A Complete Guide to Storing Photos in the Cloud - Digital Imaging Reporter (2023)

A Complete Guide to Storing Photos in the Cloud - Digital Imaging Reporter (1)

For photographers in the digital age, one of the most pressing questions is: Where should I store my image files? A big, multi-terabyte external hard drive sitting on a desk next to the computer is a good start. However, what if there’s a burglary, fire or other catastrophe? What if the drive fails, as they sometimes do, and your customers can’t retrieve their data? Enter the cloud.

Every photographer who cares about safely archiving and accessing their photos needs a department of redundancy. Choosing a cloud storage service, where consumers upload images to a remote device somewhere else, is a good way to safeguard—as well as share—images. Along with a local hard drive, it becomes a backup to the backup, and photographers can sleep better. Bonus: Most services let members remotely access their photos via a mobile device. In addition, suggesting a cloud storage service to your customers is a good way for you to build relationships with them. And it is just one more way you can show your expertise as a photo specialty dealer.

What to Look for in Cloud Photo Storage

Here are some factors you and your customers should look for when considering cloud photo storage options.

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Cost vs. Storage. Paid services generally provide more generous storage options, from a TB or two to unlimited storage. These are better for professionals and serious amateurs who take a lot of pictures and work with larger picture files. Free services are best for more casual users.

Does the service support your file formats? All services support JPEG images; some accept GIFs and fewer take RAW. Some services will automatically downsize images to fit on the server; others will downsize images when they are downloaded.

Is it secure? Does the service offer the ability to limit who sees the photos, or are they always public? Can images be password protected?

Other features can include business-oriented functions; integration with online photo labs; the ability to create a homepage gallery; in-app image editing; a desktop software package; and options for pro photographers to sell photos to their clients with adjustable markups.

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A Dozen Cloud Image Services

Here are 12 cloud image storage services that we’ve found that could be right for your customers.

Apple iCloud

URL: apple.com/icloud
Cost: Free for the first 5GB; $0.99/month for 500GB; $2.99/month for 200GB; $9.99/month for 2TB.
Mobile Friendly: Yes; it’s built into every Apple device. Moreover, users can share files with non-Apple users.
Image Format Support: RAW, JPEG, HEIF, GIF, TIFF.
Security: Two-factor authentication; automatic backups.
Who’s It For? Amateurs and professionals.
What Else You Should Know: iCloud is a great option for smartphone photos, but limited space options make it less desirable for DSLR files. Setup is easy (and if they’re having trouble, your customers can bring their devices to the Apple Store Genius Bar). However, it’s not recommended for RAW storage.

Adobe Creative Cloud

URL: adobe.com/creativecloud.html
Cost: Plans start at $9.99/month for a basic plan with 20GB, ranging up to $82.98, including a full suite of 20 desktop and mobile apps. Storage is available up to 10TB at $9.99/month per terabyte.
Mobile Friendly: Yes.
Image Format Support: Anything that Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom can handle.
Security: Adobe says it’s very secure.
Who’s It For? Creative professionals.
What Else You Should Know: Creative Cloud offers professionals a powerful suite of tools built around the CC 2018 release of desktop products. It also allows them to publish an online portfolio and to showcase their work on Behance, an online gallery for creative projects.

Amazon Drive

URL: amazon.com/amazondrive
Cost: 5GB free; 100GB for $11.95/year; 1TB storage for $59.99/year.
Mobile Friendly: Yes; it backs up photos from a phone.
Image Format Support: JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF, most TIFF, HEIF, HEVC, RAW.
Security: Yes.
Who’s It For? Amazon Prime subscribers; not for commercial users.
What Else You Should Know: You must be an Amazon Prime subscriber to get Amazon Drive. Moreover, when uploading images larger than 2GB, it requires a download of the Amazon Drive Desktop app rather than uploading images through their web platform. Bonus: AI feature identifies objects in photos so members can more easily locate images based on content.

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Canon Irista

URL: irista.com
Cost: First 15GB are free; $225/month for 100GB; $7.99/month for 500GB. Up to $129.99/month for 10TB.
Mobile Friendly: Yes, for all devices.
Image Format Support: RAW and JPEG.
Security: “Bank-level” security.
Who’s It For? Professional and amateur photographers.
What Else You Should Know: Irista offers compression-free storage. It also seamlessly ties into Canon’s photo printing services. Collaborative albums are also possible. Moreover, object-oriented AI-based photo search is available.

Dropbox

URL: dropbox.com
Cost: First 2GB are free, and members can increase that by 500MB by signing up a friend. 1TB for $8.25/month; 2TB for $16.58/month.
Mobile Friendly: Users can view photos and navigate files via a mobile app.
Image Format Support: It supports all file formats.
Security: Only with paid plans.
Who’s It For? Professionals and advanced amateurs.
What Else You Should Know: Direct upload from a camera is possible. Also, sharing files is easy, even if the other person is not a subscriber. Moreover, it is ideal for professionals doing business-to-business photo sharing.

Flickr

URL: flickr.com
Cost: Free up to 1TB; ad-free; Pro accounts are $4.17/month for ad-free, backup, auto uploader, advanced statistics and discounts on other services.
Mobile Friendly: Yes; apps for Android and iOS.
Image Format Support: JPEG, PNG, GIF.
Security: Privacy options, viewing permissions and guest passes are also available.
Who’s It For? Snapshooters, enthusiasts and professionals.
What Else You Should Know: The maximum photo size is 200MB; RAW files will be converted to JPEGs. In addition, photo printing services are offered through the website/app.

Google Drive

URL: google.com/drive
Cost: First 15GB are free; increased storage starts at $1.99/month for 100GB, up to $300/month for 30TB. 2TB at $9.99/month looks like the best value.
Mobile Friendly: Yes; in-app editing.
Image Format Support: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP.
Security: All files are private unless shared.
Who’s It For? Everyone who has a Google/Gmail account.
What Else You Should Know: It does not support RAW image files. Also, it downsizes archived photos; full resolution quickly eats up the 15GB free limit. Moreover, photo printing is available through the app or desktop.

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Instagram

URL: instagram.com
Cost: Free; advertiser supported. Unlimited storage.
Mobile Friendly: Yes; a full suite of editing functions.
Image Format Support: JPEG, PNG; however, no RAW.
Security: Password protected. All posts are public unless set to private so only a member’s followers will see the photos.
Who’s It For? Snapshooters, hobbyists, professionals, also people promoting their business visually.
What Else You Should Know: Instagram is best for photos taken with a smartphone’s camera. Members also can share photos on Instagram via a smartphone from other sharing services, such as Dropbox. However, they cannot share files to Instagram from their desktop except with third-party software, and the photos are funky.

Nikon Image Space

URL: nikonimagespace.com
Cost: Free; 2GB storage for all; 20GB for Nikon camera owners.
Mobile Friendly: Yes; apps for iOS and Android.
Image Format Support: JPEG, RAW (NEF, NRW), TIFF.
Security: Users can control who sees images.
Who’s It For? Anyone, however, Nikon camera owners get more perks.
What Else You Should Know: It is designed primarily to promote engagement among Nikon users; it also tracks the number of views and “wows” for each photo. Moreover, it provides EXIF image exposure info if wanted. In addition, members can zoom in on images. It also shows locations, lets users title photos and accepts viewer comments.

pCloud

URL: pcloud.com
Cost: 10GB free storage upon sign up; 500GB, $175/lifetime; 2TB, $350/lifetime; one-time payment. Monthly plans at $4.99 and $9.99/month, respectively.
Mobile Friendly: Yes. Mac/PC access and setup; syncs with all devices.
Image Format Support: Mostly all formats.
Security: They’re big on encryption and redundancy: “five copies of files on different servers.”
Who’s It For? Consumers and businesses.
What Else You Should Know: They offer a unique Lifetime package, which may be valuable for long-term storage.

Shutterfly

URL: shutterfly.com
Cost: Free, unlimited storage.
Mobile Friendly: Yes; apps for Android and iOS.
Image Format Support: JPEG only, in RGB color space.
Security: Viewing permissions for visitors and members can be edited.
Who’s It For? Consumers.
What Else You Should Know: Shutterfly storage integrates into a popular online printing service. In addition, there is no limit to image size, but image files will be downsized to 2MP when downloaded.

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SmugMug

URL: smugmug.com
Cost: $3.99–$29.99/month. All plans offer unlimited storage; pricier plans are geared toward the needs of professional photographers.
Mobile Friendly: Yes; apps for iOS and Android.
Image Format Support: JPEG, GIF, PNG up to 150MB/210MP; larger files will be compressed automatically.
Security: Users can set permissions as well as access photos on a gallery-by-gallery basis.
Who’s It For? Memory keepers, enthusiasts and professional photographers.
What Else You Should Know: SmugMug is ideal for photographers who want to put their portfolios online. It also provides templates. Print and photo products (such as photo mugs, T-shirts, etc.) also can be ordered through one of SmugMug’s partner photo labs. Moreover, pros can markup print costs.

FAQs

What is the best way to store photos in the cloud? ›

Google Photos is a great photo cloud storage solution, especially if you only want to store photos and videos. You get unlimited photo storage on Google Photos for high-resolution pictures. You can store videos with resolutions that go up to 1080p.

How do professional photographers store their photos? ›

Ahead, professional photographers share their top tips for doing all of that, without losing your memories or your mind.
  • Backup images on the cloud.
  • Stock up on memory cards and external hard drives.
  • Use your editing software for backup and organization.
  • Invest in a network-attached storage device.
May 6, 2019

Where is the best place to store photos digitally? ›

10 best online photo storage options in 2021 The best options for keeping your photos safe and backed up - and shareable
  1. Dropbox. ...
  2. Amazon Photos. ...
  3. Google Photos. ...
  4. iCloud Photos. ...
  5. Smug Mug. ...
  6. Photobucket. ...
  7. Flickr. ...
  8. Pixpa.
Jul 29, 2021

Where is the safest place to store digital photos? ›

The best photo storage and sharing sites today
  1. Flickr. The best photo storage service overall. ...
  2. 500px. Photo storage for pro photographers. ...
  3. Google Photos. The best photo storage option for backing up photos from your smartphone. ...
  4. Amazon Prime Photos. ...
  5. Apple iCloud. ...
  6. Adobe Portfolio. ...
  7. ImageShack. ...
  8. Photobucket.
Sep 27, 2022

How can I store thousands of photos? ›

If you want to store a stack of photos, layer them between sheets of acid free paper in a metal box. If you use a cardboard box, make sure it's acid-free. You can also store the layered photos in a cabinet, closet, under the bed, or in this clever Bookcase of Secrets.

What cloud storage do photographers use? ›

OneDrive cloud storage for photos is an outstanding choice to the photographers. As You can easily use it to synchronize your photographs on various types of devices. Also, if you are a Windows 10 user, then you can use it without downloading any extra app as it is incorporated with its file explorer.

What do I do with all my digital photos? ›

What to do with your digital photos? Tons of fantastic ideas
  1. PRINTING SERVICES. The easiest way to get them off your camera is the most obvious—print them. ...
  2. PHOTO BOOKS. ...
  3. SLIDE SHOWS AND VIDEOS. ...
  4. PHOTO WRAPPING PAPER. ...
  5. CUSTOM PHOTO CASES. ...
  6. PHOTO JEWELRY. ...
  7. UNIQUE PHOTO GIFTS.
Jan 16, 2014

What is the best photo storage device? ›

Best External Hard Drive for Photos (Top 13)
  • Seagate Backup Plus Hub. ...
  • Transcend StoreJet M3. ...
  • WD My Passport SSD. ...
  • iStorage diskAshur 2. ...
  • LaCie Rugged Raid Pro. ...
  • Sandisk Professional G-Drive SSD. Storage Capacity: 500GB to 4TB. ...
  • G-Technology G-Drive. Storage Capacity: 4 to18 TB. ...
  • LaCie Rugged Mini. Storage Capacity: 2 TB.

What is the best long term storage for digital photos? ›

Store Photos to the Cloud Drive

If you want to avoid your digital photos from any physical damage and store them for the long term, we recommend you save your images on cloud storage. Cloud storage is currently one of the most popular storage options. Commonly uploading files to the cloud from the system is very easy.

How do I organize my digital photos? ›

Best Way to Organize Photos in 2022
  1. Gather All of Your Files into One Location. ...
  2. Create a Folder Structure. ...
  3. Decide on a System and Rename Your Files. ...
  4. Check for Photo Duplicates. ...
  5. Cull Your Unwanted Photos. ...
  6. Convert Your Non-Digital Photographs. ...
  7. Use Dedicated Software to Manage Your Digital Photos. ...
  8. Use an External Hard Drive.

How do you organize years of photos? ›

Start by sorting the photos chronologically. Any other sorting option is just too confusing and crazy-making. Think big picture by dividing first into two piles according to century. Next sort each pile by decade—even if that requires a wild guess—and so on until you have them in general order.

Will Google Photos delete my photos? ›

If you delete a photo or video that's backed up in Google Photos, it will stay in your trash for 60 days. If you delete an item from your Android 11 and up device without it being backed up, it will stay in your trash for 30 days.

What is the best free cloud storage for photos? ›

The Best Free Photo Storage Apps
  1. Dropbox. iOS and Android. Free (up to 2 GB) ...
  2. Google Photos. iOS and Android. Free. ...
  3. iCloud. Accessible with Apple ID. Free (5 GB) ...
  4. Internxt Photos. iOS and Android. Free (10 GB) ...
  5. pCloud. iOS and Android. ...
  6. Flickr. iOS and Android. ...
  7. Amazon (Prime) Photos. iOS and Android. ...
  8. Microsoft OneDrive. iOS and Android.

Are ZipLoc bags safe for photos? ›

ZipLoc bags are indeed low-density polyethylene. The drawback is that they have an inner coating of Butylated Hydroxy Toluene which will damage the photographs if they are stored in there long term. There are a couple of options that are low-cost and will depend on how many bags you need.

What kind of photo album is best for old photos? ›

Old photos should not be stored on photo pages with adhesives. Instead, store fragile photos on paper that's free from acid and lignin. A photo album that features PVC-free pocket pages intended for long-term storage without damaging the photos is an ideal choice.

How do I organize my 30 years of digital photos? ›

Lost in the Shuffle: Keeping Your Digital Photos Stored and Organized for Good
  1. Name Your Photos. ...
  2. Use Folders (and Subfolders… and Sub-Subfolders) ...
  3. Identify Photos by Their Attributes. ...
  4. Use Favorites, but Use Them Wisely. ...
  5. Don't Fear the Delete Button. ...
  6. Create a Central Hub. ...
  7. Invest in a Quality External Hard Drive.
Sep 4, 2019

What is the cheapest way to store photos? ›

IDrive tops our ranking thanks to great features and a fair pricing structure. It's available on Windows, macOS, and smartphones and tablets running Android or iOS (and iPadOS), and offers a cost-effective, efficient way to store photos, with annual plans starting at $79.50.

Does Google Photos store photos forever? ›

Google Photos comes with free, unlimited storage — but that's only if you opt to save "high quality" images, as opposed to original quality images which may actually be higher resolution. That means those larger files will be compressed to save space, unless your account's settings say otherwise.

Which cloud storage is safest? ›

The following are the list of most secure cloud storage of 2021:
  • IDrive.
  • pCloud.
  • Sync.com.
  • Microsoft OneDrive.
  • Google Drive.
  • Egnyte Connect.
  • MEGA.
  • Tresorit.
Mar 3, 2021

What can I do with thousands of family photos? ›

What To Do With Old Photo Albums: 11 Ideas
  1. Preserve And Restore Your Photos For Future Generations. ...
  2. Donate Your Photo Album To Historical Societies Or Local Museums. ...
  3. Find A Scanning Service And Make A Photo Book. ...
  4. Add Documents, Captions, And Old Letters For Context. ...
  5. Display Your Favorite Photos In Your House.
Sep 17, 2022

How many photos can be stored on a 2tb hard drive? ›

How much can you pack onto a 2 TB drive? About 34,000 hours of MP3s, 80 days worth of video, 620,000 photos, 1,000 of high-definition movies.

How many photos can be stored on 1tb? ›

One terabyte gives you the option of storing roughly: 250,000 photos taken with a 12MP camera; 250 movies or 500 hours of HD video; or. 6.5 million document pages, commonly stored as Office files, PDFs, and presentations.

What is the difference between a flash drive and a photo stick? ›

The biggest difference is the data transfer port. Usually, there is only one USB-A port for connecting the USB flash drive and computers. While for a photo stick, there are at least two ports with one for connecting the photo stick to a mobile phone and the other for connecting the photo stick to a computer.

How long does a USB drive last? ›

Although many manufacturers provide an estimated lifespan for their devices (typically 10 years), this value is an estimate based on an average user's yearly write/erase cycles. Using a drive less frequently than these assumed values may result in the drives lasting longer than 10 years.

Is Google Photos better than iCloud? ›

Unlike iCloud, Google Photos allows users to edit directly from the cloud, and the features are more advanced. In all, Google Photos is better compared to iCloud in terms of editing photos, as it offers more advanced editing features.

How do you organize hundreds of old photos? ›

How to organize old photos
  1. Clarify the "why" of why you're doing this. ...
  2. Start with physical photos first, apply what you learn to your digital library. ...
  3. Get all of the photos in one place. ...
  4. Sort chronologically, by person, or by theme. ...
  5. Finally, sort into 3 subcategories, and put the winners into your album.
May 26, 2020

How do I scan and organize old photos? ›

1. Organize before you digitize.
  1. Group the photos by events and people. Sort pictures into events such as vacations, weddings, and birthdays. ...
  2. Separate duplicates. Place duplicates in separate piles so you don't end up scanning the same image twice.
  3. Sort each pile by date. ...
  4. Pick what to digitize.
May 4, 2017

How do I digitize old photo albums? ›

If you want to convert your photos to digital copies at home, the best way to scan photos is by using a flatbed scanner. They are much less likely to damage your photos. They're also compact and will generally only require an ordinary laptop or computer to function.

What is the best long term storage for digital photos? ›

Store Photos to the Cloud Drive

If you want to avoid your digital photos from any physical damage and store them for the long term, we recommend you save your images on cloud storage. Cloud storage is currently one of the most popular storage options. Commonly uploading files to the cloud from the system is very easy.

Is Google photos better than iCloud? ›

Unlike iCloud, Google Photos allows users to edit directly from the cloud, and the features are more advanced. In all, Google Photos is better compared to iCloud in terms of editing photos, as it offers more advanced editing features.

What is the best free cloud storage for photos? ›

The Best Free Photo Storage Apps
  1. Dropbox. iOS and Android. Free (up to 2 GB) ...
  2. Google Photos. iOS and Android. Free. ...
  3. iCloud. Accessible with Apple ID. Free (5 GB) ...
  4. Internxt Photos. iOS and Android. Free (10 GB) ...
  5. pCloud. iOS and Android. ...
  6. Flickr. iOS and Android. ...
  7. Amazon (Prime) Photos. iOS and Android. ...
  8. Microsoft OneDrive. iOS and Android.

How do I organize my digital photos? ›

Best Way to Organize Photos in 2022
  1. Gather All of Your Files into One Location. ...
  2. Create a Folder Structure. ...
  3. Decide on a System and Rename Your Files. ...
  4. Check for Photo Duplicates. ...
  5. Cull Your Unwanted Photos. ...
  6. Convert Your Non-Digital Photographs. ...
  7. Use Dedicated Software to Manage Your Digital Photos. ...
  8. Use an External Hard Drive.

How do you organize years of photos? ›

Start by sorting the photos chronologically. Any other sorting option is just too confusing and crazy-making. Think big picture by dividing first into two piles according to century. Next sort each pile by decade—even if that requires a wild guess—and so on until you have them in general order.

What do I do with all my digital photos? ›

What to do with your digital photos? Tons of fantastic ideas
  1. PRINTING SERVICES. The easiest way to get them off your camera is the most obvious—print them. ...
  2. PHOTO BOOKS. ...
  3. SLIDE SHOWS AND VIDEOS. ...
  4. PHOTO WRAPPING PAPER. ...
  5. CUSTOM PHOTO CASES. ...
  6. PHOTO JEWELRY. ...
  7. UNIQUE PHOTO GIFTS.
Jan 16, 2014

Will Google Photos stay forever? ›

If you delete synced photos from the Google Photos app, it will be deleted from everywhere – your device, the Google Photos app, the Google Photos website, and your file manager app. This will happen even if your Backup & Sync feature is on and whether you're using an Android or iPhone.

Should I use iCloud or Google Drive? ›

iCloud vs Google Drive: Performance

Google Drive is, overall, the more compatible and widely supported of the two platforms. Apps are available for the platform iOS, macOS, iPadOS, Windows, and Android. Google Drive's web app is also the best we've seen.

Is OneDrive better than Google Photos? ›

But Google Photos has advantages of photo editing and cost. However, OneDrive has an advantage over Google Photos in terms of storage formats, which supports more file formats. So, if you not only store photos but also other types of files, we recommend you to choose OneDrive.

What are four 4 risks associated with cloud storage? ›

The 4 Most Common Cloud Storage Security Risks
  • Gaps in Access Control Processes. ...
  • Authentication Weaknesses. ...
  • Unauthorized Use of Cloud Services. ...
  • Incident Response Preparedness.
Feb 18, 2020

Is it safe to store pictures in the cloud? ›

Everything stored in iCloud, including iCloud photos, is securely encrypted in transit and stored with encryption keys. Encryption keys are stored on Apple's servers. Without these encryption keys, files can not be decrypted.

What is the most popular cloud storage? ›

Google Drive tops our list as the best cloud storage service for Android, but our number-one choice for iPhone users is Sync.com. However, most providers offer pretty good smartphone apps.

What is the cheapest way to store photos? ›

IDrive tops our ranking thanks to great features and a fair pricing structure. It's available on Windows, macOS, and smartphones and tablets running Android or iOS (and iPadOS), and offers a cost-effective, efficient way to store photos, with annual plans starting at $79.50.

How do I get 1TB cloud storage for free? ›

How to Get 1TB Free Cloud Storage
  1. CBackup (10GB Free Cloud Storage)
  2. Degoo (100GB Free Cloud Storage)
  3. Mega (50GB Free Cloud Storage)
  4. Blomp (20GB Free Cloud Storage)
  5. Google Drive (15GB Free Cloud Storage)
  6. pCloud (10GB Free Cloud Storage)
  7. IceDrive (10GB Free Cloud Storage)
  8. OneDrive (5GB Free Cloud Storage)

How can I store unlimited photos for free? ›

Verdict: With Google Photos, your computer will automatically back up all your images to your Google account. It's free and offers unlimited photo storage options. However, it has one minus when it comes to the quality of the photos.

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