There used to be piles of negatives, now there are gigabytes of originals. Both need to be stored somewhere. So that neatly, conveniently and reliably. And a computer is not an option: the more often you shoot, the faster RAW photos will completely clog memory. There are only two alternatives: an external hard drive or the cloud. We will look at them today. And at the same time we will find out what is better.
Now almost every axis, major system or provider offers cloud services. You can store all your files on external servers, which can be connected via the Internet, and accessed anytime, anywhere. Of course, in the presence of the notorious Internet.
Advantages of cloud services
Access from anywhere in the world
The cloud got its name for a reason. On the surface, it may seem that your documents and photographs are taken from nowhere. It is not necessary to store them on the computer, filling up the memory. But you can open it anywhere. If you work, for example, from a laptop with 500 GB of internal memory, you can store all your photos in the cloud. Whether you need to edit an old photo or choose from a portfolio, you can do it even while relaxing on the beach. All you need is an internet connection.
The cloud is not limited by physical media limits. There is enough storage space, so any user can freely choose how much space they need. If space runs out, services always offer expansion options.
Also, it does not matter how many and what kind of files you plan to store, the cloud provides such an opportunity. Therefore, if you are dealing with big data and prefer to work remotely, cloud services are very convenient.
Disadvantages of cloud services
When you agree to store your data in a third party service, you automatically accept the terms, both positive and negative. For example, in the event of a server failure, you will not be able to access your own information. And if there is a hack or leak, then all the data will be out of your control. This has already happened several times and, despite the fact that well-known users have become the main victims of attacks, no one is immune from leakage.
Of course, cloud service providers try to maintain the system and security settings in the proper form. So the cases are rare.
Now you can access the Internet from almost anywhere, but still there are places where the connection is not of sufficient quality. Data from the cloud is only available when connected to the network. So, if you are on vacation in a dense forest or on a wild beach, then you will not be able to get to your files. But network problems are not uncommon. Therefore, when choosing cloud services for storing photos, keep in mind that force majeure can always affect deadlines or opportunities.
The service is paid
Cloud services work on a subscription basis. That is, while you need to store files, you will have to regularly pay for the service. And if you miss a payment, then there is a chance of losing not only time, but also data.
Even using the cloud, you should always keep backups of your data. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that you will be able to access the photos at the right time.
There are several common services that can be used to store photos. Google drive, Yandex disk, iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive and others. Most of them are best used together with the ecosystem. Google is the most convenient for Android + Windows users, OneDrive and Yandex are also suitable for this. And iCloud is perfect for Apple users.
External hard drive
An external hard drive is a portable storage device. Depending on the type, HDD or SSD, it is either slightly faster and smaller (SSD), or large and slow (HDD). The volume varies from 1 TB and above.
The main advantage of your own drive is complete control over the files that are stored on it. Their arrangement, the quality of uploaded images and other parameters can be customized according to your own requirements. A hard drive works on the same principle as a flash drive, just connect it to the device you are working on and you can make changes right in the document.
If you’re particularly concerned about the security of your photos, you can set a password directly on the folders. Then access from any device will be open only to those who know the password.
Independent file access
In order to work with a hard drive, you do not need anything extra. It is not necessary to have a stable Internet connection, you can edit pictures from anywhere. The main thing is that the disk itself is at hand. Otherwise, you don’t depend on anything.
Ability to store any data
Some cloud services limit the type of files that can be saved. The hard drive is more free in this regard: graphic documents, text files, disk images and almost any data coexist on it. So it can be used for more than just photography. A reasonable organization of space will make it easy to navigate the data.
The hard drive only requires a one-time payment, the moment you buy it. The rest of the time you can use it for free and not worry that your data will be lost somewhere or someone else will get access to it.
The main disadvantage of a hard drive is its volume. No matter how big a drive you buy, sooner or later you will run out of space on it and you will have to decide what to delete and what to keep. It is impossible to expand the amount of memory on the disk, so you have to operate exclusively with what is already there. This is not always convenient, especially for photographers. It often happens that one person has several disks with photo archives at once, and many of them will never come in handy.
The disk can only be used when the user has it with him. If you forget, lose or break your hard drive, then the files stored on it will be lost. In some cases, without the possibility of recovery. So you have to not only constantly remember to take the disc, but also make sure that you follow the rules for storing and using it.
No access from all devices
Photos uploaded to the cloud can be uploaded from a computer and viewed on a phone. But with a hard drive, such a number will not work. They simply cannot be connected to a smartphone or tablet, so this type of device seems outdated for modern mobile technology.
So what to choose: an external hard drive or a cloud? Always consider which of the parameters is more important to you. If the main thing is access from anywhere, then it is better to choose a hard drive. In terms of convenience, it is still more profitable.
But if you are ready to regularly pay for a cloud service, and do not worry about the security of your files, then it is much easier to use it.
Photos will be available to you, and you can send them links to others.