I’ve had a few emails from Picasa users lately that got me worried. They said that they uploaded some photos to their web albums then deleted them off their computer.
NO! Picasa Web Albums is not a way to backup or store your photos. It is a way to share your photos with others over the Internet. If you want an online storage website, we recommend Carbonite.
Photo size, and file size, is important
When you upload photos to Picasa Web Albums, you should be using a much smaller size than your original photo. My camera is a 6.3 megapixel camera – yours may be more or less. That means a picture taken by my camera at highest resolution will have 6.3 million pixels – the little dots. Usually that’s 3,072 pixels wide by 2048 high. When a photo is displayed on a computer screen (which is the whole purpose of Picasa Web Albums) an 800 by 600 pixel picture looks big.
Most computer monitors are set to 1024 pixels wide, so an 800 wide picture will take up 80% of the screen. I upload my photos at the 1024 pixel setting. This is 1/3 of the pixels in my original photo. This also means the file size is a lot smaller. I have several hundred photos online and I’m only using 60% of my alloted 1Gigabyte of free space.
Deleting your original photo because you have it uploaded to a web album is like throwing away your original Van Gogh painting because you have a copy print.
Even if you upload to Picasa Web Album at full size, it will be compressed, and the result is not as good as your original. If you ever want to print it, you’ll want your original.
Who’s in Control?
But, probably the main point though, is that once you’ve uploaded your pictures to a free website like Picasa Web Albums, things could happen to them beyond your control. I’ve heard of people who had Web Albums that had been tagged as violating the Terms of Service and were then deleted by Google. Even if it’s a mistake, it can take a long time to clear it up. I know other websites that got hacked and the content destroyed. Admittedly, this is unlikely, but if you still had your pictures on your computer, it’s a simple matter of re-uploading them.
So, what is a good procedure?
Here’s what I do:
- Transfer pictures from camera to computer. Keep them all in folders by month.(Member Tutorial Video:Import from Camera)
- Upload just a sampling of the best ones to Picasa Web Albums to share with others.(Member Tutorial Video:Upload Photos to the Web)
- Backup-Copy all photos for each month to a CD (or DVD if CD isn’t big enough) Store CD in a safe place.(Member Tutorial Video:Backup your Photos to CD)
- Each year I move all photos for prior year to external hard drive. This external hard drive is usually connected to my computer – so, when I’m in Picasa I have access to all years.(Member Tutorial Video:Backup to External Hard Drive)
You don’t have to follow that exact procedure – just make sure you follow a procedure that allows you to work with all your pictures, share a few of them, and have a duplicate set of all your originals in case catastrophe hits.
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