How do you store your digital photos?

I took on a monstrous task today: sorting through my camera folder.
*clash of thunder* *ominous music*

I don’t own a camera, but I own a phone – a phone I’ve had for almost exactly a year now – and the camera folder has (had) almost 1000 photos in it! And I’m not even that much of a photographer! D:

It took the better part of today going through them all, deleting and downloading and sorting them into folders. But I did it, and for this brief moment in time my phone is empty!

I’ve realised I’m a real photo-hoarder, I don’t like deleting any of them! So I save every photo and my folders just keep growing and I keep adding more folders.

Right now I have like 6 years’ worth of photos stored on an external hard drive
+ a Flickr account where I upload everything I want online
+ a Dropbox account for stuff I need to access from multiple computers.

All of those have downsides though.

External hard drives can easily break.
Cloud storage like Flickr and Dropbox are convenient since they allow me to access my stuff from anywhere, and it doesn’t matter if my computer or hard drive breaks. On the other hand, Dropbox is limited and Flickr is public and sort of clunky.
Printing is no option as I rather use my shelf space (and money) for something other than endless photo albums.

How do you store your photos?

I really want to know because I’m not entirely sure of my current system and I’d love to hear how others do it! Especially from fellow hoarders who never delete anything.


  1. 25 January 2015

    I use a combo saving. I have a solid state drive, a external, & my hard drive. I put every photo on the solid state drive. Then go through them. I choose the best ones & put those one the external & hard drive. If I have some that I will need then I throw them up on dropbox. I have had my Toshiba external hard drive for over 2 years at the moment & it hasn’t given me one problem *knock on wood*

  2. 25 January 2015

    My photos are organized into subfolders by year and event, e.g. something like this:

    2013 –> 07_03 Party
    2013 –> 12_01 Sydney

    So I have a parent folder for all photos taken that year, and subfolders which are named “month_day eventname”. Usually in these folders there are subfolders for RAW and JPG files.

    I store the most recent events on my computer’s hard drive (usually the past 2-3 years), but I always also copy them to an external hard drive – which is also my archive once my local hard drive needs space and I have to delete old photos. My external hard drive hasn’t run out of space so far, but if that ever happens I’ll have to get another one. I also periodically copy all the photos from the external hard drive to a RAID, just to be extra paranoid ;)

    So, my photos should usually be saved in at least two places and are therefore pretty safe (unless the house burns down or something). I also always have the best of the best photos uploaded on a gallery website.

    Being extra paranoid is always good! I lost a lot of my photos in a hard drive crash in 2007 (among them my Stockholm photos *sob*). Since then, I ALWAYS try to have as many backups as possible. Getting a RAID system should be the safest option currently out there.

  3. 26 January 2015

    My folders are all named “YYYY-MM-DD – Description”, except for the camera roll. I sort and organize pictures once in a while and copy them to an external hard drive. The only pictures I delete are the ones that are duplicate out of focus / blurry / “oops I didn’t mean to take that one”.

    I also automatically sync all my pictures to OneDrive, I love having access to them on any device. Camera roll is automatically synced from my phone to OneDrive, and now that I almost only use my phone for pictures I don’t have to worry about it. (I use OneDrive for everything. I’m a Microsoft girl ;) I will also pay for more OneDrive space when I need it because it’s so well integrated with my phone, laptop and tablet. It just *works*)

    • Karin
      2 February 2015

      As a fellow Windows Phone user my camera is synced to OneDrive too, and I love it! It saves so much time being able to take a bunch of photos when I’m out and about, and then I come home and just turn on the computer to see/download/edit them. OneDrive rules!

  4. 26 January 2015

    I have a dedicated 1TB hard drive for photos! I have to do that because I shoot in RAW, making each photo 20-30MB, and I don’t delete any of them either. I have another 2TB hard drive for making back-ups. Every 1-2 months, I’ll make a new back-up of my photo drive to put on it (and delete the previous back-up).

    I also have an external hard drive I keep at work. I take it home once in a while, make back-ups, then take it back to work. That way if something happens to my computer or house, I at least have a back-up somewhere else.

    I have some general parent folders like photoshoots, trips, DSLR, and LX5 (my compact camera). Then each one has subfolders by date. I use Lightroom for editing, and it automatically puts photos into a parent year folder (like 2015), and then by the date underneath it (like 1-26). So, it’s nice that it organizes for me when I import.

    Flickr allows you to set photos to private, by the way! It’s the visibility setting that says “only me” or something like that.

  5. 27 January 2015

    I semi organized my photos folder last week as well. It was a big task and I’m still not finished. I am also very curious how people organize their photos. I am having trouble right now because I have SO many photos on my phone of Ezri since she was born. I’ve uploaded them to my computer, but I don’t want to delete them from my phone because I LOVE looking back on them. My iCloud storage is full and so my phone hasn’t backed up in over 2 weeks. I don’t know what to do! Ah.

  6. 27 January 2015

    I have most of my photos on my computer organized with iPhoto (mac). I have backups of them on a storage device, but I need to do this more often. I have every photo from a digital camera/phone I have ever owned which started in 2004 and I want to keep them because I like being able to look at them.

    My computer is running out of space though. I think I have 300gb of photos so I should get something just for them. I often worry that I might loose them. Like if my computer crashed and my device did. I have too many to upload anywhere and my internet connection is capped on how much space you can upload or download, grr.

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