Deciding on Cloud Storage for Pictures

Deciding on Cloud Storage for Pictures

There are many, many photo backup solutions.  You want to keep your photos safe.  You know that disasters happen all the time:  fires, floods, hurricanes, you name it.  You know that photos should be backed up at least three ways:  the original, on-site backup, and off-site backup. So, how does a person choose among all the various options?

There are several questions you can ask yourself to narrow the options:

  • Are you a professional photographer?
    • There are some sites which are most suited for the professionals and would be difficult for the non-pros to work with. This article will concentrate on websites and solutions that are for the non-professional.
  • What is your primary motivation for photo storage?
    • Is it to share the photos on social media or with family and friends?
    • Or is it as a form of photo backup?
  • How many pictures do you have?
    • Some sites provide free storage for 2G, 5G or 10G, depending on the site. The downside is that these free sites often include lots of advertising.  But if you don’t have too many pictures, it may be worth it.  (But, then, again, if you don’t have a lot of pictures, you would probably not be reading this).
  • How much effort do you want to put into updating, maintaining and curating your photo collection?
    • Many of the photo storage applications offer an auto-sync utility which would keep the site and your devices in sync. But even these need to be curated periodically to keep the site organized and to keep junk out.  Junk includes photos of labels which are meant for one-time use.
  • Do you care whether the metadata is retained?
    • Metadata is the data captured in a digital picture which lets you know where and when the picture was taken. It often includes technical information such as focus and lighting.
  • Do you want to be able to search the photos?
    • Some of the sites have really awesome search capabilities, where you could use facial recognition to search for all pictures containing a particular person, or you could enter a word, such as “beach” and all the beach pictures would be found.
  • How much are you willing to spend on photo storage?
    • Prices range from free to hefty. My recommendation is to NOT let price be your only criteria.

The table, below, shows some of the online photo storage solutions that are available.  This is definitely not a comprehensive list – I’m sure there are other sites out there that offer this service.  This list is in alphabetical order:

 Keeps MetadataUpdate/ MaintenancePhoto searchShare?CostFreePrimary Focus
Adobe PortfolioYesManualNoYes1T / $9.99/moNoneProfessionals
Amazon Prime PhotosYesAutoYesYes – Family Vault$119/yr for PrimeUnlimited for Prime membersPhoto Storage
Backblaze    $50/yr for Unlimited Backup
Canon IristaYesManual Yes to FBUp to 10T for $129 / mo15GPhoto Storage
Dropbox  No 1T / $99/yr2GGeneral Storage
Flickr   Yes, can comment$50/yr ad-free1T – JPG onlySharing
ForeverYes?Auto Yes1T $7,000

You Own it

2GPhoto Storage
Free Image Hosting      Agent for sites
Google Photos/DrivePd – Yes

Free – No

AutoYes – ExcellentYesP – 100G / $2/mo

D – 2T /$9.99/mo

P – Unlimd for sm pics

D – 15G

Photo Storage
iCloud Auto? Yes10G / $20/yr5GBackup
Imgur   Yes 20GSharing
Microsoft OneDrive Manual?No 1T / $6.99/mo5GBackup
MylioYesAuto Yes$300/yr for 500K pics; 12 devices25K pics on 3 devicesPhoto Sync across devices
SmugMug    $50 to $300 / yrNoneProfessionals



This has been a summary of my research – not my personal experience.

Based on this research, I would put the top contenders as Amazon Prime Photos and Google Photos.

For more information you could follow these links:

If you need guidance working through the various options, please contact me at amira@PreciousMemsPhoto.comor visit my website


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