Where Are My Photos?


Vacation time is filled with many great trips. We are on vacation as I write this. There are plenty of opportunities to take pictures so we can view them later and bring to remembrance the good times we had. Many of my pictures are uploaded to Facebook so family and friends can see what is happening in our lives.

roll-of-film

When I was growing up, picture taking was expensive. My parents would purchase a couple of rolls of film before leaving for vacation then we would snap one or two pictures at strategic points on our trip. Pictures were not candid at all– we would pose for a family shot every now and then in front of a sign or building that would clue us in later as to where it was taken.

Digital cameras and smartphones have changed all that. We go on vacation and hundreds of pictures are taken, but what do we do with them? How can we safeguard them so they won’t be lost?

I have experienced many a computer user in a panic because their computer had stopped working and all their years of pictures might be lost. It is like our vehicle– we expect it to start every time we turn the key. When it doesn’t, it is inconvenient and perhaps costly, but we don’t lose anything. The car is the same car and the features we enjoy are still there. When our computer crashes we could lose all the programs we have been using and all our data.


Backup

image-backup

My first bit of advice is to do a regular image backup of each computer you have. I do mine once a month using free image backup software and an external hard drive. If the hard drive crashes I can still get to my data. All my data from the time of that backup is in another location. (Backup details is another article for later.)

This article is not about all the ways to accomplish these tasks. It is about what I do and what I suggest to anyone who asks. There are other ways and I hope you will comment on what you find useful for your photos.

Google Docs

google-docsI have a Google account and use Google Docs for most of my writing. I am using it on my iPhone to write this. It is free to use and all my data is stored in the Google Cloud. The files I create in Google Docs are stored for free and not counted against my 15 GB of free storage with my free Google account.

My iPhone is used for all my picture taking. As a result of that, I have thousands of pictures. I use the Google Photos App so every photo I take is automatically uploaded to the Google Cloud where I can access them from any device and all my pictures are stored for free as well.


Google Photos

google-photos

I do not have to upload them to my computer from the phone. If I want them there I bring them up in Google Photos and download the ones I need.

google-photos-search

They are in the cloud and searchable in many ways such as facial recognition, by date, place the picture was taken, and more. I can organize them into albums and even edit the pictures.

Did I mention that this service is free? Yes, store as many as you like at no charge. I have over 18,000 with more being added daily.

You can also add the Google Photos App to your computer and it will upload any image on your computer to your Google Cloud and any new image you download from email, Facebook, etc.


With Google Photos all your pictures are safe in the cloud, so if you lose your phone or your computer crashes you still have those important pictures.

OneDrive

onedriveYou might ask, “Why not use OneDrive?” It is free and easy to use but its free account has a cap of 4GB and that is not enough for all my pictures. Unlike Google Photos, each photo counts against the OneDrive data cap.

In summary, the primary location for my photos is Google cloud. I don’t worry about losing them and I can access them on my phone and any place with an internet connection. I would be interested in hearing about where you keep your pictures for safekeeping and access.

Dick


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About the Author

Dick Evans

Dick Evans has been in the tech industry for more than fifty years. Beginning his career in the '60s on IBM mainframes, he has been a Programmer, a Data Processing Manager (now called Information Systems Manager), a Consultant, an Assistant Professor, and a Writer. He has been published in a number of computer publications and has spoken at conferences here in the US and abroad. He is currently retired from the faculty at Rhode Island College and consulting/writing part-time, holding teaching seminars, and maintaining a number of Web sites. He maintains a blog with technical “stuff” and has a Web site at rwevans.com.

5 Comments

  1. I must be old school Dick. Still do data backups to DVD, flash drives, and external drives. Have a trust issue when it requires me to upload large amounts of data to clouds. Keep these devices in safe places for immediate access. Purchased a fire safe years ago, where one copy rests just in case of a disaster, Mindblower!

  2. My situation has evolved over time. With our older phones we simply connected to the computer via USB and copied once per month. I know, holiday photos could easily have gotten lost, long before the next scheduled copy/backup.

    Then I got a BlackBerry and discovered the Camera Roll feature which was linked to Dropbox, but of course I had to upgrade to a paid subscription to get enough space.

    Finally I moved to Android and somehow had a difficulty getting Dropbox to work, so reluctantly activated the similar feature in One Drive. Was a bit surprised at your comment about One Drive, but of course I always have Microsoft Office on any computer I use, so I automatically have 1 Tb of One Drive space.

    Eventually got Dropbox working on the Android but the upload process seems faulty and not instantaneous, so I run both programs. As I write this, my Dropbox is missing the last two days of photos, while One Drive is up to date including the photo I took a few minutes ago.

  3. I use Google Photos as a backup for photos in addition to flash drive and external drive. One thing I don’t like about Google photos is they have told me some of my pictures were too small to save. I really don’t understand this??

    • Wow!! Too small to save? I find with my new phone my photos are way larger than my older phones. Sometimes too large to email, so that’s a different problem.

      Don’t understand much, but I guess there must be a setting somewhere which I haven’t found yet.

  4. The minimum size to sync is 256×256. There are hundreds of images on your computer that are this size, icons and thumbnails. Try uploading the with manual upload from photos.google.com

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