Best way to save all photos


Mu-43 Regular
May 9, 2014
I currently have about 70 gig of photos saved to my desktop which is backed up with carbonite.
I was toying with the idea of a NAS or maybe even a cloud save instead and wondered what the preferred method is these days.

I'd like to hear what you all have done to make your photos safe and very easily accessible for all users/programs.
I spent the last week consolidating my folders and cleaning up a bit and now I want to move forward with a solid plan.



Mu-43 All-Pro
May 8, 2011
Jersey Shore
Real Name
I don't think the answer can be found in any single storage method. There is some risk in any of them and I feel at least three methods are advisable - all complementing the others. First, you can buy a separate external hard drive dedicated to photo storage. You still might to burn some photo CDs and DVDs - but not just any CD or DVD. I recommend these:

Cloud storage is also a good idea. Many people I know lost locally stored photos in Hurricane Sandy. I will leave it to others to recommend which cloud-storage methods are the best. And, finally, I would print your most-cherished photos. Not all of them or even most of them. Just the most important. Even if its only at the local drug store, Target or Costco. Be advised, however, that there is no doubt that you will have to migrate your photos to different electronic-storage platforms as technology moves on.


Mu-43 Regular
Apr 15, 2014
The proverbial three rules of backup:

3 backup copies of anything you want to keep
2 different storage media
1 offsite storage site

I use a NAS (Synology, highly recommended) not just for backup but also as plain old storage for "older" photos (i.e. anything pre-2014 at the moment). Lightroom will work with files on the NAS just fine.

My new photos get added to Dropbox (though I'll be switching to Sync soon) which means they are on 1) my MacBook, 2) the Dropbox cloud storage, and 3) another PC that is also connected to my Dropbox account. Once or twice a year I move them to the NAS to free up local space for new photos.

All of this — the NAS, MacBook, and PC — are backed up with Crashplan (similar to Carbonite). So all of my photos are in at least two physical locations (my house and the cloud) and on at least two physical devices. And many of them are also on Flickr (they offer a terabyte for free), though this is usually a manual procedure.

Much of my shooting revolves around yearly trips overseas. So on top of everything else, I have a separate hard drive which I only connect to my PC to dump all the original photos on there after a trip. Then the hard drive goes away in a closet. Bonus points if you have family/friends in town who will let you stash a hard drive in their closet in case of fires/floods/burglary.

Storage is cheap so never skimp on backups.


Mu-43 Veteran
Dec 6, 2012
Real Name
Jan (John) Kusters
So far the growth of disc space has more than matched my growing number (and size) of pictures, so a mirrored set of two external hard disks have done the job for the last 10 years.
By the time they are getting full, two new hard disks are so much bigger that I do not even need to keep the old ones (I do keep them, but the new ones were always that much bigger that I could put all my previous files on them as well).
I keep the recent years of pictures on my internal disk for quick access, and make a monthly copy to one of the external drives, and update the mirror of that drive every few months. I usually keep the mirror drive at my job.

Joe Billingham

Mu-43 Veteran
Jul 8, 2013
Real Name
I have two backups at home: Time Machine (hourly) and an external drive backup via Carbon Copy Cloner every week or so. I also have a RAID in my office about 20 miles away with my full audio and image collection. I backup it up every month or so. It's not perfect but Time Machine has saved me from losing an hour of work many times for and the clone saved me once from a hosed drive. Never had to use the offsite backup but glad its there.

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