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.
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.
A Dozen Cloud Image Services
Here are 12 cloud image storage services that we’ve found that could be right for your customers.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is the best way to store photos on 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 you store thousands of digital photos? ›
A hard drive can store thousands of image files and hours of video footage. As well as being one of the best ways to store photos, they are also great for archiving invoices and other documents. You plug it into your device using a USB cable and transfer the photos.How do professional photographers store their photos? ›
- 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.
- Gather All of Your Files into One Location. ...
- Create a Folder Structure. ...
- Decide on a System and Rename Your Files. ...
- Check for Photo Duplicates. ...
- Cull Your Unwanted Photos. ...
- Convert Your Non-Digital Photographs. ...
- Use Dedicated Software to Manage Your Digital Photos. ...
- Use an External Hard Drive.
Use an archival-quality box or album
Whether you prefer to stack photos in a box or arrange them in an album, it's best to look for a storage option that's free of acid and lignin (an acidic compound that gives trees their rigidity). It's also good to avoid dyes and recycled materials. That rules out shoeboxes.
- Name Your Photos. ...
- Use Folders (and Subfolders… and Sub-Subfolders) ...
- Identify Photos by Their Attributes. ...
- Use Favorites, but Use Them Wisely. ...
- Don't Fear the Delete Button. ...
- Create a Central Hub. ...
- Invest in a Quality External Hard Drive.
- Download photos from your various devices onto your computer. ...
- Edit and organize your photos on your computer. ...
- Identify or “tag” your pictures. ...
- Create backups in the cloud. ...
- Keep your storage system up-to-date. ...
- Ensure future access to your digital photo collection.
External hard drives (EHD)
If you're storing your files locally, most photographers will need at least one dedicated storage drive in addition to their computer's primary internal drive. The most popular option is to use an external hard drive for this extra storage, and they are very affordable.
The Best Overall Cloud Storage Service
Dropbox continues to be a popular choice among photographers even if its free plan offers a measly 2 GB of storage. This is largely thanks to its simple drag and drop folder interface that mirrors what you see on your computer or device.
Professional photographers use different types of cloud storage to store their photos. For example, OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, Zoolz, Dropbox, IDrive, Backblaze, Photoshelter, etc are remarkable and outstanding.
Where is the best place to store all my photos? ›
- Dropbox. ...
- Amazon Photos. ...
- Google Photos. ...
- iCloud Photos. ...
- Smug Mug. ...
- Photobucket. ...
- Flickr. ...
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.How do I digitize large amounts of photos? ›
The ideal machine for bulk scanning is one with a top load feeder that allows you to stack photographs and batch process them quickly. Make sure you're using a bulk photo scanner dedicated to handling photographs to prevent memories from getting destroyed during the process.Do digital photos last forever? ›
Digital files do not degrade or fade over time and will, if backed up properly, last indefinitely. The most likely problem with digital images is that they will be lost due to technical issues such as a hard drive crashing, a smartphone lost or damaged, or the online storage service going out of business.How should photos be organized for 40 years? ›
- Clarify the "why" of why you're doing this. ...
- Start with physical photos first, apply what you learn to your digital library. ...
- Get all of the photos in one place. ...
- Sort chronologically, by person, or by theme. ...
- Finally, sort into 3 subcategories, and put the winners into your album.
- Delete, delete, delete. ...
- Create a folder. ...
- Make chronological sub-folders. ...
- Separate your special occasions. ...
- Import photos at least monthly. ...
- Name your photos well. ...
- Back-up. ...
- Tackling the back-log.
- Preserve And Restore Your Photos For Future Generations. ...
- Donate Your Photo Album To Historical Societies Or Local Museums. ...
- Find A Scanning Service And Make A Photo Book. ...
- Add Documents, Captions, And Old Letters For Context. ...
- Display Your Favorite Photos In Your House.
They're irreplaceable; unlike digital photos you can't take another one. The people in them are probably long gone, so looking at photos is a wonderful way of remembering them. Family photos will also be a great keepsake to pass on to your own kids, and you can tell them about ancestors that they never met.How long do old photos last? ›
If you take care of your prints, they could potentially last hundreds of years with no visible fading. Color photographs slightly less. Pigment inkjet prints on archival quality paper could last with no visible fading for 75 - 400+ years, depending on quality of framing and display conditions.What do I do with all my digital photos? ›
- PRINTING SERVICES. The easiest way to get them off your camera is the most obvious—print them. ...
- PHOTO BOOKS. ...
- SLIDE SHOWS AND VIDEOS. ...
- PHOTO WRAPPING PAPER. ...
- CUSTOM PHOTO CASES. ...
- PHOTO JEWELRY. ...
- UNIQUE PHOTO GIFTS.
How do I organize my digital library? ›
- The best way to organize is the way that makes the most sense to you. ...
- For extreme organization, create a hierarchal system. ...
- Organize your ebooks onto one device. ...
- Categorize into “Collections” or “Bookshelves.” This option will depend mostly on the app or device that you are using to house your books.
- Create transparent folders and file naming systems.
- Implement metadata management.
- Utilize auto tagging software.
- Take advantage of cloud storage systems.
- Manage offline storage hardware.
- Use an External Hard Disk Drive or a Solid-State Drive. ...
- Use a Network Attached Storage Device. ...
- Encrypt Photos on Your Computer. ...
- Use a Secure Cloud Storage Service. ...
- Create Your Server. ...
- Encrypt Your Mobile Device.
Portable hard drives can store your memories and they fit nicely in a bug-out bag. You also can make a photo book as a backup of your all-time favorites and store it somewhere like a fireproof safe deposit box. But a digital backup is the best way to safeguard your memories.What are the 4 types of cloud storage? ›
There are four main types of cloud computing: private clouds, public clouds, hybrid clouds, and multiclouds. There are also three main types of cloud computing services: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).What are the 3 types of cloud storage? ›
There are three main cloud storage types: object storage, file storage, and block storage. Each offers its own advantages and has its own use cases.How long do professional photographers keep photos? ›
Well, that depends. There is no rule, it's completely up to the individual photographer and their business model. It could be a few days to thirty years, or more.Where can I store unlimited photos? ›
That's why Shutterfly offers a completely free way to upload, save, share your pictures with our unlimited online photo storage service. With our free photo storage service, you can rest assured that your pictures are stored safely and are available whenever you need them.Is the cloud safe to store photos? ›
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.Which cloud storage is safest? ›
- Microsoft OneDrive.
- Google Drive.
- Egnyte Connect.
Is it better to store photos in boxes or albums? ›
Some collections are better suited for photo storage boxes. A box may take up less space than an album but can hold more photos. Boxes are good for photos that need to be preserved but are looked at less frequently as well as photos that are self-explanatory or don't require extra notes.Will Google Photos delete my photos? ›
Delete Photos on Phone with Back Up & Sync Enabled. Whenever the Backup & Sync feature is enabled, and you delete any of the synced photos from the Google Photos app, it will be deleted from everywhere. In short, the photo will immediately be removed from Google Photos, Andriod Gallery, and File Manager applications.Is it better to store photos on CD or flash drive? ›
If you are burning photos to a DVD, you will have a 4.7 GB storage capacity, allowing many more files. Another option available today is USB flash drives, which can hold up to 2 TB of storage. Most of our customers choose the flash drive option over the CDs and DVDs as most computers today have USB ports.How do I organize my large photo library? ›
- Decide on a storing solution.
- Locate all pictures.
- Trim down your digital library.
- Come up with a folder structure.
- Rename your files.
- Use strategic keywords.
- Schedule regular backups.
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 company to digitize old photos? ›
- Check out ScanDigital direct. ...
- Check out EverPresent direct. ...
- Check out ScanCafe direct. ...
- Check out GoPhoto direct. ...
- Check out Digital Memories direct. ...
- Check out ScanMyPhotos direct.
- Photomyne. Price: $4.99, or a free Lite version. ...
- Google Photo Scan. Price: Free. ...
- Choosing a scanner. ...
- Clean the scanner glass. ...
- Scan multiple photos at once. ...
- Choose a high image resolution. ...
- Scanning photo slides and negatives. ...
- Photo editing tools.
You can scan a photo or document and save it on a memory card or USB storage device in JPEG or PDF format.Is it better to photograph or scan old photos? ›
Scanning Your Old Photos
However, the quality of the digital file created compared to simply taking a picture of an old photo is staggering. Scanning old photos will capture every detail of your picture and will result in a clear and precise copy, creating a digital backup that everyone can share.
Digital images easily lose detail in whites and blacks. Some digital cameras are difficult to focus. Digital images are less subtle than film images. Digital cameras become obsolete much faster than film cameras.
Can a digital camera last 20 years? ›
In general, a digital camera will not wear out over time. The only major component that can eventually wear out is the camera shutter. With that said, unless you're taking hundreds of photos every day for years, most hobbyists and casual shooters can expect their digital camera to last around 5 years of regular use.Is it better to store photos in iCloud or external hard drive? ›
Although, iCloud Photos is considered to be a safe and secure place to store photos, it is still a good practice to download all your Photos from iCloud to an External Hard Drive as a precautionary backup.What is the best storage device for photos? ›
- Seagate Backup Ultra Touch HDD.
- Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD.
- WD My Book Backup Desktop USB 3.0.
- Samsung T7 Portable SSD.
- WD My Passport Portable Hard Drive.
- Seagate Backup Plus Hub.
- Transcend StoreJet M3.
- WD My Passport SSD.
Google Photos is best-suited for those on the prowl for free storage. If you just want a no-frails databank to stash your pictures or videos at original quality without coughing up, Google Photos fills the bill. In the same breath, iPhone and Android owners Google Photos packs quite a punch.What happens if you stop paying for cloud storage? ›
You will no longer be able to synchronize or access your data from your local computer. But, rest assured all the data will remain safe inside the cloud storage. None of the data will be deleted from your cloud storage account and you can still access all your files without any problem.How many photos can you store on a 2TB external 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.What is the biggest problem with cloud storage? ›
One of the cloud challenges companies and enterprises are facing today is a lack of resources and/or expertise. Organizations are increasingly placing more workloads in the system while cloud technologies continue to rapidly advance. Due to these factors, organizations are having a tough time keeping up with the tools.Is it safe to store pictures in the cloud? ›
Cloud storage offers less risk than physical mediums such as hard drives that can crash, CDs that can be accidentally damaged, or mobile phones that can be lost or stolen. And because cloud services routinely back up data, your photo memories stay safe.Can cloud storage be hacked? ›
Can the cloud be hacked? It absolutely can be—so you must step up your cyber security to prevent a devastating data breach.What is the most secure cloud storage for photos? ›
- IDrive. A secure way to store your photos online. ...
- Google Drive and Google Photos. A powerful cloud storage service. ...
- Dropbox. Flexible image storage in the cloud. ...
- Microsoft OneDrive. Strikes a balance between functionality and affordability. ...
- Flickr. ...
- Adobe Creative Cloud. ...
Where should I store and organize my digital photos? ›
If you set up a Google account and use it, you will have access to a versatile cloud storage system that offers unlimited photo storage. With the app pre-installed on your phone and easy to access on your computer, you should have no issues. You can also edit your photos and organize them.
- Flickr. The best photo storage service overall. ...
- 500px. Photo storage for pro photographers. ...
- Google Photos. The best photo storage option for backing up photos from your smartphone. ...
- Amazon Prime Photos. ...
- Apple iCloud. ...
- Adobe Portfolio. ...
- ImageShack. ...
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.
Photos in My Photo Stream remain in iCloud for 30 days. That should be sufficient time to back up your photos manually. After that, they are removed from iCloud. No matter how many photos My Photo Stream uploads to the cloud, the local Photo Stream album on any iOS or iPadOS device only keeps up to 1,000 images.Which is better Google or iCloud? ›
Apple takes the win security-wise, with the platform being much more secure than Google One. Nearly all data stored on iCloud's servers are encrypted both in transit and at rest to 128-bit AES standard.