Don’t Lose Your Precious Family Photos

Hello everyone, it’s “Hubby” here. You might think it’s cheating of Mrs TTToddlers to ask her husband to be the first guest blogger, but I want to bring up a hugely important topic that no parent blogger seems to have touched on: Photo backups!

Modern technology is great. We have the ability to record every laugh, step and tantrum of our children’s existence at our fingertips. Busy parents share these moments with each other, and distant relatives feel closer when they glimpse the off-chance handstand as well as the choreographed birthday parties. Years from now, when our darlings are acting cool in front of their friends or we need something to spice up their wedding speeches, there are gigabytes of irrefutable evidence of baby led weaning gone wrong and the time the toddler coloured herself with highlighter pens. We take all this for granted.

The problem with digital data is that it can all be wiped in a split second. One fat-finger error. A careless drop on the floor. Every photo. Gone. Forever.

I see these social media posts all too often.

I’m reminded of a cousin, whose two little girls were born shortly into the millennium, several years before the first iPhone was released. She had a digital camera and was therefore among the first generation of parents who were able to take endless photos. Three years ago, she sent an email around the family, saying she had lost everything. Her laptop had died, the shop couldn’t fix it and could everyone please check their emails for family photos from her, or send back photos they had taken on their own cameras. I never asked how many photos she had before ‘the crash’ or how many were eventually recovered.

Back up people!

There are hundreds of solutions for backing up your data, which almost makes it more difficult to choose. Learning from my cousin’s experience, I delved into researching this topic before my eldest was born. I wanted a system that was automatic, simple and worked across all of our electronic devices.

There is nothing like a new baby to bring out the snap happy in everyone, and while I loved that my phone was filled with photos of my wife and kids, it would have been nice to see one or two photos with me in them. Of course, these were all on my wife’s phone, so it was important that each of us has access to the photos that the other one took, ideally straightaway.

Not helping matters, Mrs TTT works exclusively on Windows laptops and an Android phone, while all my devices are Apple, and 99% of the photos we take are on our phones. As we also live abroad, it was important that everything was sharable with relatives back at home, and making a copy of everything (backing up the backup!) needed to be straightforward.

After much consideration, we settled on Dropbox as our main backup. Dropbox is relatively affordable (approx. $80 for a year of 1TB storage and there are lots of “sign up a friend” free storage deals), but its biggest selling point is ease of use. We each have the Dropbox app on our phones, and with “Camera Upload” setting active, any picture either of us take will automatically be uploaded to the cloud. With the Dropbox app installed on my computer, it automatically downloads them and saves a local copy on my computer.

Just in case three copies of each photo (phone, Dropbox, and computer) wasn’t enough, we also bought a portable hard-drive (do you get that I REALLY don’t want to lose my photos?!). Every few months, I take this from the kid-proof box and copy everything from my Dropbox folder onto this final step. This part is perhaps a bit of paranoia on my part, but it gives some protection in the nightmare scenario where something happens to our cloud account.

These days, there are lots of alternatives to Dropbox – Google Drive, iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive, to name the three big ones. What we chose works so well for our needs that I haven’t needed to investigate these, but they all offer similar automatic upload and download features to Dropbox.

A smartass once told me that the best day to start going to the gym was a decade ago, and the next best day to start is tomorrow. If you are here, at the end of this post and you don’t know if, or how, or where your photos are backed up, you should give it some thought. I don’t proclaim myself an expert, I’m mostly a paranoid Daddy anxious not to lose those precious captured family memories, but if you have any questions, I’m happy to chat!

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