Not long ago, you could only preserve photos and precious memories through scrapbooking, creating photo albums, and burning digital copies on DVDs. Nowadays, storing and organizing digital photos is much easier and safer thanks to the cloud. The term “cloud storage” simply refers to online platforms where you can upload, view, share, and download files.
Uploading photos to the cloud means you have unlimited access to your personal gallery from anywhere via any internet-enabled device. Plus, you don’t have to worry about losing photos on a USB stick, memory card, external drive, computer, or phone.
Several websites offer both free and paid photo backup services. Here are three popular cloud providers you should consider when looking to store your photos online.
The iCloud Photo Library is part of Apple’s iCloud service and is ideal for backing up photos if you’re a loyal Apple user. It’s easy to create albums and organize the library on Apple devices – Mac, iPhone, iPod, and iPad. The platform synchronizes and brings photos from all the different devices in one library.
The iCloud library has a few key problems, chief among them being the cost. You have to pay for any meaningful storage space above 5GB. The sync feature makes it difficult to exclude specific photos from uploading to the cloud. The iCloud library does not organize the native files themselves (files ending in “img” or ”jpg”), so it doesn’t work exactly like a backup.
Since iCloud is ideally designed for Apple products, it works poorly on other devices. Although Apple has apps that support iCloud features on Windows and Android, you’ll still run into countless sync issues with the photo library.
Google is the cheapest option here; you get unlimited storage space for photos and HD videos of up to 16MP and 1080p. However, storage for higher resolution media comes at a cost once you deplete the free 15GB allocated for every Google account. Google Photos works on every device, including Apple and Windows products, allowing easy uploading, synchronizing, editing, sharing, and creating for photo books and albums. The uploaded pictures do not take up local device space.
The downside is, Google Photos has limited organization features. Photo sorting filters in albums are less useful than you’d expect. And since Google Photos no longer syncs with Google Drive, it can be difficult to organize or download the native files themselves without some workarounds.
Among the three, Amazon Photos offers the best photo organization features at a favorable price point. You get to store original-quality photos for free with an Amazon Prime account. And, although you only get 5GB of free storage, upgrading to a larger capacity costs only $19.99/year for 100GB.
The service works on every platform and has intuitively customizable functions for uploading, sharing, and synchronizing media from various devices. Uploaded photos and videos are synced to Amazon Drive so you can access and organize the actual native files. But automatically uploading photos using the app requires you to open the app.
These platforms are excellent at organizing photo libraries for convenient viewing and sharing. But you cannot import the library’s albums and features between platforms, which is why it’s important to organize the native image files themselves. This means manually sorting and renaming the source folders. Doing this will help you maintain a standard organization structure that you can use on any online photo backup service and on your phone or computer as well.