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Backing Up & Saving Your Images: Part 3 Online Storage Sites & Software Solutions

Storing your images on a safe and sturdy external hard drive is one of the easiest and cheapest options available to photographers, however this shouldn’t be considered as the only option open to you. In recent years there has been a steady growth of online photo storage sites that specifically hold your images securely and privately. Consequently a growing number of photographers, particular professionals, are using these sites as their all important fail-safe; if the computer crashes and the external hard drives are stolen, then at least you can pull your images back from your hassle-free, digital safety box.

What is more, by backing up work into a “cloud”, photographers are ensuring the availability and accessibility of their work wherever they are in the world. Furthermore this method extends the opportunity for the user to exploit the facility as a way of sharing their most up to date files with colleagues, clients and friends.

With an external hard drive you have the obvious one-off fee, however with an online storage site most companies request a monthly subscription fee and sometimes a start up fee. Although the figure advertised may sound affordable, when you add it up over the year it can become quite costly, and bear in mind that the amount of storage capacity you desire will affect the cost involved; i.e. more space – more money. Another concern is what happens when you decide to cancel your membership; some providers will permit you to download your collection for the last time, whereas others won’t hesitate in erasing all your stored files upon deactivation.

The good news many services will let users try before they buy, with demo trials, either restricting to a time-limit of 30 days for example, or storage capacity. IBackup, is one such website that runs a timed demo – offering a 15 day trial version. The software provided by this service is said to be 30% faster than its nearest competitor and the interface very user-friendly. Whereas providers Syncplicity and Mozy, both offer the latter option, extending 2GB of storage space, free of charge.

Getting started

Once you have found a website storage provider that you want to try, the steps for getting started and saving will be very simple. Although each site will differ in approach our step by step included here is likely to apply to most set ups.

Step 1: With your chosen site loaded select the free demo version (if it offers this option) and complete any subscription information required.

Step 2: When promoted download the accompanying software, ensuring your computer can run it with ease.

Step 3: Once installed most programs will now present a summary of your folders and highlight the ones that are or are not backed up on the site

Step 4: Select which of the photographers or folders you would like to sync to the site, and hit the activation button, which is likely to be labelled as something along the lines of: ‘Upload’, ‘Go’, ‘Send’ or ‘Sync’ etc.

Step 5: The app will upload the files to the chosen storage site, and probably illustrate the transfer progress with a decorative status bar.

Step 6: When all your chosen files have been uploaded to the cloud, the program will produce a pop up message to notify you of its success.

Step 7: Now when you use the app, files that have been uploaded may appear different (highlighted or ticked for example) from those that have not to give the user an instant visual reference as to what is now saved.

Step 8: To retrieve files from the storage site, you may need to use the app and follow its appropriate instructions for removal or simply visit the site, enter you log-in details, locate your folder and download the items you require.

Five online storage providers

With a bevy of websites to try, here are five online backup solutions to add to the mix:

1. IBackup – Starting at $9.95 a month for 10GB, iBackup  is another website that permits users to securely login to their accounts no matter where they are or what computer they are using.

2. Mozy – Mozy promotes 2GB of space free of charge or users can sign up for unlimited space at a competitively priced $4.95 a month. Unlike other resource hungry versions, Mozy only backs up changes to photographs rather than re-backing up the entire file when a change is made.

3. Syncplicity – As mentioned this provider offers 2GB free of charge, but should this not be enough users can subscribe to 50GB at a cost of $15/month. The main benefit of Syncplicity is that it synchronizes across multiple computers, so you can access it from any computer in the world.

4. Carbonite – Carbonite charges users £33 a year ($54.95) for unlimited space, and once installed the program does it all for you: automatically backings up photos, documents, emails and other important items.

5. Norton Online Backup – One of Norton Online Backup’s best selling points is it can be set to back up automatically, for example when your PC is idle, so you don’t have an excuse for not doing it. It costs £39.99 for 25GB which can store approximately 7000 photos.

Backing-Up Software

As previously indicated in part one, there are software options available that can help users back up their files to DVD or CD. This can act as the third and final method for complete protection of your photographs. A quick search on shopping websites such as Amazon, will present all the current products the market has to offer, with the purpose of the software being to regulate and simplify the process.

Nero’s Backitup & Burn is one of the most recognisable products, offering an intuitive interface that allows users to back up their files easily and quickly to CD, DVDs, and Blu-Ray Discs. Newer versions of this product also allow users to use the software to quickly back up to external hard drives or online banks, with a free three-month trial of 1GB of online storage.  What is more this particular product includes Backup and Restore features that rediscover data which is thought to have been lost or deleted.

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Natalie Denton (nee Johnson)
Natalie Denton (nee Johnson)

Natalie Denton (nee Johnson) is the former editor of Digital Photographer magazine, and is now a freelance journalist and photographer who has written for dozens of photography and technology magazines and websites over the last decade. Recent author and tutor too.

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