Never loose another digital photograph again!

If you take a lot of digital photographs, one of your worst nightmares must be something happening to your computer and you losing all of your digital pictures. Tech experts are forever preaching about regular backups but unless the backup system is automated, computer users forget to backup until just after a catastrophic failure. You can backup your photographs to CD or DVD, but you have to remember to both do it regularly, and if something happens and your house is destroyed, both your computer and backups are gone. The simplest way to make sure you never loose another photograph is to back it up to a place that itself is backed up, allows you access to them from any computer, and allows you to share your talents with friends and family. Back it up online.

There are dedicated photo websites, such as Flickr, Photobucket and Picasa, to name a few, as well as cloud storage for a wider range of files.

A few things to remember before we venture into uploading, sharing and so forth.

Between 600 and 1200 photographs can fit into 1 Gb (Gigabyte). The wide variance is due to a couple of factors. The more MP (Mega Pixels) your camera has, the larger the images. The format also comes into play. An uncompressed image format, such as .TIF will be a lot larger than a compressed image file like a .JPG.

The difference between a compressed and uncompressed image is quality. If you just enjoy taking and sharing photographs, then a compressed file format, probably .JPG is fine. If you are a professional photographer, or someone who requires the highest possible quality, then a .TIF or even a .RAW file format will meet your needs.

Of course, the larger the files, the longer it takes to upload and the more bandwidth is used. Talking of uploading, long gone are the days of having to use FTP (File Transfer Protocal) to copy images online. Most online solutions allow you to upload your photographs straight from your phone or once the images are on your computer, a desktop program will take care of copying them to your account. Here are a couple of dedicated photograph websites.

Flickr, which is owned by Yahoo, allows 300 Mb (Megabyte) upload per month for free. A casual look on the website fails to explain how much actual webspace you get with a free account.

Photobucket gives you 2 Gb of space for free along with the ability to edit and add effects to your images once uploaded.

Picasa, owned by Google, only gives 1 Gb of space for free but also gives the user access to various online effects and editing tools.

On all websites you can adjust the privacy settings to allow some, all or no one to view your images. All also offer paid solutions which increase the space available.

If you want to backup more than just photographs, you can always look at using Cloud storage. Cloud storage is pretty much webspace that, again, you can control who sees what.

There are a wide selection of sites to choose from but the three most noticeable are Apple iCloud, Google Drive and Microsoft Skydrive.

Apple iCloud offers 5 Gb of free space with paid options climbing to 1 Tb (Terabyte) for $500 a year. Although from Apple, the iCloud can be used by PCs as well as Apples.

Google Drive also offers 5 Gb for free with paid options maxing out at 16 Tb for $800 a month. Google Drive is a little more complex to understand as files stored in Google Docs do not count against the storage limit.

Microsoft Skydrive gives 7 Gb for free with the maximum space offered being 100 Gb for $50 a year.

All three can be accessed from anywhere. Google and Microsoft give the user an option to have an icon on their desktop that acts like any other folder on their system, making it as easy to upload a file as it is to copy it from one folder to another.

As with choosing any service, it pays to research before signing up. Obviously, if you already use Yahoo mail, it makes sense to use Flickr, the same applying to Google and Microsoft. Just because a website offers the most storage doesn’t automatically mean it is the best overall service.

Happy and safe backing up!

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