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Ask HN: How/Where do you store/backup your photos safely?
31 points by okidogi 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 40 comments
If you want your photos to be accessible after 10 - 30 years, where would you store/backup your photos ?

Honest answer (no trolling or bad intent):

I let all important photos be made into a photo book. None of the available backup strategies are robust, safe and future proof enough for this task (I'm talking about pictures of my family, kids etc.).

Moreover, my experience is, that if you have them in a physical book, you tend to look at them way more often yourself and with others.

Bonus point: I only have to do it once per picture. No need to migrate to another backup strategy, another provider and so on.

I've been using this fully automated system for the last 5 years.

I store my photo archive on a Synology NAS at home which syncs to Dropbox and uploads a copy of each photo to Google Photos for browsing and sharing. I'm hoping to switch to Backblaze, from Dropbox, once Synology Photos is available and drop Google Photos as well.

I've documented the entire process and include source code on Github.

Github repo to automatically organize photos based on EXIF:


Series of posts on Medium (to be read in order):






Probably not the answer you are looking for. But a couple of years ago I moved to film photography, I have a small camera for day-to-day and medium format for other stuff.

I keep all the negatives as a physical backup and all the scans go straight into google photos. The special ones are printed and in a photo book.

Pros are no longer being plagued with thousands of photos, I am a lot more purposeful with my photography, as scanning technology improves I can rescan for higher quality photos. Also I am more creative with film, it has made me learn a lot more about photography.

Cons are low light photography is harder, development/scanning is costly if you aren't doing it yourself and if you are it costs time.


- in a physical photo book. This forces me to be more selective, so only the best pics are printed (less than 300 pics)

- their digital counterparts are backed up in: one pendrive, one hard drive, one cloud provider. I update the backups every 6 months or so

I have no idea if the digital pictures will be accessible in 30 years, so I try to keep myself up-to-date regarding this topic (every 5 years or so). It's not very difficult to migrate a few hundred pics to a new kind of storage system/format.

The problem for is me myriad whatsapp photos from family I receive and send.

For the photo camera, I am _seriously_ considering buying small SD cards for this.

As soon as I return from vacation I have between 200-1000 new photos.

Until now I moved them to my computer, then to the cloud and tried to clasify them as soon as I have some time (doing it on the cloud is not fast).

But SD prices are now a bargain. $5-10 for a "small 16GB" is more than enough for holidays.

I just need to:

1 - create a "contact card" with some remarkable photos 2 - and archive it with the SD card attached to it 3 - make a backup SD of the SD and contact card.

This should last at least 10 years.

I have a PC that I'm using as a NAS with a NextCloud instance. For the storage I'm using a ZFS pool made of two HDDs in mirror mode (but since I'm using a Linux distro, if I would have done it today I would have used BTRFS due to it's better support on Linux. I'm still with ZFS because that pool is a leftover of a previous attempt at storing my photo archive). I have yet to configure an offsite backup, which is crucial in this scenario since putting everything on a NAS makes it a single point of failure

* Google Photos for indexing/searching/browsing

* Synology DS Photo and PhotoStation for local storage

* Google Photos Uploader to sync DSLR photos to Google Photos

* copy of synology photos to an external USB drive

* Backblaze backup of everything on the Synology

Maybe not HN enough, but my Photos are stored on my laptop. Together with all other data, they are regularly backuped to an external HDD. Works very well since I've owned my first computer.

How do you guard against cryptolockers?

I'm not who you responded to, but my incremental backups on an external HDD probably always date back at least half a year (seems to be a little over a year at the moment, limited by disk space).

I don't know if that's enough to guard against cryptolockers, but it seems enough to me. (Being on Linux also makes me probably a less likely target for cryptolockers, but that's not the case for everyone.)

It would be good to have a second backup in case the backup HDD fails, of course.

Exactly. Well, perhaps there is some evil kind of cryptolocker that will wait until the external HDD of my Linux laptop is plugged in before it encrypts everything.

Hasn't happened to me yet, but I've crashed my external HDD once, a second backup definitely makes sense.

As all my photos is being made by my & my wife phones:

1. Sync/send it into OneDrive cloud.

2. My mostly-offline (and powered down) home NAS downloads it and create a copy on its RAID disk (I'm switching it on for that task like once a month or so)

3. Once a year, I'm sitting down for the evening with my wife and choose the photos from the current year that should be send to print.

4. Printed photos are being delivered, we put it into our photo album.

Are you me? I have a very similar process, except that my NAS is used to power a Plex server and I keep an additional, offline copy of everything a drive that is only used for periodic backups. I, in theory, have 3 copies of everything. If everything fails at once, then I'm going to just going to assume it was meant to be.

Currently a NAS (RAID1) + Google Drive unlimited via rClone. Unfortunately that is going away, and I am considering migrating either to tarsnap or B2.

Hard copies are of course an additional bonus but I'm not considering them "backup".

My strategy in general is that data should be in at least 2 distinct geographical locations at least 10km apart and managed by 2 distinct organizations (for example Backblaze and Google if you are using 2x cloud backup).

My photos are all in Photos.app, so a copy is in iCloud and then on my desktop. The desktop backs up to a big local Time Machine array, and to (for now) Backblaze.

In aditions to uploading them to cloud or having them in cold-storage at home, you can also print some of the photos and store them in various places. If you want to store pictures of your children for example, a printed photobook sent to various family members is a nice gift and a safe way to keep the pictures for a long time even after your death or a meteorite crashing into your house.

I store everything on my computer and manage them with shotwell. Every week, I use rsync to make a backup to my server, which in turns has a Cron job that backs up everything to an external drive. At one point, following a tutorial[0] I used IBM cloud services to make encrypted backup, but my photos size has outgrown the free plan. I just gave up.

I let my social photos and snapshots on my phone auto-upload to Google Photos.

Lightroom CC automatically ingests any raw images I take on my phone. I sort and archive those on Lightroom Classic later.

My Lightroom photo library mostly lives on my Synology NAS. This gets backed up to Wasabi using their Hyper Backup utility.

I store them on a nas, but also do another cold copy to a simple usb connected 5T disk.

And I also do make use of google cloud and apple cloud where available. Is that a problem? I'm honestly not sure. They're just innocent photos I would not mind if they leaked.

I've had so many beta users ask me this that I did some research and wrote this up:


TLDR: have multiple copies of everything. Printed copies on acid-free paper is great. Keep your original files of possible. If you can, store copies in more than one location.

I'm planning to look at perkeep.https://perkeep.org/

S3 Glacier Deep Archive in a tar.gz.aes per calendar year.

Amazon Photos. If you have prime membership then its unlimited storage.

I just dump everything in and forget about them as "another" backup.

- RAID 5 NAS for primary storage

- Daily rsync of NAS to an external disk

- Periodic encrypted/compressed archives in S3

Synology syncs locally and then overnight they are client-side encrypted and uploaded to Synology C2 backup.

I try to follow the 3-2-1 method: 3 copies, on 2 different media (HD and BD-R), 1 offsite (2nd BD-R set at parents' home).

Is any burned optical media really reliable after the OP’s “10-30 years” window?

Quite surprised no one mentioned anything related to data encryption.

(disclaimer: I came here for that)

Primary storage on my MacBook, 182GB backed up to Adobe Creative Cloud (up to 1TB).

Amazon Prime Photos Amazon Glacier, and Offline hard disk backup. All 41k of them.

Two different cloud services: Google Photos and Flickr. Paying for both.

Since I own an iPhone i use their iCloud storage to store my pictures

I am pretty sure google photos should be around after 30 years.

Serious question, what makes you so sure about that? Isn't Google notorious for suddenly killing a product?

I'm not sure any online service can be expected to be around in 30 years.

1 year, definitely. 5 years, probably. 10 years, not so sure. 20 years, insufficient data.

Backblaze, all 600 Gigabytes of them from 1997 to the present.

Copies synced to S3, Amazon Photos, and Google Photos.


rsync.net + borg backup

I put them on Github

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