer.

Verdict: 1 star out of 3 - because you have to remember to create backups and to store the drives in a remote location

On-line backup services

On-line backup services (like Mozy, Carbonite, Jungle Disk, DropBox and CrushPlan) are very good at backing up data and would be perfect except for one small detail -

They charge by file size (or throttle the upload to make large uploads impossible) - this makes perfect sense considering their expanses are mostly bandwidth and storage but this also makes them very expensive for photos because they files tend to be huge

Verdict: 2 stars out of 3 – because they are very good but too expensive for me

SmugMug

SmugMug is a photo sharing site for professional photographers – they do not play silly games with your photos like the free sites and they are very inexpensive.

The only problem I have with SmugMug is that there’s no built in way to automatically upload photos.

Verdict: 2 stars out of 3 – because you have to upload photos manually.

SmugMug + Giraffe Upload

I won’t insult your intelligence by claiming I’m objective about our own product – but we’ve created it because we couldn’t find any other acceptable backup solution and we really believe it’s the best photo backup solution available today.

Verdict: I give it the full 3 stars – if you don’t believe me just try it for yourself

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