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03-04-2010, 05:57 AM   #1
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Online photo storage sites and workflow

Hi folks. Me again (the question lady).

I've been wondering about sites like flickr, smugmug, photoreflect, photobucket, etc. Which one of these sites would you recommend to store photos? I don't have any external hard drive at home and I want to start having a secure place to store my pictures on line as my skills progress. And looking way forward, it would be nice to have a place where people could purchase prints if they wanted to (but as I've said before that is a long term goal - no hurry on that).

So again, would it be worth it for me to choose a place like smugmug for $40/yr? Or please feel free to suggest other sites.

As for workflow, I need major help with that. I am using Photoshop Elements 8 but I am a new user. Should I just use PE8 to help me organize or would one of the aforementioned sites do that for me too?

Gosh...so many, many questions I have. lol

Thanks folks.


03-04-2010, 06:14 AM   #2
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I've been happy with smugmug, but to store RAW files, you will need to buy a smug vault (not sure about the price). While online photo storage sites are a great place to share pictures with friends or showcase your work, they aren't the best solution in protecting your pictures from damage or loss. You should look at on-site and off-site solutions; either an online backup service and external drives, or external drives and backup discs stored either off-site or in a fire box. I buy 500mb external drives and burn dvd's (I stay away from super huge drives; too much information to be lost on one disc).

Elements with Bridge is a good way to organize your files. I always edit on my main machine than backup originals and edits externally then get everything off my main machine. At whatever stage you feel you're at, safe file storage should be a priority for you When you feel like investing the money, you should look at a redundant storage system like a RAID array.
Good luck!
03-04-2010, 07:26 AM   #3
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I've been with Smugmug for years now and it's completely worth the yearly cost. Excellent in all aspects - display options and quality, and customer service, and sharing. I prefer Smugmug over the others because there are no size limits and I far prefer the display over the others.

I also back up on my external hard drives, but knowing all of my favorites are stored on a site I trust is important to me. I don't pay for the vault option. Having Jpegs stored there is enough for me. I did upgrade to Power Level last year so I could upload videos.
03-04-2010, 07:43 AM   #4
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I just don't get storing full sized images online. An external drive is like $100 for a TERABYTE ... that's a lot of space.

It's quicker, easier and less hassle.

03-04-2010, 08:24 AM   #5
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Hmm...so you guys think I should make the investment for an external hard drive eh? Well, what would be good for a beginner like me? (Not beginner PC user, beginner photographer, lol).
03-04-2010, 08:30 AM   #6
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Here you go.. External HDD

One of the best computer equipment places I've dealt with.

03-04-2010, 08:42 AM   #7
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External hdds are so cheap that you really have to have one or two of them. They provide a better solution than CDs or online storage. I think as a beginner it's better for you to get in to that habit now than later.
03-04-2010, 08:45 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
Here you go.. External HDD

One of the best computer equipment places I've dealt with.

Cool. Thanks. What about size-wise (MG/GB)? Oh wait, did someone already mention that.....

03-04-2010, 08:48 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
External hdds are so cheap that you really have to have one or two of them. They provide a better solution than CDs or online storage. I think as a beginner it's better for you to get in to that habit now than later.
Good point. To be honest I can't be bothered burning CDs/DVDs. I don't have the storage space as it is for all the stuff I have on my desk/work area!
03-04-2010, 08:58 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Naturenut Quote
Cool. Thanks. What about size-wise (MG/GB)? Oh wait, did someone already mention that.....
First let me say that I agree with Blackcloudbrew.. I've lost too many photos to DVDs and CDs that have gone wonky for some reason, Unrecoverable. I'm talking from one month to the next. Working one month, next month, Gone.. I've tried and even paid for several recovery programs.... Nothing... If I didn't have prints of the ones I care about, they would be gone forever.

I also agree that multiple backups are a good thing. A 500Gb drive would go a real long way. Just keep your RAW files and your processed JPGs there, I would double up on that and use the second to back the first and keep at least one of them in a safe place, like a firebox.

I Do upload full sized JPGs to Flikr ($24 per year) but not for storage (though I do have my Inventory photos stored there as well) but for the pixel peepers to have something to look at. I'm not too worried about anyone stealing them because most that I allow to be seen publicly, aren't worth the effort.

03-04-2010, 09:05 AM   #11
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Unless you shoot like mad and you delete your poor images, a couple of 500GB drives will set you back maybe $60 each.

Back up to both so if one fails you have a second back up, ideally at another location, even if the 2nd one is backed up just monthly or whatever.

CD's, online = massive hassle.
03-04-2010, 09:56 AM   #12
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As you're also thinking about your own business, you can consider to host your own domain somewhere at a hosting provider. Obviously you first must decide on the domain name (naturenutphotography.com )

Costs depend on the the package that you choose (storage space, bandwidth, ...). Most domain name registrations must be renewed yearly (and usually at a cost). Locally I checked my hosting provider and they offer up to 5GB storage space.

You can use FTP (or secure FTP) to dump your images on the server and get them of there as well (this is not complicated).

Don't use it as the only backup, but it can be used for off-line storage.
03-04-2010, 10:38 PM   #13
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Photos or not, you should back up any important files to an external hard drive. There are two kinds of computer users, those who have lost important files, including photos, and those who will. No exceptions.

I recommend an external hard drive. That's your first line of defense against loss. For your special photos a service like SmugMug is a good second option. Make high quality JPEGs of your favorites. They'll be much smaller than raw files and upload more quickly. Put those online as failsafe backups. If worst come to worst and your home catches fire or falls in an earthquake, you'll at least have retrievable copies of your favorites.

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03-06-2010, 08:42 PM   #14
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By all means use an online service to make it easier to distribute photos, but do not rely on them from storage or even main backup because you have no control over them.

If you want to add a layer of security if your computer hard disk fails or you lose files for some other reason, then a local external hard disk is fine. However, if there is a local catastrophe like a fire or flood, then your local external hard disk and computer possibly will suffer the same fate.

The next level is to have two external hard disks (HD): one kept local (HD A) and one kept at work (HD B), especially if the work location is more than 10km away. A backup can be made to HD A, which is then swapped with the HD B. The next backup is made to HD B, which is then swapped with HD A. This is a simplistic backup rotation strategy but provides a good deal of protection against the failure of two HD and fire, flood, and theft.

To get more complicated (which I don't belive you would want), or for interest, Google 'Tower of Hanoi backup rotation strategy' or similar.
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