The Ultimate Guide: How to Backup and Store Your Family Photos


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As a family photographer, I know how much your family photos mean to you. They capture cherished moments that you can’t get back. It would be heart-wrenching to lose them due to a technical glitch or device failure. That’s why it’s essential to back up your family photos to ensure that they remain safe and sound.

In this post, I’ll provide you with a simple, step-by-step guide on how to back up your digital photos – both the ones taken on your cell phone and the ones you have taken during our professional family sessions together!

I understand that your time is precious, so I’ve streamlined the process to make it quick and easy. By the end of this post, you’ll have the confidence that your family photos are secure.

Step 1: Decide on a Backup Plan

Before you start backing up your photos, you need to decide on a backup plan. There are many different options available, such as cloud storage, external hard drives, and flash drives. Each option has its pros and cons.

  • Cloud storage is convenient and easily accessible from any device, but it may be costly in the long run.
  • External hard drives are a cost-effective option, but they can fail over time.
  • Flash drives are smaller and convenient, but they’re not ideal for backing up large amounts of data. I recommend going with cloud storage or a hard drive.
  • QUICK TIP: I know it may seem excessive, but, if possible, have two backups – one on a hard drive and another in the cloud for extra security.

Choose an option that works best for you and allows you to back up your photos with ease. Just below, I’ve listed some great cloud options and some great hard drive backup options.

Best Cloud Backup Options for Home Photos

Let’s dive into some top-notch cloud backup options that’ll ensure your photos are secure and easily accessible whenever you need them.

1. Google Photos

  • Why It Rocks: Super user-friendly and integrates seamlessly with your Google account.
  • Cool Features: Unlimited storage for high-quality photos, smart organization, and sharing capabilities.
  • Bonus Tip: Perfect for quickly accessing photos across devices, especially handy for sharing with clients or family.

2. Amazon Photos

  • The Deal: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you’re in luck! Unlimited full-resolution photo storage.
  • Neat Stuff: Facial recognition and easy-to-navigate albums.
  • Pro Tip: Great for those who already are in the Amazon ecosystem with Echo Show or Fire TV.

3. iCloud

  • Best For: Apple enthusiasts. Seamless integration with iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
  • Highlights: Reliable and secure, with easy syncing across all Apple devices.
  • Remember: If you’re all-in with Apple products, this is a no-brainer.

4. Dropbox

  • Advantages: Super versatile, not just for photos. Great for all types of files.
  • Key Features: Excellent file organization and sharing options.
  • Consider This: A solid choice if you’re looking for a more all-around file storage solution.

5. Microsoft OneDrive

  • Why Consider: If you’re a Windows user, this integrates smoothly with your PC and Office 365.
  • Perks: Handy features like personal vault for extra security.
  • Good to Know: Offers a nice balance between photo storage and document management.

Additional Tips:

  • Free vs. Paid: Most services offer free tiers, but for more storage, ALWAYS consider their paid plans.
  • Check the Extras: Some services offer neat extras like photo printing or editing tools.

Remember, the best choice depends on your specific needs, like how much storage you need, what devices you use, and any additional features that can make your life easier.

woman backing up files with lacie hard drive

Best Hard Drives for Backing Up Personal Family Photos

When it comes to hard drives for non-professional use, like for moms who want to back up family photos, the key is to find something that’s user-friendly, reliable, and offers good value. Here are three great options that hit all those notes:

1. Western Digital My Passport 1 TB | or the 5TB

  • Why It’s Ideal: It’s incredibly user-friendly and doesn’t require technical know-how.
  • Highlights:
    • Available in various storage sizes (1TB to 5TB), perfect for different needs.
    • Compact and stylish, easy to carry around or keep safe at home.
  • Bonus: Comes with WD Backup software, which makes setting up regular backups a breeze.

2. Seagate Backup Plus Slim

  • Standout Features:
    • Slim, sleek design that’s very portable – great for moms on the go.
    • Offers up to 4TB of storage, plenty for thousands of family photos.
  • User-Friendly: Super simple to use with drag-and-drop file saving, right out of the box.

3. LaCie Rugged Mini

  • Why It’s a Top Choice:
    • Super durable design, shock-resistant, drop-resistant, and even rain-resistant.
    • Offers up to 5TB of storage and is known for its rugged reliability.
  • Ease of Use: Plug-and-play operation with no software installation required – as easy as it gets!

Quick Tips for Moms:

  • Backup Regularly: Set a schedule to back up photos regularly, so no memories are lost.
  • Keep It Safe: Store the hard drive in a safe place to protect it from physical damage.
  • Double Backup: If possible, have two backups – one on a hard drive and another in the cloud for extra security.

These hard drives are fantastic for keeping those family moments safe and sound. They’re easy to use, so even those who aren’t tech-savvy can keep their photos secure without any hassle.

Step 2: Organize Your Photos

Before you start backing up your photos, take the time to organize them. This step will save you time and make your backup process smoother. Delete any duplicates or blurry photos, and start to group your photos by year, event, or person.

This process will aid you in quickly locating a specific photo later on. It’s a good practice to regularly organize your photos since it makes it easier to manage your collection.

Step 3: Back Up Your Photos

Now it’s time to back up your photos. If you’re using an external hard drive or flash drive, plug it in and copy your photos from your computer to the drive.

If you’re using cloud storage, upload your photos to the online service you’ve chosen.

Most cloud storage services will have an app available for download on your device, making it easier to backup your photos quickly. Ensure that you’re regularly backing up your photos to avoid the risk of losing them.

Step 4: Automate the Process

Manually backing up your photos can be time-consuming and easily forgotten. That’s why it’s essential to automate the backup process. Most cloud storage services have automatic backup features that will continually backup your photos as you add them to your device.

You can also set your computer to back up your photos to an external hard drive automatically. By automating the process, you can be assured that your photos are continually backed up, even when life gets busy.

iphone sitting next to a harddrive

Step 5: Check the backup process periodically

It’s always good to check that your backup process is working correctly. Periodically check that your photos have been successfully backed up, and check your storage device’s health.

Prevention is always better than cure, and checking that your backup process is working correctly can save you from losing your precious memories.


Backing up your family photos is a simple yet essential step that you can’t afford to overlook. By following these easy steps, you can rest assured that your family memories are safe and secure.

Remember to choose a reliable backup option, organize your photos, back them up regularly, automate the process, and check periodically. You’ll sleep easy knowing that your precious family photos are safe and sound.

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