If you are anything like me, you take a lot of photos. Photos represent our memories. They connect us to places we have visited, people we spent time with and experiences we have had. I love my pictures, but one of my concerns is always that I may lose them. Therefore, it is important to make sure you store your photos safely and that you have a backup in case anything happens to your laptop or hard-drive backup. Nowadays it is easy to store your photos online as there are so many online photo storage sites available.
What to consider with online photo storage sites?
Consider the following factors when reviewing your options for online photo storage:
- Space: Photos can be large, depending on the setting you use and your type of camera. An online photo storage or backup facility should provide enough space for all your photos.
- Quality: When storing or backing up your photos, you don’t want to lose high-resolution aspects of your photos since this may change its appearance.
- Ease of use: Uploading your photos should be easy, preferably automatic since we tend to forget to back our photos up regularly.
- Accessibility: Storing photos by date or tags is ideal. Photos should be searchable and easy to find.
Online photo storage sites
Here are the online photo storage and backup sites that are available:
Google Photos gives users unlimited storage space for high-resolution photos and videos up to 16MP and 1080p HD, respectively. You can access Google Photos from any phone, tablet or computer through the use of the app or the website. Your photos are always available and secure. You can set up albums to share with friends and family who can also add photos to these albums. There are powerful editing tools available on Google Photos.
Google Photos provides a safe backup to all photos on your phone. Once you have backed the photos up in Google Photos, you can remove the photos from your phone, tablet or computer. One of the best features of Google Photos is that both the phone and desktop apps automatically syncs photos on your phone or computer to the cloud.
With Google Photos you have unlimited storage as long as you use Google’s compression setting for photos. Google Photos resize photos above 16 megapixels. You also have the option to store your photos in an uncompressed format. In this case, the first 15 gigabytes are free, but additional storage is available at only $1.99 per month for 100 gigabytes. If you use Google Drive, your contents on the drive and your Gmail content will count toward the storage limits you have.
One of the features I enjoy most about Google Photos is that it shows you photos taken in the past, which is a lovely way to be reminded of the events you experienced in the past.
Dropbox offers a variety of storage plans. It offers a free 2 gigabytes of storage and prices for additional storage goes up to $10 per month for one terabyte. It also rewards free users with additional storage if they complete random tasks, such as enabling the upload feature from their camera or connecting to their Facebook accounts.
Dropbox offers applications for most platforms. These applications can automatically back-up your photos and videos.
Dropbox displays your photos on a timeline you can scroll through. It also offers another application called Carousel that automatically uploads your photos. One of the benefits of Carousel is that it is a sharing tool as it organizes your shared photos into conversations with people you chose to share specific photos with. This can, however, only work if everyone you have shared the photos with also has the Carousel application installed on their devices.
You can share photos in Dropbox with other people, and you can create slideshows to share with friends and family. You can also share files directly with friends or family.
One of the drawbacks of Dropbox is that it does not allow for the tagging of photos, printing or editing. But for backing photos up or storing photos online, Dropbox works well.
Amazon offers unlimited photo storage or backup to its Amazon Prime users – it costs $99 per year. Users need to pay $60 per year if they want to store videos that are more than 5 gigabyte which is the limit set by Amazon. Non-prime clients can get access to the photo storage facility for $12 per year.
Users have reported that the web interface of this site is confusing to use and photo uploading is difficult.
According to Amazon, they have a powerful search facility which allows you to find photos fast when you search for places or people. The Amazon photo storage site organizes photos automatically and does not require tagging. Amazon’s photo storage does not allow you to import photos from social networks.
Apple offers two photo services, namely, the iCloud Photo Stream and the iCloud Photo Library. The iCloud Photo Stream allows you to store your last 1,000 photos (or 30 days worth of photos) in the cloud for free, while the iCloud Photo Library syncs your iOS devices to Apple’s Photos app for Mac. You get 5 gigabytes of storage for free, but additional storage is available from $1 per month for 20 gigabytes of storage. It allows you to change the settings to store lower-resolution copies of your photos on the cloud to free up space on your phone. The iCloud storage does not allow you to import photos from social networks.
You can share photos in iPhoto or on a web page. iCloud allows the tagging of photos with names and locations. Other iCloud users can also add photos to your iCloud library.
iPhoto allows the creation of cards and photo books, which is a useful feature. Unfortunately, to edit these items you can create, you need the Apple iPhoto application which is only available to Apple users.
Shutterfly allows unlimited photo storage for free and enables easy sorting, searching, and filtering.
The site allows you to find and tag your friends and family. Smart facial tagging can be used to find friends and family’s photos easily.
Shutterfly can be set-up to automatically upload your pictures from all your devices, from your phone to your desktop. It allows you to upload your photos at full resolution, meaning you don’t lose any of the quality of your photos.
With Shutterfly you can order prints or create personalized gifts for your friends and family.
Flickr offers one terabyte of free storage if you are willing to have ads on the site. If you don’t want to see any ads, Flickr will cost you $5,99 per month or $49,99 per year. Flickr’s site is secure, thereby keeping users’ photos safe.
Some users have reported that using Flickr is a bit confusing. Flickr changes photos to a standard size. If you upload a photo that does not meet the standard criteria, Flickr may add black bars on the sides to get the photo to the average size.
The site offers a variety of tools, including tagging. It also supports viewing and uploading photos at different resolutions.
You can organize your photos into albums or collections and print these individually or into photo books.
Flickr has a mobile and desktop application, which makes the automatic uploading of photos in bulk easy. The application can identify duplicate pictures and can skip uploading the duplicates. You have to upload videos manually.
Photobucket allows for 2 gigabytes of free storage if you are willing to look at ads. For 99 cents per month, the ads are removed, and you will get access to 10 gigabytes of storage space.
Photobucket offers various editing tools with easy to use interface. You are allowed to tag photos and organize them into albums or stories. Stories is a presentation of photos with text and can be compiled by a group of users.
Photobucket provides comprehensive support for selling prints, such as individual photos, photo books or even other things such as tablet cases or blankets with your photos printed on them.
SmugMug is a design-focused site and offers ideal storage for your photos, including a custom homepage (example: focusedtravels.smugmug.com) with a wide range of design templates. The site can easily be used by semi-professional and professional photographers as it displays your photos as an online portfolio.
SmugMug does not offer any free storage but does have a free 14-day trial if you are interested in trying it out. The cheapest package costs $5 a month or $40 a year, which gives you unlimited storage for photos and 1080p videos. SmugMug does offer a range of editing tools, which are easy to use.
The site also offers options to turn your photos into merchandise to sell.
Microsoft’s OneDrive offers 5 gigabytes of free storage. Additional storage can cost anything from $9,99 for five terabytes of storage, depending on the package you choose.
You can enable auto-upload if you use the OneDrive app. OneDrive uses tags to group your photos automatically into different categories. To change or add tags, you need to use the web interface.
OneDrive is suitable for multiple platforms, from Apple devices to Xbox. If you use the OneDrive app, you can upload your photos automatically at full-resolution. Once uploaded you can organize your images. The OneDrive app offers different ways to share your pictures.
Shoebox offers free unlimited storage for your photos and its storage is secure with bank-level encryption.
You can upload your photos automatically with the Shoebox application and view them from your phone, tablet or computer.
One of the nicest features of Shoebox is that it highlights places you visited and photos you took a year ago, which serves as powerful reminders of events in our lives.
Which is the best online photo storage site?
As you can see, there are so many online photo storage and photo backup sites available, many offering very similar features and prices.
Even the free sites offer secure and large photo storage. Their existence makes it so easy to have a backup or storage facility for your photos – there is no excuse for not having a backup service these days!
I use several of these services to store and backup my photos. I use Google Photos, Dropbox and iCloud.
Which of these services do you use to store or backup your photos? Are there any sites you use that I have not listed above? Please share how you store and backup your photos online!