Managing our Family’s Digital Photos

Ok, who else has been struggling to figure out how to manage the abundance of digital photos and videos you have??? I have been on a quest to figure out how to merge our family photos (automatically) and have them back up (automatically) for a few years.

We take the majority of our photos and videos with our phones, as I suspect most people do these days. I bought a nice SLR camera when Mila was born but it just never seems to make its way out of the closet (um, let’s add that to the list of bad purchases made with great intentions….)

Initially we used apple’s iphoto (now called photos) but I hated that we couldn’t automatically merge the photos taken on each of our phones into one account. So frustrating. As a family, almost all the pictures we take are of each other or things we do together, so it made no sense to have separate accounts.

I searched and searched online for that perfect solution, and when I found  “BEVY” I thought I had discovered it. BEVY was essentially a networked hard drive that synced with our phones and created a merged photo album. It worked for a few months but then it glitched and when I tried to get support for it, I found out they went out of business (ok, so another bad purchase made with great intentions…), and again, the search continued.

After lots of internet research I decided to move all of our photos over to Flickr.  I put the app on both of our phones and logged us both into a “family account” so the photos would upload to the same place. They have a beautiful interface and 1TB of free storage which is great, but they limit videos to 3 minutes and it was becoming a burden to make sure any video longer than 3 minutes was uploaded somewhere else. I was also having a hard time finding any program to automate a back up of the photos stored in Flickr- I mean, what happened if Flickr disappeared???

Then I learned that google photos activated the feature to allow sharing between accounts and after playing around with their interface I fell in love and migrated all of our photos there (let’s not talk about how much time I’ve spent migrating photos over the past few years). Also, google doesn’t limit video length so all of our videos uploaded without issues.  Google does charge for storage space over 15GB so we spend $9.99 per month for 1 TB of cloud storage.  We’ve set it up so that Jake’s google photos shares all of the photos he takes with me, and my account downloads and saves them to my account. I could share my photos to him as well, but due to the size of all our files we don’t share both ways.

At this point I was super happy with google’s interface and how it automatically merged both of our photos and videos into one place, however I still wasn’t able to make an automated back up copy of everything we have stored in the cloud. Google offered Google Takeout to download your photos, but you had to physically go into your account and download them into a bazillion different zip files. And then you would have to remember which ones you’d downloaded and go back and do it at regular intervals if you wanted to make sure you had a full back up copy. I tried several different third party apps but there was always a glitch. GRRRR.

And then……. google came out with “Backup and Sync”. Problem solved. HALLELUIAH!

There are a few steps to set up the auto backup of your cloud storage and I’ll outline them below:

  1. Go to your google drive and click on the gear icon in the upper right corner.
  2. Click on Settings
  3. In settings, check the box to Create a Google Photos folder which automatically puts your google photos into a folder in your Google Drive.
  4. In your Google Drive you should now see a folder that says “Google Photos”
  5. If you click on the folder it will have your photos in folders by year, cool huh?
  6. Now, install Back up and Sync on your computer
  7. Back up and Sync can go both ways: you can back up your local computer files to the cloud and/or choose to have items from your Google Drive backed up onto your computer.
  8. I chose to just back up the Google Photos folder rather than my entire Google Drive
  9. And even cooler is that I was also able to change the location of where it backed up the files. Instead of backing them up on my computer I directed it to an external hard drive attached to my computer 🙂
  10. It’s finally happened! Now on to make my photo books. I’m behind by a few years already….


2 thoughts on “Managing our Family’s Digital Photos

  1. Erica, Thank you for sharing your discovery and sharing your quest. Your writing style is superb,few professional writers have your talent at clear conversational writing. JPR

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