The iPhone curse.
This digital age has created an explosion of photography as camera phones allow us to record life’s moments with minimal effort. But it comes at a price. Such images are ephemeral. Deleted to make way for fresh photos, lost when a phone fails or is stolen. It is only when some life event causes us to reach out for a photo and the memories we wanted to relive do we realise that precious image is lost.
Save yourself that pain
The fragile nature of digital photos makes it vital to copy those memories somewhere safe. But what if you are part of that quickly growing group that only own a mobile device? Thankfully there are simple solutions to ensure those images, and their memories are secure from capricious accidents. Here are 5 quick ways to back up your images without a computer that work for both Android and Apple devices.
Dropbox. is the one I personally use. It has served me as a professional well over many years. It works on nearly all devices and gives me the ability to store images onto and from other devices too. The downside is only 5Gb of storage free. Simply download the App, create an account then click on the + button (oddly labelled create) to select and upload your photos.
2. Google Photos
Google Photos. Is perfect if your only concern is photos. It comes with 15Gb of storage free. (Or unlimited if you are happy to let them resize your image to what they term ‘High Quality*’. Which can be an image up to 16Mb and video up to 1080p). Whichever you choose it is as simple as downloading the App and signing up. It will prompt you about uploading images and after that just gets on with it. Unlike Dropbox however there is no software to allow automatic downloading and syncing to a laptop or desktop computer
Pro Tip*: If this worries you consider this. The early professional digital cameras took just 8Mp images. That is how far technology has evolved since I moved from film to digital photography.
iCloud. If you have an iPhone then you have iCloud and this is the default way your phone backs up your images. Assuming you have enabled it of course. However if you delete a photo on the phone it will be deleted from iCloud. Also while you can put Dropbox and Google Photos onto other phones should you decide to switch iCloud is dedicated to Apple devices. By all means turn it on as an extra safeguard.
3. Amazon Photos
If you have an Amazon Prime account then you have Amazon Photos. It is unlimited for photos (but not video) and there is an app that makes connecting and uploading simple and quick. All images are stored in the cloud, which means downloading them via a browser should you need them on your PC or Laptop. DO remember though that you only have this facility as long as you are paying for Amazon Prime.
4. Distrust the Cloud?
If you do not like putting images into the cloud all is not lost. You can purchase iPhone and Android compatible USB Flash Drives that will plug straight into the iPhone and allow you to download to that with an App.
Pro Tip: If you choose to do this remember to store the flash drive somewhere safe or your images may prove less secure than on a password protected site!
While all this helps and should give you more peace of mind, don’t dismiss the idea of having a proper print. What is more it has never been easier. Walk into many large supermarkets and you will find self service printers that can print direct from your phone without even plugging it into anything.
Many of todays ink jet printers also have this facility. Select the image you want while near the printer, choose the share button on your phone then scroll down to the print tab. If your printer is compatible with wifi printing you will see it appear in the options. For best results that will last make sure to use proper photographic paper. Unless you do an awful lot of prints I would suggest sticking to the same brand as the printer.
Online printers are desperate for your business. Many tempting you with offers of free prints in the hope you will get the habit and start ordering extra items. Take advantage while you can!
Pro Tip. Try several printers using the same image and compare results to see which provides the best result. Do not expect them to match what you have seen from a professional photographer though. We will be working on high resolution calibrated screens checked against laboratory samples to ensure what we see is what gets printed!
Visit a museum or major art gallery and what surrounds you is only a fraction of what they have available. the rest remains stored away. Rarely seen unless specifically requested or used for a special exhibition. It is this careful curating that gives impact to the exhibits you see. Now you have your images safe take a little time to do the same with your own memories. Take a little time to add notes to your images and create albums of the very best.
Pro tip: If you are struggling to cull the images think about the ones of your parents previous generations that mean the most to you. Or you wish had been taken.
A closing thought
Despite all the advances in technology the camera phone shares one major flaw in common with every other camera. It is very hard for the person taking the photo to be part of a group shot, (beyond the selfie rugby scrum) Which may not matter to you just now but will matter an awful lot to your family later. It is not just your memories you are saving.