Looking after your images is a major part of being a successful photographer – especially for wedding photographers, and one that requires thought and planning. Ensuring your images are backed up and securely stored is part of the service your clients are paying for.
Wedding Photographers in particular need to be able to ensure the safety of their images for the long term, so finding a solution that fits into their workflow should be a priority from day one of starting a business.
We recently had a bride return to us after 7 years to say she had lost her USB of images and was on the verge of tears, as she thought that meant her images were gone for good.
(We moved away from offering USB’s around 5 years ago for that very reason)
Fortunately we take great care of the images and have an archive dating back to 2005 full of hundreds of thousands of our couples precious photos, which meant we could set her up with a new gallery of her images within a couple of hours.
As we’ve been in business over 15 years and have captured over 400 weddings, you can imagine we have a lot of pictures.
Our archive of images is spread across multiple network drives and totals some 33tb of data.
It’s a huge commitment to keep them safe – but one we’re proud to offer to our couples.
Cloud Storage for Photographers
Cloud Storage is basically a scalable data storage solution that is accessible via the internet, it enables you to have a robust data storage network, without having to commit to expensive hardware or devote time to and space to managing and storing the data yourself.
Most Cloud Storage companies also take care of all your backups, redundancies and data security needs further reducing your stress.
Essentially you just dump your files onto their servers and relax in the knowledge they are safe.
Cloud Storage used to be the realm of enterprises and was prohibitively expensive for the average photographer to use, but over recent years Cloud storage has become much more accessible to consumers. The rise of services like Dropbox, Amazon S3, iCloud, Google Drive & Backblaze have meant we can incorporate a more robust and easily accessible method of back ups into our workflow, further reducing the risks associated with storing large amounts of data.
We use quite a few different cloud solutions for different things and I’ll go through them all in this guide.
Our favourite cloud storage solution for photographers. Backblaze makes data storage easy and reasonably cheap. It can also be seamlessly integrated into your workflow – perfect for those who don’t feel confident about keeping backups.
(They also offer a free trial so you can get the hang of it before committing cash!)
They have a few different plans and their basic one allow you to backup a single computer to their servers for a very reasonable $60 a year. This one is great as once you install the app – it will take care of the rest and when disaster strikes, you can just login and know your data is safe.
They also do a much more expensive, but better suited to businesses plan that will keep a backup of your NAS drive for $5/tb a month. We love this one as it means everything we put onto our NAS drives after a wedding is gradually backed up to their servers while we sleep – so we wake up the next day knowing that the images are safe and secure.
iDrive comes highly recommended by most of the big tech blogs and it’s easy to see why. It’s been PCMAGs editors choice of cloud storage for the past 5 years. When you combine the amount of data they offer in their basic plans against the price they charge it’s hard to beat.
5tb for only $52.12 (with their 50% discount for the first year) is ridiculously good value. Even at it’s full price it still represents great value over the competition.
We really love that you can protect all your devices under one account and know your data is safe, something you can’t really do with the basic Backblaze plans.
We love Dropbox and have been a member since it launched many years ago, but If we were starting from scratch, we might not recommend it to new photographers as readily. We love it because we’re grandfathered onto a cheap plan (now no longer available) and for the amount of storage we have (2tb) it’s incredible value.
But if we were signing up today, it’s probably a bit more expensive than we would like.
It is however, rock solid and reliable. You have a folder on your computer and everything you put in it gets synced with the Dropbox servers.
It’s fabulous for keeping organised and making sure you have access to everything you need, even if you move across multiple computers or devices.
We love putting important documents in it for weddings – group photo lists for example – and then accessing them on our phones while at the wedding. It minimizes the stuff we have to carry and ensures we always have access to the latest copy of the information.
If you’re using google for your emails – you already have access to google drive, it’s fantastic for storing documents, files and photos. On our business plan we have 30gb shared across emails and Google Drive. It’s not the best in our list, but certainly has its benefits. Free plans have 15gb which is very generous for a free product.
You can even organise your photos in the brilliant Google Albums – something very popular with our wedding couples, as it makes it super easy to share photos with relatives no matter where in the world they are.
We actually recommend our couples to use Google Photo Albums to store their photos if they ask for backup suggestions as it’s so easy to use, cheap and readily available across lots of devices, and because it’s Google its safe and reliable.
Which Cloud Storage is best for Photographers?
We hope this little guide has been helpful. Data security and keeping good backups is an important element of being a photographer and especially if you’re a wedding photographer not something you can’t take risks with.
We also value the simplicity of integration, and we want something that will make it super easy and automate as much of the process as possible.