How to Backup a Camera’s Photos & Videos to Dropbox Using an iPad

Do you bring your iPad and digital camera with you when you go on vacation? If so, you can easily upload your photos and videos to cloud services for easy sharing and safe keeping using your iPad.

Our favorite cloud service is Dropbox.

What is Dropbox?

Dropbox is a cloud-based file storage service. What that means is that anything that you upload to Dropbox will automatically be available for access on your phone, tablet or computer.

Dropbox provides you with 2 GB of space for free upon signup. But before you go signing up on your own, know that signing up using our link or a friend’s referral link will provide you with an extra 500 MB of free space. But the free space doesn’t stop there…

How to Get Even More Free Space at Dropbox *:

At the date of writing this post, in addition to the 2 GB of space you get upon signup, Dropbox will give you extra storage space for free by doing any of the following:

  • Signup Using a Referral Link (as mentioned above)= 500 MB
  • Upload 2.5 GB of Photos Using the Camera Upload Feature in the iOS app = 3 GB
  • Refer Friends to Dropbox = 500 MB per referral – Earn up to 16 GB!
  • Complete the Getting Started Guide (Simple Tasks) = 250 MB
  • Connect Your Facebook Account = 125 MB
  • Connect Your Twitter Account = 125 MB
  • Follow Dropbox on Twitter = 125 MB
  • Tweet about your Love of Dropbox = 125 MB
  • Fill Out a Box Saying Why You Love Dropbox = 125 MB

Totaled, there is a potential for more than 22 GB of free space! 

*Offers may end or change depending on Dropbox terms at time of signup.”

Paid Plans Are Also Available:

  • 100GB - $9.99 / mo or $99.00 per year.
  • 200GB - $19.99 / mo or $199.00 per year.
  • 500GB - 49.99 / mo or $499.00 per year.

If you are going on a vacation that lasts less than a month, having 100GB available to store photos and videos for $9.99 is a great deal. As soon as you return from your vacation you can just download everything to your computer and cancel the service before the next month is billed.

Why We Love Dropbox:

  • Safety – Upload Images / Video to the Cloud - If you lose your memory cards or they get stolen while you are on vacation, you don’t have to worry about losing all of your precious vacation photos and videos. All the media from your last upload will be safely stored on Dropbox’s servers.
  • Easy Sharing - You can setup folders to organize your photos and videos. You can then email your friends and family links to view specific photos. Photos and video will open right up in an online viewer on Dropbox.com. Family and friends also have the option of viewing the images at original size or downloading the media to their hard drives to save.
  • Less Memory Cards - Uploading your media to Dropbox allows you to free up space on your SD card. This gives you more memory to store new pictures and videos (make this a nightly routine and you can start each day with little fear of running out of camera memory). You can even have a friend or family member login to your Dropbox account each day from a computer and download all the photos and videos that you uploaded. They can then delete the files off your dropbox, thus providing you with space to upload more photos and videos.

How to Transfer Photos and Video From Your Camera to Dropbox Using Your iPad:

What you need:

  • Internet connection (preferably WiFi, as uploading images and video will eat up your cellular data).
  • Apple Camera Connection Kit (If using an iPad 4+ or iPad mini you will require a Lightning to 30-pin connector adapter) or a Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader.
  • Dropbox account with the Dropbox app installed on the iPad.

Dropbox (AppStore Link) Dropbox
Developer: Dropbox, Inc.
Rated: 4+Price: free

Download App | iTunes Link

If Shooting Images in RAW File Format:

Please note: At the time of writing this post, you can only upload JPG / JPEG images and video to Dropbox using their own mobile app. If you shoot in RAW file format or JPEG+RAW, you will need to use an app that supports RAW file upload to Dropbox. The two best apps we have found are CameraSync and PhotoSync. These apps will also connect to a myriad of other cloud services.

CameraSync supports the following services: Dropbox, SkyDrive, an FTP server, Amazon S3 bucket, Flickr account or Box.net.

CameraSync (AppStore Link) CameraSync
Developer: Homegrown Software Ltd
Rated: 4+Price: $2.99

Download App | iTunes Link

PhotoSync supports Dropbox, Facebook, Google+/Picasa, 500px, Flickr, SmugMug, Zenfolio, WebDAV, FTP/SFTP, SkyDrive and Google Drive.

PhotoSync - wirelessly transfers your photos and videos (AppStore Link) PhotoSync - wirelessly transfers your photos and videos
Developer: touchbyte GmbH
Rated: 4+Price: $2.99

Download App | iTunes Link

Get The Images and Video Onto the iPad:

The first step is to get all the images from your camera’s SD card into your iPad. Hopefully you have enough free space on your iPad to hold your photos temporarily. To get the photos off your camera and into your iPad you can use Apple’s Camera Connection Kit or a Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader (compatible with iPad 4+ and iPad Mini). The kit comes with two dongles so that you have two options for getting your media on your iPad. The dongle shown on the left in the photo below allows you to plug a mini USB cable directly from your camera into the dongle. The dongle on the right allows an SD card to be inserted into it. Once your camera is connected via the mini USB cable — or you have inserted the SD card — plug the dongle into the 30 pin connector on the bottom of the iPad.

Camera Connection Kit

Once the dongle is connected to the iPad, a screen should appear that displays thumbnail images of the photos that were taken. For those using the mini USB dongle, be sure that you turn your camera on or it will not work.

Choose Photo to Upload to iPad

If you want to copy all the photos to your iPad, just click the “import all” button. If you only want to copy specific photos, tap on the photos you want to copy to select them (a blue circle with a checkmark is placed in the bottom corner of those thumbnails) and then click on “import” and then “import selected.” The blue circle will turn into a progress circle to indicate the files are being transferred. After the photos have been transferred the circles will become green.

Delete the Images and Videos Off Your SD Card (Optional):

Delete Uploaded Photos on Camera

Once all the photos have been copied onto your iPad, a popup displays asking if you would like to keep the photos on your SD card or delete them. Deleting the pictures off the card will free up the space on the card. Once the images have been removed from your SD card you can remove the dongle from the iPad and power off your camera if using the mini USB cable.

Connect to Dropbox:

Launch the Dropbox app. You will be asked to login to your Dropbox account.

Dropbox Welcome Screen

You will then be asked if you want camera upload to work over WiFi only or WiFi and 3G / 4G cellular connection. I suggest selecting only WiFi if you plan on uploading more than just a few images or short videos.

Dropbox iPad Camera Uploads

Once you make your choice, hit the enable button and Dropbox will begin uploading all of the photos that you have in your camera roll folder (where photos go when you take pictures using the iPad’s built-in camera) to Dropbox.

Upload the Imported Photos and Videos to Dropbox:

Navigate to the folder that you want to upload your photos to. You can also create a new folder by hitting the plus sign icon. Once you are in the folder you want the photos to be in, touch the plus sign icon and then the “Upload Here” button.

Choose Dropbox Upload Folder

Select the “Last Import” folder in the window that pops up. Thumbnail images of all the photos that you had just transferred to your iPad will display. Touch each of the photos so that there is a blue box in the upper right of each one. Then click the “Upload” button.

Select Photos to Upload

All of the photos and videos that you selected will be uploaded to Dropbox.

Dropbox Photo Upload Screen

Share the Photos and Videos with Friends and Family:

Share Photos in Dropbox App

Once the photos and videos have uploaded, you can select individual photos or videos that you would like to share with friends and family. They will be able to view the media on the Dropbox website and have the ability to view a photo full size and to download it. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to share a link to an entire folder from within the Dropbox app like you can do when using the Dropbox website.

Delete the Uploaded Photos and Videos from Your iPad (Optional):

Once you have verified that the photos and videos have uploaded to Dropbox, you can go into Apple’s photos app and delete the photos and videos from your iPad to make space to upload more media.

Have a Friend Connect to Your Dropbox Account Using a PC / Mac and Download Your Media (Optional):

If you take lots of images and video while on vacation, I suggest providing your Dropbox info to a trusted family member or friend so that they can login to your account each day via a PC or Mac to select and download all of your uploaded media. Once downloaded, they can delete everything you uploaded to Dropbox so that you have space to upload more media while on your vacation. They can also share a link to a folder containing all your media with other friends or family on your behalf – something you can’t currently do using the Dropbox mobile app.

Dropbox Web Browser Screen-shot

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