Every photographer knows that the most important decision they will make, other than which camera they choose, is where and how to back up their photos. There is nothing worse than having a great shoot and then losing all your photos. The same goes for iPhone photographers. But fortunately, it’s even easier to back up photos you take with your iPhone than with a camera, thanks to online photo storage services. And there is no shortage of options, either.
This article will describe our 10 favorite cloud-based photo storage options. Additionally, it will lay out the pros and cons of each service to help you determine which one will work best for you.
Things to consider when choosing the best photo cloud
When considering all the many online photo storage services, there are a few things to keep in mind, in addition to the obvious question of how much it will cost you. Here are a couple of factors to consider:
- Storage: Make sure your photo library is below the service’s storage quota.
- Compression: Some services offer free or even unlimited storage, but require images to be compressed.
- Format support: While most cloud storage will support JPG, not all will support newer file types like ProRAW or HEIC.
- Privacy: These are your photos, and some are more personal than others. Make sure the cloud service you are using offers privacy controls that make you feel comfortable.
Our Top 10 Cloud Photo Storage Sites
It seems that all the big tech companies now offer some kind of cloud photo storage. In fact, there are so many options that it can be overwhelming. To help you browse the best ones and find out which option will work best for you, here is a list of our top 10.
1. Google Photos: Free unlimited photo storage
Google Photos is possibly the most popular cloud-based photo storage. Its iOS app is easy to use and can automatically load all the images from your Camera Roll. Its biggest selling point was offering unlimited storage if you didn’t mind having your photos slightly compressed while they were still ‘high quality’. However, free Google Photos will be gone in June 2021. While you will still get 15GB of free storage, any images you upload after June 1, 2021 will count toward that quota.
2. iCloud Photos – Best Cloud Storage for iPhone Photos
For users who prefer to keep everything within the Apple ecosystem, iCloud Photos is the perfect solution. There are no special applications; iCloud uses all native iOS apps, with sharing features pre-built into iOS. Apple offers you 5GB of free storage, but you can pay a small subscription fee to increase that limit. The downside is that iOS uses iCloud for everything else too, including your iPhone backups, so the storage quota fills up quickly.
3. Amazon Photos – Free Member Photo Storage
One of Amazon’s best-kept secrets is Amazon Photos. Prime members get unlimited free storage without having to compress any of their images. That’s right! You can store your photos in their original quality. Of course, you can still sign up for Amazon Photos if you are not a Prime member, but the subscription cost is the same as Prime.
4. Dropbox: online photo storage with folders
While Dropbox isn’t exclusively designed for photo storage like other cloud-based services, it still deserves a spot on our list, especially if you prefer to keep your images organized in folders. Like other iOS apps, Dropbox will automatically upload pictures you take with your iPhone, so they are always stored in the cloud and synced with your desktop. The biggest downside to Dropbox is that they only offer 2GB for free.
5. Microsoft OneDrive – Save photos online with the Office suite
Never to be put aside, Microsoft’s answer to the cloud photo storage problem is OneDrive. The basic version of OneDrive is free and gives you 5GB of storage. But just like iCloud and Google Drive, your OneDrive storage is shared between your pictures, your documents, and your email. Paying to upgrade might be worth it for Office 365, which unlocks new features and integrates your photo library with the rest of the suite like Outlook and Powerpoint.
6. SmugMug: free and secure photo storage
One of the things that sets SmugMug apart from other services is how much control it gives you over the privacy of your photos. After uploading your photos, you can set entire galleries to be viewable in SmugMug’s public feed, or you can choose to keep them private or require a password for them to be shared. And because you can share galleries with people who don’t have a SmugMug account, it’s great for all iPhone photographers. No matter who you want to share images with, SmugMug is easy and safe to use.
While SmugMug offers a 14-day free trial, they do not have a free subscription level. The good news is that even its Basic plan gives you unlimited storage, so you can capture and upload to your heart’s content.
7. Snapfish: free online photo storage with printing benefits
Snapfish is one of the few services that offers unlimited, uncompressed photo storage for free. However, you will have to upload your images manually as the iOS app does not have an automatic update feature like other apps. While it’s probably not ideal for a full photo library backup, Snapfish is ideal for select photos that you love and want to make sure you don’t lose. They also offer photo printing and will give you your first 50 prints each month for free.
8. 500px: affordable cloud photo storage
500px is geared towards a more professional audience. The iOS app is incredibly intuitive, but it requires you to manually select the images you want to store from your Camera Roll. Where it really excels is storing and sharing edited and finished versions of your photos. But before letting inconvenience keep you from uploading your photos, keep in mind that 500px is loaded with a ton of editing tools to help you take your photos to the next level. They offer unlimited storage at two different tiers, Awesome and Pro, which include various features and are priced at $ 2.99 per month and $ 5.99 per month, respectively.
9. Photobucket – Simple Photo Storage App
If you’re looking for an app with an intuitive interface and easy-to-use features, Photobucket has you covered. The automatic backup feature means you don’t even have to think about syncing your pictures from your iPhone because you’re already saving them. The downside to Photobucket is that the free plan will only allow you to store 250 photos or 2.5GB before requiring you to update.
10. Flickr: the best online photo storage with more space
Flickr is one of the original photo-sharing websites, but it’s still in the game and offers competitive cloud-based storage. Although Flickr doesn’t offer users unlimited storage, everyone is allocated 1000GB or 1TB of uncompressed photos. Compared to other services, this is by far the highest free storage option, making it a great alternative to the other photo clouds offered by larger companies like Apple, Google, or Amazon.
There are many options when it comes to storing your images in the cloud, and they include many different features to consider. Whether you like to view your photos in albums or want to organize them in folders based on specific people or geographic locations, there is a cloud solution for you. And the good news is that many of these services are free, so download one and give it a try!