A guide to backing up your photos

I get emails from clients asking if I still have their photos as they have lost them, of course this is an easy fix as I always try to keep my clients images on file for as long as I can, at least 3-5 years if not longer. Most people don’t even give a second thought about this stuff, this is why I am putting this simple guide out there, I want my clients to be self sufficient in preserving their own photos and hopefully save some heartache.

Chloe Creative Photography Couple married kissing derbyshire venue breadsall priory
Chloe Creative Photography

Why is it important to back up my photos?

People lose their photos everyday when hard drives fail, laptops and phones get stolen or through accidental damage like fire. Imagine losing your most treasured photos of your kids, childhood memories or your wedding day!? What have you done to make sure that your photos are safe? All storage options have advantages and risks, nothing is full proof but this is why the next part is important...

Use the 3-2-1 rule, have at least 3 copies of your data, store the copies on 2 different media, keep 1 back up copy offsite.

Here are some of the options you have to store your photos:


Many photographers ( including myself )supply photos via USB, these are pretty reliable. Photos on write once CD’s are good as files cannot be accidentally deleted, the down size is that most CD’s and DVD’s are not big enough for a large photo collection.


USB sticks are really easy to lose and not suitable for long term archiving. USB’s and CD’s can be lost, damaged or stolen.

Branded USB with presentation box

Online Storage 

Online storage is so accessible right now and really cheap if not free! It's so easy now to link your phones/computers to the cloud and automatically store your photos. Here are couple of providers to look at:

- Google Drive : 15GB free for Gmail users ( or from £1.60/month for 100GB )

- Google Photos : Unlimited ( it does compress photos 16mb or bigger )

- One Drive : 5GB free for outlook.com accounts ( or from £1.99/month for 100GB )

- Amazon Drive : 5GB free or free unlimited photo storage if you have prime ( or from £17/year for 100GB )

- Apple iCloud : 5BG free ( or from 79p/month 50GB )

- Dropbox : 2GB free ( or £7.99/month for 2TB )

- Flickr : 1,000 photos or videos free


You could be locked out of your account or someone could hack your account and delete all of your photos.

External storage

External hard drives are no longer these huge metal bricks, they have amazing storage capabilities and that can fit in your pocket! External hard drives are relatively cheap and easy to set up, most of them work via USB port and simply work by plugging them into your computer ( just make sure its compatible with your computer/laptop ). Depending on how much storage you need they usually range from 250GB to 4TB. 


Hard drives can fail! This is why it should not be your only back up. External hard drives can be lost, damaged or stolen.

Your computer

I would recommend when you get any photos on USB or via download link, to get them backed up onto your computer initially, from there you can then back them up on a hard drive or online storage.

Wedding Album

The final point I am going to make is 'Print your photos!’ , get them framed and on the wall, get your wedding day photos in an album. Call me old fashioned but there is nothing better than having something physical to hold and look at. With that said this might also be the perfect time to go through your old photos and digitally archive them with the 3-2-1 rule.

Back up your photos NOW! You’ll thank me later!

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