Friday, December 21, 2012

photo storage in your Heritage Makers account

"Your photos are life records and a window into the people, places, and events that you and your family hold dear.  They deserve to be shared and celebrated, and the very best way to do that is to publish them in a Heritage Makers project."  ~Heritage Makers team

Earlier this year, Heritage Makers decided to change their photo storage services.  They have to pay their servers for photo storage, and so they had to make a choice:  raise prices across the board to cover the rising cost of photo storage, or revamp the photo storage system and keep prices where they are.  In trying to make the decision, here's what they discovered:

"Heritage Makers is currently archiving 154 Terabytes of data on its servers. That's 154,000 Gigabytes of storage that grows at the rate of 4,000 GB a month, with only 15% ever used in published projects. The storage and maintenance fees associated with such large volumes of photos, coupled with the fact that Club HM members now pay 25-34% less for their publishing, leads to the question, "How do we continue to finance the costs associated with this steadily increasing storage volume?"  We've noticed that clients who have their photos organized and "cleaned up" in Studio find it much easier to create their projects. However, many clients don't take the time to be selective, and end up uploading everything from their camera's memory card. Going forward, our strategy will be to provide a place for you to store and archive the photos you want to preserve and share through creative projects."

Heritage Makers' new photo storage system makes a lot of sense.  Heritage Makers encourages clients to preserve and store their best photos in their Heritage Makers accounts and use them in Heritage Makers projects.  This not only keeps the photos better organized and easier to use (as opposed to dumping all the pictures from your camera--blurry ones, eyes closed, etc.--into your Heritage Makers account), but it also allows Heritage Makers keep their costs down.  Heritage Makers, at its core, is a PUBLISHING company, not a photo storage company.  The idea of only uploading your best photos into your Heritage Makers account brings the focus back to using your cherished photos in beautiful projects to share.

Here are the photo storage allowances for ACTIVE accounts.  (An account is ACTIVE if an order has been published during the last 365 days or if the account has valid publishing points.)

  • BASIC ACCOUNT:  1 GB (approx. 230-550 photos) free unpublished storage allowance and 5 GB (approx. 1900-2500 photos) free published* storage allowance.
  • PREMIER/CLUB HM ACCOUNT:  5 GB (approx. 1900-2500 photos) free unpublished storage allowance, and UNLIMITED free published* storage allowance.

* Unpublished photos are those that you have put in your Heritage Makers account but haven't yet published in a project.  Published photos are those that have been used in a project you have published.

Another important change is that any photo that is used in a Heritage Makers project must always be saved in your Heritage Makers account if you ever want to re-order that project.  Because your projects are saved in your personal account forever, I always recommend not deleting any photo that you have used in a project.  Even if you think you'll never want to re-order the project, you never know if it will be lost, damaged, or destroyed.  Your Heritage Makers account is a safe place to "insure" your projects just in case!  So I would advise that you never delete a photo that you've used in a Heritage Makers project.  If you need to sort through your photos and you decide to delete some to free up more storage, always start with what you haven't used in a project, and ones you won't use (blurry, etc.).    

Either client (Basic or Premier/Club HM) can also purchase additional photo storage for the cost of $12.50 or 25 publishing points per year for each additional 5 GB storage if he/she desires.  (But do remember that PUBLISHED photo storage in a Club HM/Premier account is UNLIMITED!!!)

It is wise to backup photos as you would important documents, and save them in more than one place.  Heritage Makers has been researching this over the past year and is joining forces with another company called Milleniata to now offer PhotoSafe discs to any Heritage Makers client.  You can read more about what makes Milleniata different, how much PhotoSafe discs cost, etc., here:  Be sure to also click on the link to see the PhotoSafe flyer for full information.

If you have questions about photo storage, feel free to call the Heritage Makers home office at 1.866.694.3763.  They will help you with your specific questions.