Photo backup: why you need it & which service is best

In the past, individuals stored images in photo albums, which served them well for many years. These were small gadgets that could be placed on coffee tables and shared with a large number of people. The possibilities for sharing images have evolved tremendously over time, and they will almost certainly continue to do so if technological wizards have anything to say about it.

Memory cards, personal computers, and the internet with plenty of photo backup services are some of the technologies that individuals choose to store their photographs safely. People now tend to choose the going online because many of the photo backup services provided are free and just as convenient to use as other devices that can store your images.

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Why you need photo backup

You never know when something goes wrong and you end up losing many or all of your photos, and, with them, some of your fondest memories. You need photo backup for your own peace of mind.

Backing up your photos in several locations allows you to format your camera or smartphone without the fear of deleting anything you shouldn’t. If you have more than one copy of an image, if you lose one, it’s ok, you’ll have another.

This is why I strongly advise you to create backups of your digital photos and also of your classical printed ones. Take out the old photo albums and scan everything – nowadays you can even use your smartphone for that. It’s also a good idea to invest in a camera film scanner to save the photos you haven’t yet printed because you just forgot about them (or you printed them and you lost them).

You need photo backup to save your beautiful photographs forever. Invest in a good photo storage option that can protect your most cherished memories from everything: losing them in a moment of carelessness, devices breaking down or getting stolen, destruction from natural disasters or any other accidents.

photo backup on a memory card
Memory cards are a handy photo storage option

Physical photo backup options

Digital photography is the most cost-effective technique to protect against disaster loss. You may effortlessly duplicate your images once they’ve been converted into digital format. Your photos can be quickly backed up and restored thanks to digital technology. Nowadays, it’s a technology that’s almost inextricably linked to traditional photography.

Burning CDs and DVDs of your photos is something people have been doing for many years. As time passed, people started to prefer storing their images on memory cards because they were designed to fit right into the cameras they own. These electronic photo storage devices are also incredibly portable because they are small enough to fit in the palm or pocket of any photo enthusiast’s outfit on that particular day. Photos on memory cards can be transferred to a variety of locations or left on the card until there is no more memory available.

Of course, as your need for more photo backup space increases, you can level up to a flash card or even to an external SSD.

Most digital cameras come with cables or WiFi access that permit photos to be transmitted to a variety of devices or printed on a home printer. Photo printers normally come with software that allows the photo hobbyist to transfer photographs from a digital camera into a printer memory bank, and the printer will most likely save the images in photo storage facilities that are pre-loaded onto the home computer system.

Your digital camera or smartphone can also be used as a photo or video storage device, but if most of the images aren’t moved to another kind of digital media, the camera’s memory will quickly be depleted. (You need to keep in mind that even though the device memory space has grown significantly in time, so has our ease to take photos and collect them.)

online photo backup services
Discover the benefits of online photo backup services

Online photo backup options

Because the storage limitations on many websites aren’t very permissive, and others charge a small monthly subscription to store images on the sites, some users will use their email systems to store photos. This fee covers the amount of storage space on the servers that they utilize for other online activities such as gaming and music stations. Some consumers are willing to pay these fees because they know their valuable photographs will be safe.

As I’ve mentioned above, a variety of websites offer online photo backup services. Most of these programs demand a monthly cost of $10 to $50, however, some offer a limited service for free. The concept is simple: rather than backing up your photos on physical devices, you upload your images to a website and keep your duplicates there. The backups are stored on the site in a secure location far away from your computer. If a tragedy occurs and you need to recover your photos, you can easily download them from the site whenever you want.

Using an online photo backup solution has numerous advantages. To begin with, they are usually fairly simple to use and some even come with a photo editor. Some websites offer applications for download and installation on your computer. You simply point to the folder containing your images, and the software does the rest. It will ensure that new files are posted to the backup service on a regular basis and that the backup is constantly up to date.

Here is a comparison between the main features of some of the most popular online photo backup options:

iCloudAmazon PhotosGoogle OneSyncDropboxFlickrSmugMug500px
Basic plan$0,99/mo$1,99/mo$1,99/mo
Storage space50 Gb100 Gb100 Gb2 Tb2 TbUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Photo qualityOriginalOriginalOriginalOriginalOriginalOriginalOriginalOriginal
Realtime backup & sync
Password protection
Mobile app
24/7 support
Free plan5 Gb5 Gb15 Gb5 Gb2 Gb1000 photos2 weeks5 Gb
* Prices listed per month, but actually billed annually.
** Prices vary according to where you live. I used international USD for reference.

best photo backup service
The best photo backup service suits your current needs, but also offers you lots of space to grow

Which service is the best photo backup service

As you can see from the table above, SmugMug is a clear winner for online photo storage at a good price. The second-best is probably Flickr. And Flickr is owned by SmugMug, actually.

While SmugMug’s Basic Plan is suitable for most amateur photographers, they also have stronger plans for higher needs. Those who should definitely have a closer look at their superior photo backup plans are professional photographers, bloggers, influencers, and actually everyone else who wants to earn money from selling photos online.

Here’s a quick glance at their three other plans for online photo storage:


  • All the features of the SmugMug Basic plan, of course
  • Drag and drop templates and design tools
  • Full website customization
  • More advanced privacy and security controls
  • Personalized domain name

Price: $13/mo or $102/year


  • All the features of the SmugMug Power plan
  • Integrated sales tools
  • Fulfillment tools
  • Watermark protection

Price: $32/mo or $240/year


  • All the features included in the SmugMug Portfolio plan
  • Custom photo & gallery pricing
  • Client management tools
  • Marketing promotions, coupons, and packages

Price: $50/mo or $432/year

Try SmugMug for free, and take 40% off your first year when you’re ready to commit

Whichever service you may choose, please backup your photos. I know it’s an additional expense, and it’s not necessarily cheap for everyone. However, it’s absolutely worth making this investment now.

Your smartphone, camera, tablet, or computer can crash any time, even within the next few minutes. And file recovery software is a hit-and-miss option. I should know, I’ve lost years of photos from my travels in 2017. And from that point, I backup my photos in three different places – on my laptop, on an external SSD, and online.

You devices can also get stolen or they can get damaged from a natural disaster. And in those cases, you’ll be lucky if you recover the device at all, not to mention the precious files on it.

Would you rather regret you spent some money on online photo backup services or feel sorry you didn’t?

Take action and backup your photos as soon as possible!

About the author

Mirela Letailleur The Travel Bunny

Mirela Letailleur is a Romanian travel blogger living in the South of France. She writes on The Travel Bunny travel blog about affordable travel in Europe, creator of unique free travel guides, local travel expert. Problem solver. Wannabe coffee guru.

Read more about Mirela Letailleur

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