2022-09-05 Update – I no longer recommend Google Photos. Their service hasn’t been updated in quite some time and it has glaring technical issues. Specifically, when you want to download your photos back on to your phone or computer, it will often time out, give you an error, and not allow you to complete the download. This renders Google Photos unusable. After years of paying them $10/month, I have made the switch today to Amazon Photos. It’s a comparable service and depending on your needs, might be free or cost a fraction of what Google Photos does. I have yet to switch my wife’s or kids over to Amazon though. Baby steps.
This article has been written with Vanessa’s permission.
If you’re like me, then your photos are neatly organized and backed up. Here’s how I do it:
- Everything is organized into folders using Lightroom.
- Each photo in my Library has been carefully selected and the ones that didn’t make the cut have been deleted.
- The photos have been named using the date and time, in addition to a custom name.
- For online backup storage, I use Google Photos (I pay for 1TB of storage) and host all my photos (JPGs) and videos in full / unaltered quality.
- On site, I also keep an extra hard drive and a Time Machine backup of everything.
- I keep an additional hard drive copy in the safety deposit box at the local bank and swap it out quarterly.
All of that in and of itself is a long process that takes quite a bit of time. For years, Vanessa has wanted me to do the same with her photos on her phone. She’s also worried that if something happens to her phone, she’ll lose all of her photos like she has in the past. Here’s the problem:
- She doesn’t use a real camera, just her iPhone. So there’s never a card to take out and stick in my desktop.
- She never, ever, Ever, EVER connects her phone to a computer.
- She never deletes anything.
- She saves garbage pictures to her phone like these (hundreds or thousands of these):
- Did I mention she never deletes anything?
- She wants to be able to get to these photos anytime, anywhere, never lose them, and not take up any storage space on her phone.
- She’ll never upgrade to the latest OS on her phone for fear she’ll lose something.
- Every photo is named img_xxxx.
Get the picture?
Personally, I’m done. I’m tired of her photos mucking up my Lightroom Library, my hard drive, and being responsible for what happens to them. In order to keep peace in the marriage, I needed to find a better storage and retrieval solution.
We’ve tried Amazon’s cloud storage. With Amazon, you can back everything up to it, but not retrieve it easily. Flickr is awful even though they give you 1TB free. Personally, I’ve been using Google Photos for months and am quite pleased with it. The problem? She can’t use my account and storage without again mucking up my library. That obviously won’t work. What’s the solution?
$2 / month buys 100GB of full storage on Google Photos for her own personal account. She only has about 13GB of photos and videos so far, so this is a perfect option. Now, for $2 a month, I’m free! As of today, I am deleting her photos from my Lightroom Catalog and will no longer provide photo tech support!
The great thing about Google photos is that you can search for anything, and with Google’s intelligent algorithms, its ability to find photos without keywords or proper titles is unlike anything else! Also, if she ever gets around to deleting photos, they’re all stored in one easy to use place. Best of all, it’s easy and fun to use.