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Picturelife update: I’ve now moved everything to my own S3 bucket

Thank you for all the emails and comments I’ve had from readers berating me for being so stupid. It’s in reaction to this post: I’ve got 200gb of photos on Picturelife and they’re not backed up: Am I nuts?

The overwhelming view is yes. Yes I am nuts, especially when we’re talking about irreplaceable photo (and video) memories. 

I engaged the Picturelife customer support team about the possibility of them offering a dual backup option where my data is stored in their huge Amazon bucket and also ‘backed up’ or duplicated via another bucket or service. 

It’s something they’ve said they’re going to look into. This is good news. I don’t want to have to manage my own 300gb photo data store myself, but I do want to ensure I’ve taken the right approach for protection. I really don’t subscribe to the view that I need to have the data physically located in my house, on my own computer. Absolutely not. I want it managed by someone who knows what they’re doing.

But yes, dear reader, I recognise I have been flying by the seat of my pants depending on Picturelife alone. I don’t even think the team at Picturelife would like to be responsible — exclusively — for my data. 

So I’ve moved everything to my own Amazon S3 bucket that Picturelife is still interfacing with. Here’s the status: 

Screenshot 2013 12 18 09 06 44

I’m not sure what happened to those 2 outstanding files. I’ll sort them out shortly. 

So I now have direct control of the data. And I can get it downloaded and backed up.

I still remain a Picturelife user and I’m hopeful they’ll implement an addition to the service shortly to guarantee backup. 


  1. I don’t think there was any need for you to stop PictureLife being a store for this data (and the primary day-to-day one for your use through their service) but in this case using your own S3 bucket seems the only practical way for you to extract this data from the cloud in one convenient go.

    The trick now will be not to rely exclusively on Amazon-based storage for your other back-ups. Also, although you don’t want all this data actually stored on your computer, sticking it on a large hard disk and keeping that somewhere safe would mean you could get all the kids’ pictures at the speed you needed them if the cloud (or your internet) were to fail at a critical time.

    My strategy is to have a local copy, a cloud copy and a copy in a specialist cloud backup service. It’s not a full ‘321’ but it’s a reasonable balance of risk and convenience for me. My aim next is to get my local copy off a dumb disk and onto a NAS / home server that does the cloud backups continuously and makes it easier to backup secondary / spare laptops.

  2. I’m thinking of moving my photo collection onto Amazon S3. I’m curious, how much is it costing you for the amazon s3 bucket in comparison to a subscription with picturelife? Are you only using the Amazon S3 bucket with picturelife, or are you using those photos elsewhere as well?

  3. I was paying $4 per month for my various amazon s3 buckets. Them I made the picturelife one and did the transfer. Now paying $23. So $19 charge to me for picturelife … But I only paid $15 with picturelife directly.

  4. I’m curious what the file structure looks like when it moves to S3? Is it organized in any way?

  5. Would it not be simpler (and less expensive) to have Picturelife manage your S3 storage and use a proper backup solution for off-site synchronous backup of your local copy?

  6. I’m thinking of doing the same. I love PictureLife, and am happy to pay for the service rather than have my own S3 bucket and use it for free, but I want to be able to sync changes I make to photos in any timeframe, rather than needing to re-download an entire month (which is the ‘standard’ way of doing it if PictureLife host the files). At least with S3, I could arrange to sync the differences to my local PC for a home-based backup.


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