When all I used was film I ended up with either negatives & prints or slides. I made photo print albums and put the slides on Kodak Carousels. The negatives I put in folders chronologically. I started buying digital cameras in the late 1990’s and this required a new system to back up-archive and organize. To complicate matters methods of storing keep changing frequently.
- Digital pictures can be backed up either locally on some sort of storage medium like your computer, a back up disk, or a thumb drive. Or you can put them in the cloud on line. I would suggest using both.
- If you are a casual picture taker and do not care much about keeping high quality files with lots of pixels you can use Facebook, Google+, Flickr, or any similar site. The problem is that most of these will reduce the quality of your files when you store them or download them. Plus no matter how fast your web connection is a local disk is faster.
- If you care about keeping the file quality as high as possible it is best to keep a local copy on a mass storage device like a back up drive. You can use thumb drives, but if you use large files like RAW data, disk drives are much less expensive. I would suggest strongly using some type of photo software and then sticking with it. I have used free Picasa for my work photos for years and it makes it very easy to find your pictures and if you want sync them with Google+. For my personal pictures I like a Mac computer and I have iPhoto and Aperture. I used to use Photoshop a lot and learned many of the complexities of their system. If you use Windows computers I would suggest some type of Photoshop program. There is Lightroom and Photoshop Elements.
There are all sorts of on line storage options as mentioned previously. If you want to store full size files, keep them organized, and download them full sized your options are limited. Dropbox, Onedrive, and a few others can do this, but then you end up with a large amount of storage space used on your local computer when the on line syncs with your local. Flikr allows you to upload full sized files and gives you a terra byte of storage free. They also allow you to download your files full size, but only one at a time. There is a multiple file download app for flikr that I have tried. It reduces the size of the files.
So what am I doing to archive files and organize them.
- I still have prints made and put them in photo albums. This is time consuming, but the books that result are satisfying to hold and look through. If you want to do this I strongly recommend Kolo books you can get from Amazon or local shops. The cheap Chinese ones are nowhere near as good.
- I put my pictures on back up disk drives. I have the Seagate and Western Digital ones.
- I also put many of my digital albums on line. Generally I put smaller file sizes on line for easier handling. I would not put huge RAW files in the cloud. Although my film developer sends me my high quality scans through dropbox. That system works very well.
- I organize my pictures in albums. I use both Picasa and iPhoto to do that. I have found that putting the year before the subject of the album helps you locate things later.