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Super Contributor
Posts: 175
Registered: ‎01-31-2017

Where do you store your photos?

For some time, I have been concerned about proper long-term storage of my photos -- the ones that mean something to me. If you beleve like me, that photos capture a time and place in our lives and that you'd like future generations of your family to have access to them, then you begin thinking in terms of storage options.

 

I myself don't have any faith that any of these companies will be around 40 or 50 years from now, or that today's hardware solutions will be viable. CDs and such? They are on their way out already. Flickr (or any other Yahoo offshoot)? Don't make me laugh. Dropbox? Let's talk about it 25 years from now. SmugMug? Get real. Google Drive? Please. 

 

All of them are fine, for now. I stash mine on Google Photos, also a temporary solution at best. But my photos that really mean something to me, I print.

 

Thus, I am using the only tried and true storage and retrtieval "device" that has stood the test of time. That is the photo album. Don't laugh. I have family photo albums chock full of black-and-whites from the early 1930s onward. And I am **bleep** glad I have them. There is no hardware to fail. No company to pull the plug. No technology that will fall by the wayside. For many, photo albums may be a thing of the past. For me, they contain generations of my family.

 

What about for you? Where do you store the photos that mean the most to you?

Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,051
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Where do you store your photos?

I am no fan of social media, and "free" web storage.  So, I've created my own personal cloud solution.

 

I use a Western Digital MyCloud device to share photos.  It is a personal cloud device with 4TB of storage.  I also have a couple of Raid 1 Servers running Windows Server 2008 R2.  One for backing up laptops and tablet devices, one for storing files that have been imported into Lightroom.

Each of my sons have MyCloud devices.  And, we share space, so that all of your digital images are not stored at one location.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Super Contributor
Posts: 175
Registered: ‎01-31-2017

Re: Where do you store your photos?


Waddizzle wrote:

I am no fan of social media, and "free" web storage.  So, I've created my own personal cloud solution.

 

I use a Western Digital MyCloud device to share photos.  It is a personal cloud device with 4TB of storage.  I also have a couple of Raid 1 Servers running Windows Server 2008 R2.  One for backing up laptops and tablet devices, one for storing files that have been imported into Lightroom.

Each of my sons have MyCloud devices.  And, we share space, so that all of your digital images are not stored at one location.


An interesting solution and one that I'm sure will work well for some time. Whether any of these gadget- or hardware-based solutions will still be viable in 50 years -- a short period of time, photographically -- is questionable. However, we are limited in what we can do today.

 

In thinking back over the matter of long-term storage, I am reminded of my dear departed old grandmother, who stored her most precious photos -- hundreds of them -- in an old suitcase. They are still in excellent conditon and were handed down to various family members, includig me. 

 

There are photos there of my grandfather as a young man posing with his WW1 mustard-gas unit, photos of my grandmother as a little girl with a basket of chocolates she sold to passersby, Later on, photos of Depression-era neighbors gathering in the kitchen to share a large pot of stew and homemade bread, photos of "modern" times, such as me and some other kids wearing clamdiggers and playing wiffle ball, all of us looking like we dipped our heads into a barrel of Wildroot. My uncle playing pinball in a local tavern, my grandfather working hard making bathtub gin, so as to support his wife and 5 children. Photos that can't be duplicated and too valuable to be entrusted to lesser forms of technology. Speaking of those old black-and-whites, remember those ripple-cut edges? Man! You don't get that on a monitor. YMMV.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,152
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Where do you store your photos?

On lots of hard drives. Way back around 2000 I had already started worrying about this & to date there is no real answer when it comes to LONG term storage. Mediums change & the devices to read them vanish as new tech comes along. VCR's & floppy drives etc are long gone & CD's DVD's etc will be too along with the players that used them. Even file systems used change so every so often it's necessary to back up a full older drive to a newer drive using the latest file system. As for prints we don't know their lifespan either. They aren't real photos like I made in the darkroom. They are dye or ink sprayed onto a special paper but it's also not the photo paper our ancestors bought. It was the negatives that really stood the test of time if looked after properly & digital files simply may not make it long term. 

 

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,051
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Where do you store your photos?

[ Edited ]

John_SD wrote:

Waddizzle wrote:

I am no fan of social media, and "free" web storage.  So, I've created my own personal cloud solution.

 

I use a Western Digital MyCloud device to share photos.  It is a personal cloud device with 4TB of storage.  I also have a couple of Raid 1 Servers running Windows Server 2008 R2.  One for backing up laptops and tablet devices, one for storing files that have been imported into Lightroom.

Each of my sons have MyCloud devices.  And, we share space, so that all of your digital images are not stored at one location.


An interesting solution and one that I'm sure will work well for some time. Whether any of these gadget- or hardware-based solutions will still be viable in 50 years -- a short period of time, photographically -- is questionable. However, we are limited in what we can do today.

 

In thinking back over the matter of long-term storage, I am reminded of my dear departed old grandmother, who stored her most precious photos -- hundreds of them -- in an old suitcase. They are still in excellent conditon and were handed down to various family members, includig me. 

 

There are photos there of my grandfather as a young man posing with his WW1 mustard-gas unit, photos of my grandmother as a little girl with a basket of chocolates she sold to passersby, Later on, photos of Depression-era neighbors gathering in the kitchen to share a large pot of stew and homemade bread, photos of "modern" times, such as me and some other kids wearing clamdiggers and playing wiffle ball, all of us looking like we dipped our heads into a barrel of Wildroot. My uncle playing pinball in a local tavern, my grandfather working hard making bathtub gin, so as to support his wife and 5 children. Photos that can't be duplicated and too valuable to be entrusted to lesser forms of technology. Speaking of those old black-and-whites, remember those ripple-cut edges? Man! You don't get that on a monitor. YMMV.


I assembled this storage system for CAD files, not photographs.

Hard copy prints just might be one of the better long term storage media.  The quality of photo paper has improved significantly in recent years, going from a few decades to a few centuries.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,928
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Where do you store your photos?

"... when it comes to LONG term storage."

 

There is only one answer available to us at the present time.  And, you are on the right path with a paper print.  However even with archival paper and ink this too has problems.  I currently have 5 two TB hard drives that hold my photos.  There is some 500 thousand (500,000 in case you missed that) pics on them now.  This makes a paper print unfeasible and not economical in any real sense of the thought.  To top that off, I am retired and don't shoot anywhere near what I used to.

 

I am almost to the the point of saying, "Pull the plug on them."  Who will ever want them anyway or could go through all of them?  But I will probably leave it up to the kids to decide!  Smiley Very Happy

A lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Super Contributor
Posts: 175
Registered: ‎01-31-2017

Re: Where do you store your photos?


ebiggs1 wrote:

 

I currently have 5 two TB hard drives that hold my photos.  There is some 500 thousand (500,000 in case you missed that) pics on them now.  This makes a paper print unfeasible and not economical in any real sense of the thought.  


Print out your best few thousand of the photos, the ones that would mean the most to family members in the future. It's quite feasible. Don't entrust your valuable work to hardware devices that are prone to failure and won't even be able to be read 50 years from now. And forget backing up one hardware device to another. All will fail for one reason or another. PRINT.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,928
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Where do you store your photos?

" Don't entrust your valuable work to hardware devices that are prone to failure and won't even be able to be read 50 years from now"

 

I her ya man. Believe me.  Anything made by the hand of man will eventually fail.

 

"...forget backing up one hardware device to another."

 

Stopped doing that about 15 years ago.  I am retired now an no longer guarantee work to be kept for a period of time.

 

"...the ones that would mean the most to family members in the future."

 

And here-in lies the problem!  My 'extended' family includes several thousand kids.  I am to the point where you can't even go through the photos to tell which is a real keeper.  I already do a critical delete after import into LR.  When I retired I had no idea this would escalate into the problem it has.  I thought I was done.

 

You are spot on about using archival paper and ink.  The only real answer.

A lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,515
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: Where do you store your photos?


John_SD wrote:

ebiggs1 wrote:

 

I currently have 5 two TB hard drives that hold my photos.  There is some 500 thousand (500,000 in case you missed that) pics on them now.  This makes a paper print unfeasible and not economical in any real sense of the thought.  


Print out your best few thousand of the photos, the ones that would mean the most to family members in the future. It's quite feasible. Don't entrust your valuable work to hardware devices that are prone to failure and won't even be able to be read 50 years from now. And forget backing up one hardware device to another. All will fail for one reason or another. PRINT.


The flaw in that logic is that while any hardware device will eventually fail, files don't have to remain on the same device indefinitely. If your backups are properly managed, your files will always exist on two or more devices that are geographically separated and are nearer the beginning than the end of their life expectancy.

Bob
Boston, Massachusetts USA
Super Contributor
Posts: 175
Registered: ‎01-31-2017

Re: Where do you store your photos?


RobertTheFat wrote:
 

The flaw in that logic is that while any hardware device will eventually fail, files don't have to remain on the same device indefinitely. If your backups are properly managed, your files will always exist on two or more devices that are geographically separated and are nearer the beginning than the end of their life expectancy.


While our current technology may well see all of us through for the forseeable future, if not the remainder of our lives, my concern is more long term, as I intend to pass photos on to family members. 

 

Bob, I believe that regardless of the number of hardware backups we have or their geographical location, they will eventually fail or "age out" and become unsupportable and unusable. In time the technology will fade away and render the photos irretrievable to future generations. True, one could hope that those who take over the devices after we're gone, if they are so inclined, would have the interest, technical know-how and foresight to move the photos off of them onto more modern hardware. But I wouldn't want to count on that.

 

Therefore I do print the photos that mean the most to me and hope that future generations of the family find them as interesting as I found my grandmother's old photos she had stored in a suitcase. That being said, when it comes to photo management, I am definitely one who is a "serial deleter," and so a lot of stuff I shoot I don't keep. At the other extreme are the guys who keep every junk shot they take as though it were a priceless artifact.

 

Don't get me wrong, I realize that it is not practical to attempt to print out hundreds of thousands or milions of photos. And there may not be any one-size-fits-all solution. So what works for me may not work for others. Still, I will see your various hard drives and backups and raise you a dozen photo albums and a suitcase. Smiley Happy Let's plan to meet back here in about 75 years and check the contents of our chosen "storage devices." Smiley Happy

 

 

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