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Ask HN: How do you store photos and videos?
90 points by kareemm on Dec 27, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 101 comments
I'm curious how others store their photos. Right now I use Arq to back up to an AWS Glacier instance. I also back up to Shutterfly. And I use Time Machine to an external HD.


0. I'm using a ton of local HD space to store them. I want to free up a bunch of space.

1. But if I delete photos from my computer, Arq will eventually delete the backups that contained them. Could be months or years but if they're not local, they'll be gone when the cost to store them exceeds the monthly budget I've set with Arq.

2. Additionally, Shutterfly apparently will let you upload videos up to 2GB. But I've randomly found a couple of videos well under that size that just don't get backed up.

I think this is what a good storage situation looks like:

1. Photos and videos are automatically backed up to the cloud from my devices (nice to have)

2. Photos are retained forever in the cloud even if they're deleted from my devices. I have to go to cloud storage to delete something.

3. Very nice to have: photos are encrypted locally before getting sent to the cloud like with Arq.

4. Bonus points: the UI for browsing cloud photos is nice (Shutterfly bought the company I was using, which had the best UI I'd found).

What do you use? Have you solved any of the problems I've laid out with my approach?

edit: thanks for all the great replies. I'm in the middle of a lengthy process of moving off of Google services, so Google Photos sounds great but isn't something I'm into. Will look at iCloud and other solutions mentioned below.

Google Photos has been my goto for a while now. The search feature is great and I use it frequently. For example, I was recently looking for a blue screen error code I'd taken a picture of months ago, and was able to find it within seconds by searching "monitor". It's really incredibly good, I'd say whatever model is on the backend is probably close to state-of-the-art. I recently hit the free limit, but for ~$3 a month I now have 100gb which I don't expect to reach for years to come.

I don't typically take photos of really private things, so the convenience of quick automatic backups from my phone and the availability of the search feature outweigh any privacy concerns I might otherwise have. I do also take local backups occasionally to my external hard drives in case Google somehow suffers major data loss.

> outweigh any privacy concerns I might otherwise have.

What about concerns of other people or do you mostly do inanimate objects or selfies?

I suspect there are many people like me who feel coerced into allowing our private life being stored in public clouds by other people without ever being explicitly asked for our consent. Worst, I feel in many situations it isn't easy to modify behavior of others because of the fear of appearing "needlessly fussy" and and because we value relationships with other people more than the abstract, intangible and hard to quantify concept of loss of privacy.

This! I’ve tried every option under the sun at least twice and google photos wins. My current system has been this for the past 2 years or so:

1. Create a family gmail account (ex. house-yourlastname@gmail.com)

2. Install Google Photos on the both you and your spouse’s phone and set the automatic photo upload to upload to the house-yourlastname@gmail.com account.

3. Create a new account on your local home server (ex. house-yourlastname)

4. Install and login to the google drive client for the house@yourlastname.com account. DON’T do any of their photo upload nonsense. Just use the app to sync your google drive contents.

5. Go to https://photos.google.com and set the "Sync photos & videos from Google Drive” to “true”.

6. Go to https://drive.google.com and set the "Automatically put your Google Photos into a folder in My Drive” to true.

7. Install hazel on your home server and have it monitor the automatically created “Google Photos” folder that shows up in your Google drive (this folder shows up as a result of step 5). This folder is where all auto-uploaded photos from your phone(s) end up by default.

8. Have hazel move all auto-uploaded photos out of the “Google Photos” folder in Google Drive and into a folder structure of your choosing in Google Drive (Ex. “Google Drive/Photos/2018/11/2018-11-25-1234.jpg”). Because of step 4 the photos we move into our own folder structure will show up in https://photos.google.com.

9. Copy fancy camera photos into the same folder you are monitoring with hazel. The same hazel rules will rename and place photos into the same Google Drive directory structure.

10. Done - you have a pretty good shared family library. All family members can view all photos using the google photos app OR by visiting https://photos.google.com. And, any management (deletes, etc) are propagated to Google Drive. For example, I’ll triage on https://photos.google.com and all deleted photos end up n the trash can of my iMac by the time I happen to check.

Some general reasons why I landed on this:

1. I have a family and whatever I chose had to work for the whole family without jumping through manual copying at home. This basically nixes Apple photos, as they haven’t yet figured out we have families.

2. The only graceful way I’ve found to have a family library is to have spouses share an account. You could do that with an iCloud account, but there are lots of downsides to that. Google apps support multiple account gracefully, which allows you to be logged into a different account for Google Photos vs. Gmail (or whatever).

3. Most photo management solutions require you go sit down on the “shared family computer” to manage them. Google Photos bootstrapped off of using Google Drive lets you manage photos from anywhere (your phone, your spouse’s phone, the website, etc). The changes are synced back to Google Drive and back to your “source of truth” on your home server, Synology, etc.

4. The above solution only relies on the home server for sake of moving photos around to the folder structure of your liking. Even if your machine is turned off for a week, all your photos end up in the family library pretty quickly. Whenever you happen to start the server again, all the photos sitting in the “Google Photos” folder will then get organized into your preferred folder structure. This is appealing, as I didn’t like any solution I tried that relied on a server being up 24/7 to have all photos show up in the family library.

I second the Google photo option as well. Before this, I tried storing and taking backups in external disk, This resulted in multiple copies.

Switched to using google photos as primary backup mechanism. Working great so far. I also like their search feature, auto-create and reminder of previous year photos.

Also, while talking up google photos, I must note the home hub is worth the price of admission even if all you use it for is as a photo frame for google photos. I’m mostly an all apple house (HomeKit, etc). But, google photos plus the home hub has been a huge hit with the family.

Any limited to amount of photos/videos you can put into the account with this method?

I have 2 TB+ mainly of kids/family photo/videos for ~15 years.

Right now, it is on a 4TB HDD with backup. Looks for good sharing solutions.

Google Drive is unlimited on GSuite. I pay about £6 a month, well worth it.

Thanks, I may follow this to a 't'. One question: you mention 'your local home server' but it sounds like any Mac will do as long as the account is always logged in, no?

If you want them, let me know and I can drop my hazel rules somewhere. They aren’t wildly complex, but it can be slightly confusing if you’ve never used hazel before. Once you see the rules it‘s super obvious what’s going on.

yes please! maybe a gist?

Here is a quick repo that has all the directions and hazel rules. I only spent all of 5 minutes pulling it together, so feel free to open an issue if you run into any problems.


Yeah..totally. I only meant “server” in so far as some machine where you want the “source of truth” to be. I personally want my source of truth to be my home iMac since it has a big drive that gets real-time backed up to backblaze. So, for me, I view that iMac as my “server”. In truth it can be any machine you are willing to leave an account logged into.

I use iCloud Photo Library which solves most of your problems except client side encryption - which I agree is a big negative in its corner.

It works very well if you're all in in the Apple ecosystem.


Ditto here. I know it’s not even close to technically the best or safest or most independent etc.

But it really does Just Work. I’ve got basically every photo I’ve taken since ~2002 in a single archive, easily scrollable by date on any of my devices, searchable (on a map!). It works perfectly for me.

While I voted for google photos in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18770681, I will say that apple photos is nice if you have zero need to share a library with family members. For better or worse, apple Unlike third-party uploaders, Apple photos can “cheat” and upload no matter what. That by itself makes it the most reliable for Apple ecosystem folks. That said, I’ve not had any issues in recent history with the google photos uploader.

When you share more than 2-3 photos at once with others who have iPhones, they get an icloud link where they can not only view the photos, but one-click add them to their own photo library. Have had zero problems keeping my library consistent with my partner's, or sharing lots of family photos at once with other close family who have iPhones.

Manually sharing works ok for super casual use, but it is way too much work when you take pictures daily. Plus, you would need to share photos both directions. And, even if you do all that, which photo library is the “source of truth”? Also, it is my understanding that photos shared through apple’s photo sharing system are not original photos or videos (they are shared at a lower resolution).

I just tried out the shared album thing. I shared a photo whose original size is 3.4MB. The photo you get when you download it from the shared album on iCloud is 925KB. And, I'm pretty sure there is no checkbox you can check to prevent that ‍️. I love lots about the apple ecosystem, but their photo management/sharing system is not one of them. It boggles my mind, as lots of Apple engineers have families. But, despite that, they don't have any system for seamlessly sharing photos (or entire libraries) with family members.

I agree it's not perfect, but for myself and my family (we all have iPhones, and if you don't have an iPhone in our family, I will happily provide a refurbished one to you) it is superior to all other photo management options out there (Google might shut down Photos one day, Facebook needs no explanation, Smugmug/Flickr UX is woefully inadequate for family photo library management).

One day I hope Apple improves delta/library reconciliation, but for now, it's the best I've been able to find. It Just Works (for the most part).

Totally to each their own...there is no perfect solution for this. I do understand the the apprehension with google shutting down services, though google photos is so wildly popular it would almost be analogous to them shutting down gmail at this point. Also, one nicety with google photos is the photos are just photos in a folder structure of your choosing. If/when the service goes away you can literally just import the folder structure to the next thing.

To more specifically answer OP's questions.. I'm a fellow Arq user. On your mobile devices / laptop(s) you would configure iCloud Photo Library to optimize automatically so that it frees up all the disk space. On a stationary Mac of any flavor, configure it to store the entire repository locally and then run Arq on that computer to back up the entire archive to N providers or your own off-site storage. This does have the slight drawback of requiring a macOS device in order to have the full photo library and run Arq, but paired with the usability of accessing any of your photos on any device securely, you basically get everything you will ever need. This can be something "cheaper" like a used stationary laptop with external SSD attached if necessary, or you can just park a Mac Mini somewhere if you can afford it. Once it's set up, you'll never need to touch a thing and everything will be encrypted before being backed up. (Important distinction: iCloud Photo Library is not backup and explicitly says so.. it is merely the front-end UI for quickly accessing any photo on any device.)

I don't trust any service with plaintext of my photos so I self host everything. I also have a relatively huge amount of data so most cloud storage is out even if I wanted it.

My setup is a Linux-based NAS with LUKS on everything and each HDD in ZFS with RAIDZ2. I store my photos in their own ZFS filesystem on the zpool and use a tool that automatically creates snapshots and keeps varying resolutions for various timeframes (e.g. 24 hours of hourly snapshots, a week of daily snapshots, a month of weekly snapshots and I think 6 months of monthly snapshots).

As far as organizing them goes, I put my photos in date-based folders (e.g. 2018-12-09) and for larger ones go through and give them more useful names like "2018-12-09 - Brother's birthday".

I tend to edit them with Darktable the most these days, which also stores XMP sidecars alongside the photos.

I haven't yet set up a backup, which I know is horrible. When I do I'll likely go with either Wasabi or a NUC or something in a nearby datacenter.

For remote access I have Owncloud, though I _really_ want something nicer. Unfortunately there isn't much that works well with RAW files.

How did you set up the snapshotting?

I'm using this, but packaged for Arch Linux: https://github.com/zfsonlinux/zfs-auto-snapshot

Syncthing has been good for me

I use iCloud to store, backup, and sync my phone photos. I use a couple of 2/4TB drives to back up my photos taken on my DSLR/Film cameras. I manually copy over directories to redundant drives. I keep one 4TB drive that's the final backup, and it's unplugged and kept in a safe in my house. Every couple months, I pull it out, backup the newest photos to it and return it to it's safe. I know it's a little extreme, but I have tons of photos and want to keep multiple backups.

Google photos is the best I've found. Your privacy feature seems to be a "nice to have", so I would use that. The UX and cross-device syncing is far better than anything else I've used.

To your bonus points: Google photos web UI is truly impressive even ignoring the awesome search capabilities. They wrote an article[0] on how they built it and since then I've been keeping an eye out to use similar techniques in different applications.

[0]: https://medium.com/google-design/google-photos-45b714dfbed1

I really like how Album sharing works. We've got one that has photos of my kid, with much of the family set up with read/write permissions. At family gatherings they can just add pics they take on their own. Low-hassle and they're happy enough with it to stop bugging me to get back on Facebook.

I have my photos and videos on a ZFS personal NAS at home, backed up independently to two external hard drives(secondary backup). The plan was to use recline to backup the ZFS NAS to Backblaze B2, but that bit is not setup yet.

I have also been eyeing a project called photoprism to serve as a front end for my media, and perhaps Filebrowser as well as a secondary interface to view them as "files".



Another project in the same "Google photos alternative" space that I have bookmarked is Ownphotos.


Some day, I will find time to set it all up ;-)

As a more fancy WebUI consider also GNU MediaGoblin :-)

Is there any way to point MediaGoblin at a folder on local disk and expose it as albums? I don't believe I've found one so far, it wants me to upload everything through it, which isn't going to happen.

Hem no, it's about sharing multimedia contents... But since the OP cite many cloud services... That's at least decentralized and essentially FOSS.

I have the primary store on a RAID-Z2 zfs volume on a FreeNAS server in the basement. That backs up all photos to Amazon Photos ("free" with Amazon Prime, which I have anyway) and important things (family photos, family videos, and legal docs) to S3 with lifecycle policies defined.

Family photos are additionally rsynced nightly [one-way] to a Synology server (just because I had it before I built the FreeNAS storage and it has a reasonable picture browser app while on the home network).

zfs gives me copy-on-write (protection against crypto-locker, though I'd lose effective backup while crypto-locked) and availability even in the face of loss of 2 drives (RAID-Z2 ~= RAID-6).

I'm posting not because my solution is perfect, but because I'd like a better answer to client-side encryption for backup of legal docs, a better solution for video backup, and a better solution for browsing/tagging/auto-albuming accessible from mobile devices. I don't object to the current costs, though probably wished I'd skipped the Synology and went straight to FreeNAS.

You might want to look into duplicity [1] for client-side encryption and as a general incremental backup solution. I've been using it for a while, and had to restore a couple times, and it's both pretty intuitive and works as expected. It's essentially just a wrapper on GnuPG and rsync/tar with a bunch of storage backends.

[1] http://duplicity.nongnu.org/

If you like duplicity you might prefer duplicacy [1]. I've found it's incremental backup solution to be far superior. The only negative might be the licensing, but with the free version you have access to all the code for non-commercial use and that suits my personal needs just fine.

[1] https://github.com/gilbertchen/duplicacy

And if you do stick to duplicity but are sick of the interface, consider duply - a wrapper around duplicity.


I use a Synology NAS.

They've got that decent photo library app called Moments, which is available on mobile devices to upload your pictures from your phone directly. They also have another app called Drive, on mobile and desktop to upload photos and files. It's basically a closed source Google drive.

The NAS itself can very easily be plugged to Amazon S3 for encrypted incremental backup (I do a weekly backups).

I use a Synology NAS too. It's already 5 year old but working fine, still getting updates regularly.

The Hyper Backup is a wonderful tool (comes with Synology) that you can use to create multiple backup strategy, to another portable hdd, various cloud providers, any host with rsync etc, with or without backup version and rotation. The user experience is pretty neat.

A while back, I've tried building a solution that does encrypted storage with locally managed keys, with a cloud backup.

Unfortunately, it did not go to production: the majority of people are ok with sharing their digital artifacts with google, dropbox, advertising and insurance companies, and any other entities who manage to have an agreement with of hack into the cloud provider. (See, for example, how many people talk about google photos in this thread). The market for a truly secure digital archive is, in my opinion, too small.

A prototype can be still seen at [0].

0: https://goryachev.com/products/secure-archive/index.html

Random iPhone snapshots stay in iCloud and end up on Google (when I remember to open the app). I don’t really care about them after sharing on social media.

I own a small photography business. Anything I really care about—almost everything captured on my DSLR or drone—starts life in Lightroom. After images are edited, and uploaded to appropriate online sites (e.g. Flickr), they are moved to an external 2TB drive.

The external drive is cloned to a separate drive to ensure I have a physical backup. My laptop and the primary external drive are backed up to CrashPlan.

It cost me $2700 to learn that one physical backup is not enough. When I bought my two drives a few years ago, they cost $99 each. That’s nothing relative to the value of my time/work.

In theory, iCloud is a really good solution. It is glitchy and sometimes slow to sync and the Photos app is very poorly integrated for use with other apps on the Mac (works much better in iOS). I have my entire 35,000+ library in iCloud with the original full-sized files uploaded and with optimized -for-size complete libraries on my Mac and iPhone. The 150GB library and my extensive hierarchical folder and album structure take up only 7GB on my phone. It's a neat system and will be great if/when they work out the many little annoyances and errors.

Unfortunately, Google Photos. It's very convenient, but there's this background fear that if my account gets unexpectedly closed, as it happens with Google, there would be no way to recover my photos.

I try to download the Photos data regularly via their takeout tool, but the process is cumbersome. I wish there was an automated way of doing that. I'd even pay for that.

I moved from Gmail to Fastmail, but I still haven't found a good replacement for Google Photos.

I get around that by enabling the "Show photos in Google Drive" switch and syncing them to my Synology NAS with a Drive client.

I use googlephotos, but I never delete the original file. Every few months I usually transfer all those files to my computer and sort by year-month/event. It's not automated but it works and clears my phone cache

I just started using Lightroom CC with 1TB. It is a bit expensive when compared with 2TB of storage with Google and Apple.

But I like that it works across multiple ecosystems, Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android (with bugs). And I wanted to use Adobe Portfolio for sharing some photos.

It meets your requirements for 1, 2, and 4.

Personally, I keep full resolution photos on external drive, and rsync those photos to NAS. Just in case there is bug in Lightroom and it deletes wrong photos or videos.

What long term editable “master” format do you use for videos? Most of mine have become unviewable over the years as video formats changed and support faded away, except some that were edited and the edits exported into crappy mpegs. I can export now into the hopefully longer-lived h.264 but is that reasonable for source files?

This is both a container and codec problem which just makes life even more complicated.

Good advice from a smart friend that's been doing this for +30 years: he uses an open source format that has wide adoption. He's continually betting that in the future there will be enough conversion tools for a widely used open source format + is planning on needing to convert every ~10 years.

Google photos, I like the "X years ago" feature. Always bring warm memory back to me. Can't love more.

My data flow for phone photos is as follows:

1. capture photo with iPhone

2a. iPhone syncs with iCloud

2b. Now and then, open Dropbox App to upload newest photos to Dropbox

3. Synology NAS pulls photos from Dropbox

4. Synology backups photos to several backup locations using Hyper Backup.

For DSLR photos, I just upload the RAW files to the NAS and it also backups automatically.

Many people forget that their Amazon prime subscription includes unlimited* free photo storage (terms of use apply) I love it and it keeps getting better with each new app release. Worth checking out as an option.

I'm surprised this isn't higher. Unlimited pictures are included with Prime; I pay a little more for 1TB of video storage. It's the cheapest way to store our 15 years of stuff.

The app reliably uploads all my wife's photos via WiFi, and the website interface is good.

This is my current setup as well. No real complaints so far.

Looking through other user's replies, all the above for me. Everywhere I can back up photos I do.

iCloud primarily but all the old family photos I have scanned, retouched also are uploaded to Ancestry.com, Facebook....

These are, as I say, family photos (a couple photos are scans from tintypes — so some quite old). There are no privacy issue for me (quite the opposite, I want these shared with far flung relatives). So I try to copy them as many places as I can think to. Hoping of course that future generations of the family will still be able to find them somewhere.

Interesting "seeding" strategy, I like it!

I store my photos in 4 places.

1. Laptop: Full quality. Storing and viewing purposes.

2. External HDD: Full quality. Storing and viewing purposes.

3. Amazon Glacier: Full quality. Storing purposes.

4. Google Photos: Reduced quality. Viewing and sharing purposes.

I name my photos as per the instructions in https://blog.budhajeewa.com/how-to-freely-and-properly-store... 's "1. Organize photos in your PC by albums" section.

I'm in a similar situation re: moving off Google services.

I use Mylio (https://mylio.com/), I think it hits most of your points.

Works great for managing my ~200k images. Syncs between my laptop/desktop/phones and also to Google/Amazon drive with optional encryption.

You can define which size of photos are synced to various devices, so my phones have thumbnails, my laptop has preview size photos, and my server/workstations have full copies.

Thirteen years ago, I ripped all my CDs to mp3 onto a new HD. Allowing me to eliminate a cubic yard of jewel-boxes. The HD was later copied to another, then stowed in a carboard box (kept indoors).

Twelve years later, I put the drive into a USB enclosure and copied the contents. The startup and copy went without a hitch, and so far no (audible) decay.

That might work for a large pictures collection. Certainly more trustworthy than existing physical media. (Although CDs I cut in that era are -mostly- still readable.

I use sftp+lftp [1] (faster and more secure than rsync) to transfer them to one of my backup servers. That server uses rsnapshot to keep diffs and also backs up to multiple external USB drives. The same method of sftp+lftp can be used to back files up off-site.

Sftp can't touch the snapshots which protects against malicious access (cryptolockers and such)

[1] - https://tinyvpn.org/sftp/#lftp

Hem could you elaborate on "faster and more secure than rsync" rsync can use various kind of transport mechanism, you also may use other not directly supported by rsync in the middle simply piping though them. mbuffer, cryptcat, ncat, there are MANY options.

Also in term of "safety" (or encryption) many kind of performance depend on how you encrypt your data, and how you compress your transfer because they are pretty CPU-intesinve things...

Certainly. The lftp mirror subsystem allows you to break up batches of files, or even a single file using p-get into multiple streams. Rsync can't do that. Rsync also doesn't work within a chroot environment, whereas lftp does. The exception is if you use native rsync, which means you are not encrypting the stream. You then get chroot, but not privacy.

CPU overhead isn't really a limiting factor these days, assuming your computer is less than a decade old.

With sftp chroot, I can let people upload files without executing files, while preventing eavesdropping. rsync does not support TLS without complex stunnel wrappers on each side.


> The lftp mirror subsystem allows you to break up batches of files, or even a single file using p-get into multiple streams.

I do not see any particular benefit from that... Network reliability is still a bit needed or you still have to restart...

On restricting rsync on the other end there are many guide so again I do not see much benefit and that's not true that you can't encrypt the transfer otherwise with classic ssh transport this is an example


but you can do many more things, for instance with cryptcat or ncat in the middle to transport... And they normally run faster than ssh tunnels...

Try lftp some time. There is a working example on the link I provided. It is much easier for people to set up than cryptcat / ncat / stunnel. I have found that people will follow the least path of resistance.

What I suspect you will find is that where a single rsync stream might reach a couple hundred mb/s, lftp can saturate the link if you wish. At least, that is what most people find that try it out.

I have used in the past, a distant past, both for ftp, sftp and ftps and sincerely I'm not much attracted...

On setup cryptcat and ncat require almost ZERO setup, and you still need to have ssh on the over side unless you are restricted by some common crappy webui so...

Also, I see no reason to saturate the link apart of try to milk more performance at the expense of all others, servers and network hardware are not there to be abused but to be used... It's the same story with people that abuse http range to start multiple downloads of a single big file trying to milk a bit of performance...

rsync performance are not much rsync related, they depend on network, encryption and compression you use, disk I/O, ... per se it's pretty efficient. Certainly if you can incremental send a zfs snap via mbuffer is far more efficient but that's far more efficient than any kind of logic file transfer...

Gsuite with unlimited data and google photos with original quality enabled. Photos are backed up once a month to aws in lower but still acceptable quality. (Might be changing that as storage costs are starting to get really brutal). Also generate quite a bit of video for a side project of mine and that also goes right to google drive in a team share. Don’t have the space or funds to store those elsewhere. Talking ~7tb of video and premier pro project files.

> storage costs are starting to get really brutal ... Talking ~7tb of video and premier pro project files.

AWS recently announced Glacier deep-archive at $1/TB-month (standard Glacier being $4/TB-month).

When thinking about AWS Glacier, please calculate the transfer/restore/bandwidth fees in your costs... just saying. I ended up with a crazy cost long time ago for if I wanted to restore from Glacier. I have switched to Backblaze b2 since then for backups.

I prefer to keep my data on my own machines. I have a freenas server and use syncthing to synchronise photos between my phone and the server, with a cron script to organise the photos into folders.

I wrote a blog post about the setup a couple of years ago: https://www.jonblack.me/using-freenas-and-syncthing-to-autom...

I built a media pc with a 2tb drive for continuously uploading to backblaze, google photos, and an attached 2tb usb drive (it’s also a Plex server, which comes in handy for viewing the videos). I have google photos on my phones but mainly I periodically pull them off the phones and move them to the media pc, along with photos from my dslr.

Since my wife and I both have our own desktops it made sense to build the media pc to have a central place for photos and videos.

Crashplan $10/mo. Encrypted, off-site backup with unlimited storage, versioning and it keeps deleted files as well.

My challenge is that I shoot uncompressed RAW with my Sony A7R3 which makes it 80MB/image. And I shoot high res close to gigapixel res. panoramas with bracketing - which triples the storage (3 shots per frame for HDR blending).

So the challenge is it takes very long time to upload this stuff across my bandwidth.

Why not an external drive for your photos? I have a 1TB external drive dedicated for photos, and a 4TB external drive for Time Machine. My internal disk and the 1TB external disk both get backed up to the Time Machine disk and to Backblaze.

Backblaze supports encryption and I'm pretty sure you can access your backed up files in the cloud too, but I haven't tried that.

iCloud has been the simplest solution for me.

I think git annex assistant might work well for you.

I have a terabyte of photos and videos. I use git annex (without the assistant) to store and manage them. I push a copy to my desktop computer at work and to the NAS at home.

I'm not much of a believer in using the cloud for archival and backups. Hard drive space is much cheaper than the cloud, even with lots of redundancy.

I just purchased a cheap external drive which I'm going to use for offline backups in the fire safe.

I also have a friend who is willing to set up a backup-swap with me, but I need to sneaker-net the first backup to him.

Git annex will push to the cloud as well, I don't use that because I don't want to pay for the storage space.

For the photos on my phone I'm using resilio sync plus a cron job to copy them off and then free up space on the phone.

For organizing them I use a react/rails web app that I've been developing on and off for a few years. It's similar to google photos (without the AI). It's at https://github.com/jewel/hypercheese.

Dropbox has treated me well. I think it hits all the boxes you're asking for. The app automatically backs up my photos from my phone, but because it's not photo specific, I'm able to backup all my other files (music, documents). I've also not hit a video limit.

All my pictures from my phone automatically go to Dropbox. I manually move pictures off my camera and put them in a folder that also gets sync on Dropbox.

Then everything on Dropbox is also on a physical drive.

As an extra redundancy, all of that is on backblaze.

I chose Flickr in addition to my main storage NAS at home. Flickr keeps things synced and I can share it with my folks, and some relatives and friends easily.

Google was too expensive (for no compression photos) for the bulk I have.

Also not the answers you're looking for;

i have my family use Google photos. I have old family videos on there, and most of have Google Android phones that have data storage boasts.

No privacy guarantees, few guarantees of never having a sunset.

I'm also on Google Photo. Granted, I would not use it for, ahem, private photos. Otherwise, it works really well. I love how it automatically sorts my photos, how I can search by location, etc.

>I'm using a ton of local HD space to store them. I want to free up a bunch of space.

How much space?


1. That you're becoming a hoarder. Don't aim to keep all photos forever. Spend time to go over them and delete pointless ones. If you have 3-5 photos of the same object from the same angle "just in case", delete all but one.

2. HD space is cheap. Just upgrade. Don't use SSD for photos - get a regular 7200rpm HD. It's the simplest solution compared to trying to find a cloud provider that won't delete your photos. In the Internet age, you should never assume your online service will exist for long (paid or otherwise).

I have 170 GB of photos. Probably a third or so are simply because I have not yet had the time to go and prune them. I have a backup HD, and a cloud service. It should be all you need.

I’ve used Dropbox for several years for sharing files and such and found it also works great for photos. Pictures and videos from my devices (almost all from the iPhone, an excellent camera) are automatically uploaded to the Camera Uploads folder. Every couple of months I drag them over to a folder for the year, which I store inside a master Photos folder.

Only the current and maybe one more yearly folders are synced to my laptops, saves a ton of space. (Investigate selective sync on Dropbox)

I do have a gigantic hard drive on my desktop at home that has everything so I have one local copy of everything.

I also use Arq to periodically upload an encrypted version of the Photos folder from this desktop up to One Drive, since I get 1 TB free with my Office 365 subscription. Just for an emergency backup.

Hope this helps.

Dropbox and OneDrive only for the most important photos.

Storing all my photos online would require for me to get a very expensive plan. I do have offline storage of multiple external HDD where I regularly sync together.

I guess you probably don't want to hear "Take fewer photos, keep them on a HDD with a USB backup, and always be too busy doing awesome shit to look back at them?" That's far too ridiculous to be good advice. My entire life so far fits in 30GB of photos & videos. I rarely look at them. Life's too short. Everybody holding up a phone for the entire duration of the concert I'm trying to actually watch would probably beg to differ. Although then again I bet they do agree with me on one thing: they're never going to watch those videos either.

Sorry, but you're making a lot of assumptions as to why this person, or anyone would have a large amount of video or photos.

They could be the guy taking photos of their kid's ball game, that parent's know they can reach out to for pictures of their own kid's goals as well. They might have to record regular meetings at a work or club for posterity/legal sake. Based on what they posted it possible they're a pro photog/videographer who is just looking for a better system than what they're using currently.

Take less video isn't applicable to the question at all.

As for my experience I do agree with the keep them on an HDD part though. Nothing beats raw storage capacity for me, and multi-terabyte drives are only getting cheaper. I've got one set for bulk items, and another for backups of anything worth keeping.

The only annoying part for me is remembering to get data off a group of SD cards and onto the harddrives in a timely manner.

When answering how and where to store X, the answer should always consider "have less X" as an option or meta-solution, because it makes simpler, cheaper solutions possible and obviates overblown ones. I don't need to assume anything about the person; it's universally applicable. It obeys a power law too. Half the junk somehow gets you down to a quarter of the hassle most of the time.

for me it comes down to what is less effort to implement. i could probably delete half of my data (got about 5TB now), but doing that would take more effort than buying new harddisks.

backing up SD cards gets me too. sometimes it's months between backups. usually before travelling i remember that i'd better get the old pictures off, in case i loose the camera or run out of space.

Wait until you have kids. Those stupid videos get watched over and over, at least in my house. By the parents, to be clear. Gotta father that blackmail material for when they turn into teenagers.

iCloud photo or Google Photos

My photos are mostly in archival boxes with ring binders, and portfolios. I admit that that is probably not the answer you were hoping for.

So if your house burn you loose all your pictures...

How likely is such event then a cloud vendor issue? IMO, as a "seasoned enough" sysadmin the letter is far more likely than the former...

Also it have a nice plus: being physical need a bit of attention on your parts, so you probably end up in conserving only really valuable stuff instead a monster-collection of thing you do not really value...

I use NextCloud on a home server, and use restic for backups (which are then synced go a few cloud services like BackBlaze or rsync.net).

I use https://lyfepedia.com, which I am developing.

Tiny bit of feedback; I feel that the landing page needs to better explain what the site is.

Cant tell if this is supposed to be a social media site or what. No examples, no nothing. Why would anyone sign up without getting a detailed explanation?

Thanks, it's just in "unreleased mode" yet. The idea is to merge all social networks (flickr, whatsapp, youtube, google photos...) in a single one, with granular privacy controls. Right now you can only upload pictures (it will save the originals too) and create private chat channels though.

NFS(Wdmycloud) mounted to MacBook and raspberry pi. Currently the MacBook syncs the nfs storage with owncloud running on a docker host on linode.

When I have some free time I'm going to set up the pi to run the sync via cron so that when I copy files via my MacBook over to the NAS, I can close it and let the pi do the syncing when I am out of the house.

I use Dropbox to backup my photos. The Dropbox app on Android backups all photos in your gallery when given permission. I also dont have as many photos so the 1 TB limit on the pro account is more than sufficient for me.

I use Microsoft OneDrive, which has “files-on-demand” allowing you to only have a local copy when needed. I also do an AWS Glacier backup annually.

iCloud Photo Library fits the bill.

Music/Photos in Local SSD as server sharing with Android Mobile through SyncThing and KDEConnect!

Hum, let me answer per points:

0. I may empathize BUT if you value data on them... Well you ask something like how I can have my wife drunk and my barrel full (ancient Italian proverb). Sometimes you can "optimize" your storage for instance lowering a bit quality of images that you may do not need at super-high resolution, stripping metatada, change formats, ... Depending on the case you may save big size of storage.

1. Why not having a more flexible backup then? RClone is a nice tool if you need to use someone else computer and you may use various vendors, also rsync+something you can mount as a local filesystem may also enlarge market offers list...

2. No proprietary tool can be consider trustworthy, no service will take care of your stuff better then yourself...

To answer more directly: I do not feel the need of buy someone else resources for storage, however consider a thing: local backups may not be super reliable, may be stolen, lost etc. however if you properly store and use these kind of event are not much more likely to happen than a "disaster in the cloud" especially from cheap services that in turn themselves re-sell someone else resources. IOW my own personal suggestion is assembly/buy a decent PC, with enough PCIe ports to support many sata port, fill it with reasonably big plate disks at the best price/Gb ratio you are able to find, install a GNU/Linux distro you prefer or pay someone to do so for you, I suggest using NixOS because being declarative if something goes wrong recovery will be quicker. Create a proper raid structure and use that as a personal cloud.

File transfer from various device may vary depending on the source device, from Syncthing to rsync+webdav you may have many options. It's automation again highly depend on "sources"...

To serve your content GNU MediaGoblin may be interesting, simply locally mount your server storage via nfs and use any local tool you want may also be an option.

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