I remember carefully planning to store my photos for the long run ten years ago. I must have burned a lot of 700MB CDs, something that puts a nostalgic smile on my face right now. Back then, you didn't really think the good old Compact Disc was going to slowly fade away. Well it did, and then the DVD did and now the future doesn't look so good for external drives and USB key chains either.
It's not even a debate about the future anymore because all you need to do is look around to see that everybody's trying to build a slimmer laptop, with a better looking design and a lot less weight added by bulky hard drives. We have entered the era of the cloud for some time now and like every major evolution, it has its stages.
We are now in front of a new landmark, as Amazon recently announced two new Cloud Drive Plans that target photographers, videographers and just about any other professional who has to deal with large files.
Unlimited Photos and Unlimited Everything are going to change the standards of storage affordability. Other storage providers like Google, Dropbox and Microsoft currently offer 1 TB of space for a cost between $84 and $100.
The Unlimited Photos Plan from Amazon now allows you to store an infinite number of photos in Cloud Drive. That's right, you can forget about numbers and gigabyte calculations. All the photos you take with your camera, phone or other device can now be stored for, wait for it...$11.99/year. I believe further comments aren't necessary. The service supports most popular RAW formats and obviously the almighty JPG.
But let's say you're into video as well. If you are, the issue of space is probably a little more pressing, especially if you're shooting uncompressed footage. The Unlimited Plan will let you store an unlimited amount of data, that means all the raw, uncut footage you can handle and just about everything else, for as little as $59.99/year.
By all means, this should be the definition of a bargain. There is a 3 month free trial for each plan, so in case you don't find it useful, you don't have to pay anything.
There's one thing that I believe needs to be made clear for everyone. We are not recommending anyone to copy everything into the cloud and sell their bulky external hard drives. Those are probably still going to be around for many years in one shape or another and from a pro's perspective, working from a fast hard drive is the way to go. Cloud services like Amazon's are there to help professionals back up their work and to give them the possibility of accessing it from anywhere. As far as regular needs go, I would definitely save physical space and move my personal and family photos on this cloud. It's just safer and a lot easier to access.