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Photo and Video Backup Strategy: Why I am not likely to ever lose my family photos and videos from the last 10 years in the next 10 years.

Here is the way I backup my photos>

  • First I use dropbox for “immediate” backup of the last month
  • Then I use PictureLife as a full backup and viewing service
  • Then I use Amazon Glacier for “cold storage”
  • For my stuff I sell I use Amazon S3

Here is my system.

Dropbox : First Line of Backup

My wife and I take most of our photos on our phones, so we have dropbox installed on our phone with automatic uploads. Every time we get to a wifi spot, the phone “calls home” to dropbox to upload the latest and gratest photos and family videos we have taken.

I have my own dropbox account with 100 GB on it. My wife has a separate, free dropbox account.

My wife has shared her “Camera Uploads” dropbox folder with me. She also has auto upload enabled.

Dropbox also automatically supports multiple versions up to a point, for the same file, so even if we get our files encrypted by that awful virus, we can restore them by version. I hope.

Cost: $10 a month for the pro plan

PictureLife: 2nd Line of Backup with Browsing

I pay for a standard picturelife plan, so I can always browse all our pics and videos on my phone, ipad and more. I chose picturelife because it supported videos. Lately other services have added that possibility as well.

We have picturelife installed on all our family PCs and phones. On the PCs it is set to look for stuff in the camera uploads and the shared camera uploads folder from my wife. Yes, we upload the same pics multiple times, but picturelife seems to be mostly smart enough to tell if the same picture has been uploaded multiple times and keeps only a single copy. sometimes we get two *especially if we get any pictures from what’sApp. This is still not a solved problem..

If we do take pictures with other camera, we just put the SD card in the laptop slot and let dropbox import everything into the camera uploads folder. From there everything gets synced to picturelife.

Cost: $15 a month for up to 300GB


Glacier: Cold Storage

We have two “family computers: in the house. One of the main media center windows machine with 1TB hard drive on it, and it is connected to my dropbox account. That means it also gets all of mine and my my wife’s photos since she has a shared folder with me.

Every one a month or two, I zip up al the files on that machine’s camera uploads and “camera uploads from my wife”’s folder and upload them to amazon glacier. the zip file is named with a date range for example . Once the glacier upload is done (I use fastglacier for a speedy upload) I can safely delete the photos from dropbox, so that I do not pass the 100 GB limit (we have lots of videos).

No virus will have access to those files.

I also have a copy of all these files in two other glacier regions, just in case. the cost are extermly low. Much better than S3.

Cost: about $10 a month for around 300GB so far

Amazon S3: Quick access for my work

I have all the video files for all my courses backup to both S3 and Glacier. S3 is good because I host some of them for the blog and sometimes I need to get them to upload stuff to my shop. So I have two online backups for my large video files. S3 costs more, so I make sure to keep stuff there without the redundancy options, which is much cheaper

I have LOTS of data on S3 so I get around $40 per month in costs..


Final Words

I don’t rely on a single service to stay up. And I always have full access to everything from the last ten years.

Total cost for managing all my files ever:  $65-$75 a month.

Your costs might be $40 lower since you might not need S3 if you are not keeping professional grade work for quick retrieval.

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