The coat closet at my parents’ house has boxes stacked upon boxes filled with family photos. A problem we have is that older photos have become faded and fragile over the years. When my grandma passed away a few years ago, we wanted to try and preserve the hundreds of old photos she had. We created scrapbooks and family albums, but even those didn’t help much. Sometimes the glue dried out and photos fell off the pages or the acidity of the glue destroyed the pictures.
A few years ago, we started scanning photos on to our computer and carefully organizing each into folders. Soon our computer filled up and we needed more space. So, I rounded up some ways to digitally store photos. If you’re looking for some places to preserve and protect your family photos that aren’t in boxes in a closet, I’ve got a few ideas for you.
Online Photo Storage Services
There are tons of free online services where you can store photos. From clouds to social media sites, you have a ton of options to pick from. I can’t speak on behalf of all the platforms available, but I will talk about the ones I use on a regular basis.
I recently started using the Drive available on my Google account. It contains 5GB of free space, which can store almost 100,000 photos if each photo is 50KB a piece. If that doesn’t seem like enough space, you can upgrade to a 25GB Drive for $2.50 a month. You can access the Google Drive from Macs, PCs, Androids, and iPhones anywhere, anytime as long as you have an Internet connection. Plus you can share photo files easily with others if they have a Google account.
Social media sites like Facebook are another great place to store and share photos. They make it easy to upload photos and keep them organized in albums. Plus, you can tag locations and people. However, privacy is one of the biggest issues at the front of people’s minds. Before uploading, check your privacy settings to make sure that the albums are either private or set so only friends can see your albums. Also, don’t post any photos you wouldn’t want others to see.
Another issue some people have with posting photos on Facebook is the occasional scare that they’ll take the rights to your photos. From past experiences, I wouldn’t worry too much about this. Whenever a social media site has brought this issue up, public backlash has made rethink what they’re doing.
Store Photos on an External Hard Drive
The other place I put my photos is on an external hard drive. If you’re worried about social media sites claiming the right to your photos or hackers accessing your accounts online, this might be a better option for you.
Years ago, external hard drives were pretty expensive. I think my 100GB one cost nearly $100 when I got it for Christmas five years ago. I’ve stored thousands of pictures on mine with plenty of room to spare. Today, you can buy 1TB drives for practically nothing, which provides tons of space to store photos.
One thing to be careful about though is that just like computer hard drives, external hard drives can crash, too. I actually plan to replace mine soon since it’s several years old now. I have tons of photos on there, and I certainly don’t want to lose them. For the price of an external hard drive, I can get more space without the reoccurring fees that online services charge if you opt to upgrade.
I’m sure you’re wondering which storage method is best. The solution I employ right now is backing up my photos on both an external hard drive and on an Internet-based service. That way I have a backup plan in case one fails. It may seem like over kill, but I really don’t want to lose the family photos I’ve taken over the years.
How do you digitally store photos? Share your thoughts with other Zing readers!