The Best Cloud Photo Storage Options
If you’re a big photography fan then chances are that you’ve got a fair few photos stored on your phone. But keeping pics on your mobile isn’t always the best idea, since you’re likely to be taking up a whole bunch of space. Fortunately, there are other options, and today we’re looking at the best cloud photo storage choices. So don’t stress about running out of space on your mobile, your pics are going to be safe and sound stored in one of these places!
Why Go Cloud?
Before we begin, let’s take a quick second to talk about cloud storage. No, cloud storage is not your only option. You can transfer your mobile pics to your computer and keep them there, or you can keep them on an SD card if your phone accepts one. But cloud storage tends to be the best option for pics, since pictures take up a lot of memory space, and because you’ll have access to them wherever you have an internet connection. When it comes to cloud storage options though, there are a fair few, each with their pros and cons, so let’s take a look…
We’ll start with the newest of the bunch, Google Photos. If you’ve got a Gmail account, then you have a Google Photos account, all you need to do is download the app to your phone. Google Photos does have some big advantages over other cloud storage facilities. Firstly, you get unlimited storage, meaning you can store as many pics as you want. However, Google does compress the images with this option, meaning a little quality is lost. That loss of quality isn’t really noticeable, though if you’re a real pro it might bother you. If you want pics stored at their original quality then you’ve got 15 GB of space for free, but after that you’ll need to pay for more space.
One of the biggest advantages of using Google Photo is that being a Google product the search function is second to none. Photos are automatically recognised and tagged without you doing a thing. Search for “Christmas” for example and Google Photos will show you any picture that looks Christmassy as well as any pics taken around December 25th. You get basic photo editing too, which is a nice touch.
Apple iCloud Photo Library
If you’ve got an iPhone then you’ve got iCloud Photo Library by default, though that doesn’t mean you can’t change to something else if you prefer. Apple’s cloud photo service is… okay. It’s convenient if you’re an iPhone user, and photos are stored in their original quality. The search function is fine and you get elementary editing tools as well.
Whilst iCloud might be the convenient option, it’s not necessarily the cheapest. Apple give you only 5 GB for free, and after that you start paying a monthly fee for more storage. Prices aren’t exorbitant though, you can get up to 50 GB for just 79p a month, for example. But if you take a lot of pics then you might want to consider another service…
Flickr is designed to store images, unlike many other web based cloud storage options, and does its job pretty well. Pictures are saved in their original resolution, not compressed, and you can set up the app to upload your pics automatically whenever you take them. You get a massive 1000 GB of free storage as well, which is very cool. Your pics are private by default, but you can link other people in to pictures or albums, which makes Flickr a convenient way of sharing photos of events between people. The only real downside of Flickr is the lack of a decent search feature, which can make finding a specific photo in a host of other files somewhat complicated.
DropBox was the original cloud storage service so it should be no surprise that you can use it to store your photos. However since this is a general storage service, rather than one dedicated to saving pics, it’s a little low on the feature front. You won’t get any editing options here, just simple, straightforward storage. You do get the option to automatically upload your pics though, and the sparse interface makes DropBox pretty easy to use.
The biggest disadvantage of DropBox is quite simply the price. You get only 2 GB of free storage space, and upgrading to the pro version will cost you a whopping £7.99 a month or £79 a year. Having said that, DropBox do quite often give away more storage for free (sometimes on a new mobile phone or new computer you’ll get the added incentive of more storage), so if this is your preferred service you might want to keep an eye out for that.
Amazon Cloud Drive
Last, but not least, if you’ve got an Amazon account then you can access the Amazon Cloud Drive, which is a general file storage service for any type of file. You can set automatic uploads of your pictures and you get a few editing features as well, though the search function isn’t as great as that of Google Photos it’s better than most.
If you’re lucky enough to be a member of Amazon Prime you get unlimited photo storage. However, if you’ve just got a regular account you get 5 GB of free storage and after that you’ll be paying. Amazon fees are annual, rather than monthly, so they tend to work out a little cheaper than other pay services. You’ll pay £6 a year for up to 20 GB of space, and there are differing packages all the way up to £320 a year for a massive 1000 GB of space.
Storing your pics on the cloud is a convenient way to not only free up space on your phone but also to have easy access to your photos as well. However, you will want to choose your cloud photo storage service carefully, because there can be some big bills attached if you need extra space…