I think everyone has their own heartbreaking story of data loss. For me, it was when my laptop bit the dust, shortly after graduating from college, and it took all my senior year photos along with it. This was before the age of the cloud so when my computer bit it, any photos that weren’t printed… completely disappeared. It was devastating.
I remember telling John ‘but…they must be SOMEWHERE! they can’t just be gone!!‘ A couple months later he gave me an external hard drive for Valentines Day. That may not sound terribly romantic to you, but a man who cares about the security of my photos? Sold.
The good news is that in the TWELVE YEARS since that incident, backing up photos has become EASIER THAN EVER! Today I want to share my favorite backup methods that are TOTALLY FREE!
how to backup your photos for free
Amazon Prime Photos
My favorite FREE photo backup service is Amazon Cloud Drive. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get free unlimited photo storage with your membership! Seriously, click here to get started already.
Amazon recently completely re-designed their Photo Storage experience. It’s now called “Prime Photos” and it very closely resembles Google Photos. It has amazing facial recognition, plus you can view your photos by place/date/theme, and you can securely share with family members using their ‘family vault’.
Here are the reasons I prefer Amazon to Google Photos:
- It does not compress/resize your files. Google offers a paid service where you can upload your full-sized files, but it’s not included in the free service.
- You can backup raw files. This is huge for professional photographers, but probably not a big deal to most people.
- You can keep your photos in folders. I save my photos in folders on my desktop by year/month and copy/paste those folders into Amazon. If I want to see my folders, and not the visual page, I can access everything at Cloud Drive.
If I haven’t sold you yet, let’s talk about the Prime Photos App. It’s totally free (for prime members) and will automatically backup photos from your phone. Seriously, get started already, friend!
I know I just shared a few reasons why I prefer Amazon Prime Photos over Google Photos, but truly… Google Photos is a really neat, free service as well. If you’re not an Amazon Prime member or if you’re a loyal Android user, Google Photos may be the way to go.
Personally, I use Google Photos as a backup-to-the-backup and for searching my photos. As I shared above, the FREE version of Google Photos compresses your photos and saves them at a smaller size. The quality is still great (compression doesn’t even impact photos taken with your phone) and it will suffice for almost everything you need. But since I’m a photo snob, and I take a lot of DSLR photos that are pretty large in size, I prefer to use Amazon Cloud Drive to save full size backups and use Google Photos as my backup-to-the-backup.
My favorite thing about Google Photos is their insane search capability. INSANE. Searching for a keyword will seriously blow your mind. I wanted to find a specific photo of Jill as a baby in the bathtub, but I didn’t remember the date, so I searched ‘bathtub.’ Not only did I immediately get the photo I was looking for, I also saw baby photos of Colin in the bath tub, photos of the demo of our bathroom during a remodel in Seattle AND a photo of me in labor with Jill in the hospital bath tub (yikes)! Let me be clear that those photos didn’t have any indicators of ‘bathtub’ in their title. Google actually searched the VISUAL CONTENT of my photos to find bathtubs.
Here are some things I prefer in Google Photos over Amazon:
- It backs up video files as well. Amazon Prime Photos is unlimited for PHOTOS, but if you want more than 5GB of video storage, you need to purchase their paid plan ($60/yr).
- The Google Photos Assistant automatically makes collages and animated photo files that it thinks you’ll enjoy. If it sees a sequence of similar photos, it’ll animate them (which can turn out really cute!) or turn them into a collage.
- The Google Photos Assistant also automatically suggests filters/edits to certain photos. Yes, it edits your photos FOR YOU (and often does a pretty good job).
Like Amazon, the Google Photos App will automatically backup your photos from your phone, instantly. It also lets you delete photos from your phone after backup, if you’re short on phone storage space.
Friends, ultimately you have to JUST START. No, really, just start TODAY. It’ll be a weight off your shoulders to know your photos are safely backed up. Trust me!
For both backup solutions, it’s two simple steps.
- Download the app to start backing up photos on your phone
- Visit their website to initiate a desktop backup using their uploading software
That’s it! Seriously! It’ll only take you a few minutes to accomplish this…. so, why haven’t you started yet?
Overwhelmed? Let me help!
I’m working on a detailed ‘Backup Bootcamp’ class that’ll be launching for the new year. It’ll have step-by-step videos you can follow to consolidate, organize, and backup your digital photos. Oh, did I mention it’ll be FREE? Make sure you’re on my newsletter to find out when it launches.
You can also contact me about my photo organizing services. I am happy to backup your photos FOR YOU!