Since my son was born (a little more than 3 weeks) I took more than 3 GB worth of pictures, and I know I'm not going to stop.

At this rate all my hard drives will fill up soon, so I was wondering how to back them up in the near future.

What do you use? DVDs? Online services?
I'd like to have them handy to show to relatives and friends, so I don't know if a huge collection of DVDs is such a good idea.

What is your experience?

asked 24 Oct '09, 00:12

JJJ's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

As someone who (stupidly) LOST about FIVE YEARS worth of photos I believe I have the ultimate (and inexpensive) solution for you...

I personally have over 27,000 photos going back about 10 years and here's how I keep everything organized:

  1. Create a folder on your hard drive where you will keep your pictures. I know lots of people like to use the "My Pictures" folder in Windows and that's great, but not everyone can find it later to back it up. I personally recommend (to non-techies) to just create a "pictures" directory right off the root of the C: drive.

  2. Inside of your pictures directory create folders in the yyyymmdd_some_title format. This way your pictures will ALWAYS be in chronological order. For example 20090903_hawaii_day1 is pretty self explanatory. Can you guess when I went to Hawaii? Can you tell which day of our 8 day trip it was? As corny is this sounds I do this so that if (heaven forbid) I should die early at least my family will have something organized to remember me by.

  3. Use Google Picasa for organizing your photos. Its a great program and works extremely well. You'll also notice that if you follow step 2 your most recent photos will always be on top.

  4. Buy a USB drive and BACK IT UP. Hard drives are SO cheap these days. Invest a few dollars and buy yourself a 1TB MyBook or something and then back your PC up to the USB drive. If your computer ever crashes, gets a virus, etc you'll thank me later.

  5. Here's the most important step. OFF SITE BACKUP! It doesn't matter how many DVDs you've backed up to if your house burns down. I personally recommend JungleDisk. JungleDisk uses Amazon's S3 service and once you get it set up (you might be a techie friend) its pretty easy to use. It costs only $0.15 per gigabyte per month storage and then a little bit for the transfer/bandwidth. Currently I have something like 40-50 gigabytes of photos up on JungleDisk and it costs me $6-$7/mo.

Once or twice a month (more often if I go on a trip or take lost of pics) I will sit down and "copy/upload" everything to my USB drive and to Jungledisk. Its EASY to synchronize the folders if you named them like I recommended in "Step 2" because everything will be in order.

So... with that in mind... I will NEVER lose pictures again. If my computer crashes, I'm fine... if my house burns down... I'm fine... if my laptop, etc is stolen... I'm fine.

I can't begin to tell you what it feels like to lose 5 years worth of photos. Its almost like losing a small piece of your life. After it happened to me the first time I swore I would always have "too many" backups of my photos.

Hope this helps.



answered 25 Oct '09, 03:19

KPW's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

I have taken a TON of pictures of my child as well. I save all my pictures on an online service called Smugmug. This way I know they are backed up if my computer crashes (this has happened to me before and that is why our friends got us the Smugmug site). I would definitely back them all up, whether it is on an external hard drive, online service, Cds, etc.

The way that I share all my pictures with family and friends is I have started a blog. This does take some work always "updating" the blog but I think it is well worth it. There are also sites where you can get your blog printed so this may be a good way to record your child growing up and then later turning it into a book, one less scrapbook to make!

One more piece of advice would be to keep on top of your pictures (printing them and scrap booking them) because once you get behind it is hard to catch up!!!


answered 24 Oct '09, 00:25

Melissa%201's gravatar image

Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

I use Google's Picasa for managing and sharing our photos. I haven't found an easier program to work with. The desktop program makes it very easy to import photos from your camera and to ultimately manage the photos in your albums. I periodically upload the "best" photos to the online web albums that is available through Picasa as well, and send a link to family and friends so they can view the photos as well.


answered 24 Oct '09, 02:23

Tim%20Lentine's gravatar image

Tim Lentine
accept rate: 0%


We also use Picasa. Its pretty wonderful, the latest update even has a face recognition feature too! The whole filing & storage system and editing tools are easy to use as well! Worth checking out!

(24 Oct '09, 03:52) Emi

In his response to this question Scott explains how we handle all of our baby related media.


answered 24 Oct '09, 00:24

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

When I had no children, My photos were travel pictures. Now most are of my children!

I use two big hard drives (500 GB each) for handling photos and videos. The first contains my multimedia libraries. The second is a clone of the first.

Some pictures are sent to family as well, so I know that if my computer fails, some of my digital souvenirs are somewhere around.


answered 24 Oct '09, 10:51

mouviciel's gravatar image

accept rate: 7%

Hard drives are really cheap. You can get a 1 terabyte (~1000 gigabytes) for under $100 and the prices continue to drop yearly. Online services and DVDs are affordable also. There are lots of great ideas from other users for this part and I don't have much to add.

My question is: how are you going to enjoy them? If you're just stockpiling them, what's the point? I'm not that big on tons o' photos but one of my best friends is. What their family did, which I think is really smart, is to have a screensaver on the living room family computer which displays random family photos and videos. They get to see lots of photos and videos they forgot they even had. It allowed them to enjoy many more photos than they would have otherwise.


answered 24 Oct '09, 15:25

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

I'm getting into the photography biz, so I have a lot of large pictures. I back them up to my home server and to a dedicated external hard drive. I also make dvds for the people that I take pictures of. So far, it's worked out well for me to do it this way.

There are some questions similar to this over on:


answered 24 Oct '09, 17:58

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

I use flickr and picasa, I back up everything with Mozy. It seems to be doing well.


answered 25 Oct '09, 15:43

Michelle's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%

I organize photos on my hard drive by date, then occasionally I take the old stuff and burn it to DVD-ROMs. I make multiple copies of each DVD and give a set to the grandparents and I also take one to work for safe keeping.

Recordable media doesn't last forever, so every 5 years or so, you should probably take everything you have and burn new copies of it. I haven't done this, but it's a good idea.


answered 09 Nov '09, 02:50

Kurt%20W%20Leucht's gravatar image

Kurt W Leucht
accept rate: 0%

Backups that are never tested may as well not exist, as the likelihood of them not working when you need it approaches 100% as time goes on. I've found over the years that "backup" copies tend to go bad for various reasons (bad disks, incorrect storage, physical damage, etc), and you don't notice until it's too late.

So, instead of (or in addition to, if you're the paranoid sort) making a backup that just sits on a shelf, make one that gets used. Get a couple of large USB disks, and copy all your family photos to them. Make them read-only (many drives have a switch for this) and bring them over to baby's grandparents. They're sure to go through every photo over and over, so you'll have a guaranteed working backup. Every few months, bring the disk home and update the photos.


answered 25 Mar '10, 03:12

dave0's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

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Asked: 24 Oct '09, 00:12

Seen: 3,822 times

Last updated: 25 Mar '10, 03:12