Unlimited Online Backup For $120 Per Year

Unlimited Online Backup For $120 Per Year

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?

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Jon Sharman's picture

Wouldn't saving them as DNGs be a better option when it comes to filesize limitations you're having with TIFFs?

DNGs are essentially RAW files in zenfolio's eyes so they won't allow you to upload them.

Made me think about backblaze but it's cheaper. i have not checked the difference between those though.

Or you could use a solution like CrashPlan and get unlimited, real-time continuous backups of ALL your files (i.e. any file type), with no restrictions on file size, for under $60 per year. I've been using CrashPlan for a while, it backs up my entire system (several TBs) and I never even have to touch it, unless I want to restore something.

Does this include backup of external drives as well? Or just the computer hard drive?

I also includes external HDDs. I've backed up my computer and several external drives with Crashplan.

Whatever you want it to back up, external or internal. I just renewed my subscription at just $60 a year and I have about 1.5TB of RAW files in it. Never had any issues

All great info, this is a very informative thread. Thank you Daniel, Matthew, Tim, and all. Looks like prices are getting cheap enough for me to do this. My concern is that after backing all my stuff up, the company will go out of business, then what do I do? I remember digitalrailroad and the panic there was with it.

I've been using Crashplan for awhile now and I have to agree. If you are concerned about your initial backup size, you can get them to ship an external drive to seed your first backup with, then you ship it back and they sync it up. Highly recommended.

CrashPlan is awesome, another possibility is BlackBlaze, I use them.

I'm using also Crashplan for a while know and it's fantastic. I'm from Europe so my upload speeds are not that high to them, but it's fast enough and once the main backup is done it isn't really a problem. Their download speeds are also not that fast, but it's fast enough for the price they ask for and it's perfect as the worst case backup if anything else breaks. They've also an iOS and Android app to access the files from mobile.

I use Backblaze, but you could also use Crashplan. I am paying $95 for 2 years at Backblaze.
I have more than 2.5 TB uploaded.

I've been using Carbonite. $59/yr unlimited. Automatic backup of pictures, documents, music. Manual backup of videos and files over 4GB.

Larry Clay's picture

I switched from Carbonite to Crashplan because for $59 Carbonite does not allow backing up external drives.

Bitcasa is the best. It is unlimited, it is cheaper, it works just like your typical external. HDD. i love it.

I use bitcasa to backup all my machines they ofer unlimited storage too for 100/year
after a year and 4TB i would recommand it definatly

I've been using Zenfolio since 2007. I have mine split into a public section that I use for my website and a private section that I use as a backup for all of my finished JPG files. I also use Crashplan as a backup for ALL of my files (docs, RAW files, Lightroom catalog files, etc). Crashplan has unlimited storage for $60/year.

My workflow leaves me with RAW files on my internal drive, RAW files backed up to an external drive and to Crashplan, and finished JPG files backed up to Zenfolio.

I use Livedrive Backup and Briefcase. Cost me £135 a year, backs up all my computers. Currently have 9.8TB in there.

bitcasa, unlimited 99/yr

I find MediaFire another very interesting option for those looking for cloud storage: http://mediafire.com

Interesting as I also came across another solution that offers unlimited storage for 30$ a year and is said on the first page that is customized for photographers with RAW images support here is the website , it is really worth checking: www.zoolz.com

also the link isn't working to Zenfolio?

I user http://www.carbonite.com/online-backup/pricing-plans
Home (1 computer) installed on my server. No limit on file size and unlimit storage size ;)

I have to admit I never knew there were that many services, I have been uploading JPEGS to smugmug knowing damn well this was not a great option. Thanks to all for the names of various sites, brilliant!!!

Zenfolio seems not suitable for your needs (no RAW support?) and expensive. It's a poor decision to pay *double* for a limited backup service that won't allow every file. You can use CrashPlan for half the price with no limitations.

This is great to know about! Thanks so much for listing these alternatives everyone! I was looking into this last month and I really struggled to find good affordable backup options. I've been using zenfolio for a few years, but it's just not convenient as storage. I'm definitely going to look into these other options!

I'm another satisfied Crashplan user. I use it to backup about 2 TB which includes two external hard drives. In addition to restoring two failed external drives in the last year, last week I was able to recover an earlier state (four weeks earlier) of my Adobe Creative Cloud sync folder that Adobe had mangled and actually erased files from. (Adobe promised to try to restore my files a week ago but I've heard nothing since then.) Also with Crashplan, you can download any file(s) to your mobile device. Crashplan will simultaneously backup to their servers and to a local drive if you like. $60 a year. Very easy decision.

Matt Rennells's picture

Personally I use Zenfolio for my website and print ordering (I'm about 3 hours from one of their printing locations, so they cheapest ship option (USPS) is next day delivery, they also have a pretty good Android app that allows you to have ALL of your photos available to you on the go, almost instantly (private and public folders). Really nice when discussing options with a client to be able to pull up a similar concept/idea/photo and go over things.

What ! $120 per year! That's way too expensive. Being a professional photographer myself and needing the RAW file support and thumbs I can tell you from experience that Zoolz unlimited delivers what its supposed to with less than 1/3 the price with 30$/year !! Here is link : www.zoolz.com

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Ray King's picture

Im still looking for a solution to back up my raws. I have 2 tb on external drives. I signed up for backblaze. works very well. but I would like to be able to look thru my images on ipad/iphone. backblaze does not offer way to browse images very well.

Any ideas?