I'm sure folks here have a good approach to photo storage/processing and backup. I'm a dad with 4 kids and lots of family photos. I had my first digital camera in 1996 and have pictures stretching back over a number of years. Over time, I used apple photos, Flickr, Google Photos, Lightroom and Dropbox.

I spent a lot of time over the last week pulling all my photos into one folder and removing duplicates. I'm down to about 200GB of photos. I have an Adobe CC subscription and also pay for Google One and Dropbox business. I like the hybrid of local storage with cloud as Backup and Sync.

I'm thinking about this system going forward:

Family System

So I would connect my phone/camera to any computer and get the photos into Dropbox. Occasionally, I would organize, edit them in lightroom. Dropbox would back them up and I would also use Google Cloud sync to have them in Google Photos, which is good for integration (i.e. show the pics using Rasp Pi via Dakboard) and also lets us pull up photos on phones, etc.

Is this a good/bad idea? Would love to hear about any better systems.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi bonhoffer and welcome to Photo.SE. The question "is this a good/bad idea" is not a very good for the SE format. Could you perhaps make it more concrete? I.e. highlight one aspect you're worried about and focus the question on that? Also, there are multiple previous questions on cloud storage and backup. Have you checked if any of those address your concern? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5, 2021 at 13:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ In addition to Saaru’s comment, a useful way of thinking about it is, try to condense your issue into a single sentence ending in a question mark, without using the word “this”, that’s short enough to be used as the title of your question. If you can do that, it’s a good indication you’re on the right track towards a specific question suitable for the Stack Exchange format. Thanks! =) \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Mar 5, 2021 at 16:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ "I'm sure folks here have a good approach to photo storage/processing and backup." What gives you that idea? To quote Bugs Bunny, "He doesn't know me very well, does he?" We have more than a few questions that pop up here about recovering the only copy of lost or accidentally deleted photos \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 5, 2021 at 20:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not trying to be difficult, but I think it's also worth clarifying - even for yourself - why you are taking all these photos. What's the point? What do you want to do with them? That also informs what you should do in terms of "digital asset management". \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Mar 6, 2021 at 19:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @osullic To be specific, I'm talking about question title. It's very much like reading "such and such at this link". (link just goes to example.org, for illustrative purposes.) To find out what "this" refers to, people must follow the link. Think along the lines of the perennial "How do I achieve this effect?" -type questions. "This" is a strong indicator of a non-specific question title. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Mar 6, 2021 at 20:00

1 Answer 1


In terms of backup, I don’t think it sound. But it’s better than nothing.

Putting pictures in the cloud can add flexibility to a workflow. It’s a wonderful technology. And for a business use, it is probably good enough as a backup because business records have finite retention periods and business can buy operational interruptions insurance.

But your pictures are not fungible. Money can’t replace them. They don’t have a short retention period. And pictures in the cloud are not under your control.

Miss a payment, they are gone.

Catastrophic data center event, they are gone.

Change in the host’s business model, gone.

Your account compromised, gone.

Plain vanilla ordinary operator error by you, gone. And these are more likely with the cloud because you will be touching the storage all the time for ordinary operations not just backup.

A good backup strategy is the opposite: the backup is offline and read only and redundant. Tactically, backup is based on reducing failure modes and creating multiple paths to recovery.

The cloud can be a convenient skirmish line. But it’s no substitute for hard disks in safe deposit boxes. And another with a family member in another town. And so on.

  • \$\begingroup\$ A complete backup strategy also encompasses verifying the validity and quality of your backup data. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peter M
    Mar 6, 2021 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fungible - Being something (such as money or a commodity) of such a nature that one part or quantity may be replaced by another equal part or quantity in paying a debt or settling an account. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fungible \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 6, 2021 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are some good aspects to the proposed strategy. By using both DropBox and Google Photos the OP has two independent cloud backups. That said, I think the worse issue is not having a local copy. Working on images with the performance of the internet is not pleasant. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric S
    Mar 6, 2021 at 20:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EricS I don’t use either. I don’t have a workflow need. As I said it is better than nothing. To my point, both Google Photos and Dropbox originally offered free unlimited storage. Neither does today. Dropbox changed years ago. Google just recently. Petapixel, imagur, Flickr, 500px, etc. have similar histories that users had to navigate if it was backup. These changes required changes to backup methods. That’s not sound. Even Adobe Cloud lost pictures recently. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6, 2021 at 20:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @bonhoffer I understand. It makes sense to me in terms of workflow. As a backup in traditional computer terms, I don’t think it is sound because important aspects are not in your control to a nontrivial degree and backing up photos to the cloud is not a time tested winner. Indeed pretty much all the evidence sits in the scale’s other pan. Syncing files can mean deletions propagate. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7, 2021 at 2:45

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