Online storage through "the cloud" is one of the best ways to ensure your files are safe and secure from failure, fire, and theft. "The cloud" has also typically been a super expensive place to store a ton of content until now. I stumbled upon a way to store the bulk of my photos online through a website service called Zenfolio, which you've probably heard of.
If not, Zenfolio is a service for photographers that offer website building, custom galleries for clients, photo printing and fulfillment, and photo storage. While the service isn't positioned as online backup for your photographs, I've found it to be an incredibly useful service where I can store MOST of my photos as my third backup that I can access from anywhere in the world. There are, of course, some pros and cons.
I'm currently paying 120 dollars per year to store the bulk of my files in TIFF format. This is a huge PRO considering there is no cap to how many photos I can upload. I say the bulk because there are restrictions as to what you can upload and store there. Unfortunately you cannot upload RAW or .PSD files to the site, which sucks a little bit but I found a way around it. While I cannot store my RAW files, I've found an easy workflow to convert the RAW files I want to keep and store them as TIFFs. Below is a structure of the plans they offer.
I've found it easy to store my files here because there is a plug-in for Lightroom that allows you to customize export settings and upload specific files directly from your Lightroom catalogue to your Zenfolio account. From there, you are able to create galleries of those photos, sell them, or even print them for personal use. For me, I just leave them there safe and sound at $120 per year. I do have colleagues that use Zenfolio for photo ordering and fullfilment. They swear by the ease of use, convenience, and the amount of time that this saves them to focus more on booking jobs. For me though it's strictly backup.
Remember that I am doing this as a tertiary backup, and not as a solution to work off of, or access on a regular basis. This is a "what if" worst-case scenario if my RAID on-site and off-site storage volumes are fire bombed, stolen, or hit with that Walter White sized magnetic truck in the same day. I would NOT recommend this as a viable solution for working off of, by any means. The downloading and uploading would drive you crazy. This is just a backup to my backup that I've automated into my workflow. For great RAID options for on-site backup and redundancy, check out the Promise Pegasus or the Lacie RAID systems.
If you can get around the fact that you can't store RAW, or really any working TIFF files due to the 64MB size restriction, I think that this is a fantastic option if you are on a budget. Even if you just wish to store final JPEGs of your work or even strictly for clients then this is a fantastic option. Online storage for clients could be another line item and profit generator for clients who may not be as skilled as you in backing up photos. This, in my mind, is a great value added service that event based photographers could offer to clients and potentially win more bids with. I will also add that upload speeds are traditionally terrible across the USA so plan on letting your upload run overnight, and potentially well into the next day if you have a lot of files.
If you are running Lightroom 5, please note the following bug warning taken directly from the website of the Zenfolio plugin from Jeff Friendl's blog:
WARNING: "Important Lightroom 5 Warning: There's a major bug in Lightroom 5 concerning Publish. I initially thought it had been fixed in the 5.2 beta build, but the bug remains. See this post for info on how to avoid losing data."
Has anyone found cloud based storage for multiple Terabytes of storage that is affordable?