15 Online Photo Storage Options

15 Best Online Photo Storage Options in 2019

Have you ever had a hard drive failure and lost your photos with it? I would be surprised if you answered no to that question. Even with the latest improvements in hard drive technology, failure is a matter of when not if.

When your photos contain memories of your life and your clients, it is just too risky to depend on just physical storage for their safety.

That is why online photo storage services have become as important as any other part of your photography workflow.

After several HDD failures, I’ve been testing several online photo storage services for my professional photography business. In this post, I would like to share with you the best options for storing your photos online. We will test each service for usability, storage, price, and reputation.

Let’s start.

1. Dropbox

Best online photo storage for professionals who want to share their work with clients

A GIF screenshot of dropbox photo upload feature
Dropbox is a must for creative professionals who want to share files with clients.

Dropbox came onto the market back in 2007. It was a smart, easy way to keep a dedicated folder on your computer which synchronizes files across multiple devices, and online.

The free version supports 2GB of storage and is a great way to share finished projects with clients. Simply drop the files in the dedicated Dropbox folder and let the app work its magic in the background.

The Premium service, along with augmented storage, also offers past version recovery, Smart Sync functions, and remote wiping from lost/stolen devices. The Smart Sync function replaces little-used files with thumbnail links to their cloud counterparts; which frees up physical storage space.

  • Type: Cloud storage and sync folder.
  • Price: 2GB free; 2TB for $119.88 per year; or 3TB for $199.00 per year.
  • Automatic backup: Yes, of selected folders.
  • Phone backup: No.

2. Google Photos

Best free online photo storage option for compressed photos

A screenshot of the home page of Google Photos online photo storage
Google Photos boasts AI-powered search functions.

Google Photos is included with all Gmail email accounts, and the Photos app comes pre-installed on most Android devices. The app detects new images on your devices and sends a copy to the cloud, giving the user an option to delete the already backed up files, if they need to free up space.

It also offers unlimited online photo storage for compressed image files (jpegs) up to 16MP. However, it is also compatible with other image formats, including most RAW files. Its AI-powered cataloging/searching functions are very handy; you can search through images based on content or subject, not just by name or date.

  • Type: Photo storage and cloud backup.
  • Price: Free unlimited storage for images up to 16MP
  • Automatic backup: Yes (with Google Backup and Sync app).
  • Phone backup: Yes, with Google Photos app.

3. iCloud

Apple’s beautifully synced online cloud storage solution

A screenshot of the iCloud home page
iCloud is the perfect solution if you already use other Apple devices.

iCloud is Apple’s own cloud storage and backup service. Every Mac or iPhone user already has an account, set up automatically on their device. However, the service is also open to Windows users via a dedicated desktop app.

iCloud Drive enables users to upload any file type instantly across devices, or any web browser, through iCloud’s website. iCloud is especially useful for photographers already working with Apple products. Plus automatic phone backups, app syncing functions, and a conveniently priced expanded storage make this an appealing option.

  • Type: Cloud storage and cloud backup.
  • Price: Free 5GB, or $9.99 per month up to 2TB.
  • Automatic backup: Yes, via the desktop app.
  • Phone backup: Yes (iOS only).

4. Adobe Creative Cloud

Share files easily across all platforms with Adobe

Screenshot of the Adobe Creative Cloud online photo storage home page
Adobe CC syncs files across professional apps on all platforms.

Adobe Creative Cloud’s online storage is an exclusive service for Adobe software plan subscribers.

Starting with a storage capacity of 20GB, it allows users to access, work on, and share assets across platforms, directly from the cloud.

And if you want to take your whole image catalog online, you can expand the available storage up to 1TB.

Files and settings are synced automatically upon importing into Lightroom, from your computer, or your smartphone.

The program can also detect and avoid duplication of images across platforms.

  • Type: Photo storage.
  • Price: From $119.88 per year (photography plan).
  • Automatic backup: Yes, of selected assets via Lightroom CC/Classic.
  • Phone backup: Manual uploads via apps.

5. Backblaze

An affordable and simple option if you have one computer

Screenshot of Backblaze online photo storage home page
Backblaze is the ‘set and forget it’ solution for those with just one machine but boasts plenty of external storage to back up safely.

Backblaze has been a leader in cloud backup services for both PC and Mac users since its humble beginnings in 2007. The Backblaze app will scan your computer and all connected drives for all types of files. It then proceeds to upload back up copies onto its servers. It’s not, however, intended as a storage dump; deleting a file from a connected drive will eventually delete it from Backblaze too.

It boasts unlimited storage space, encrypted transmission, options for physical restores, and great customer support. Backblaze is definitely one of the best storage options out there, especially for those looking at online storage to house copies of their existing physical drives.

  • Type: Cloud backup.
  • Price: From $6 per month or $60 per year for unlimited storage.
  • Automatic backup: Yes, via the desktop app.
  • Phone backup: No. Files are accessible via smartphone app.

6. Microsoft OneDrive

Easy to access storage for anyone with a Microsoft account

A screenshot of the Microsoft OneDrive  online photo storage solution home page
If you’re already a Microsoft user, OneDrive is a logical online storage option.

Microsoft has been the biggest name in software for the past 30 years. Their OneDrive online storage provides anybody with a Microsoft account with 5GB of free cloud storage.

Premium users can get up to 6TB of storage (1TB each for 6 users), with 30-day versioning for file recovery (the company keeps previous versions of files for 30 days), plus access to the whole Office 365 suite.

With preview support for most RAW files, easy access to assets on desktop (Windows 10) and smartphone, plenty of space, and a sensible pricing scheme, OneDrive is a solid choice for online archiving.

  • Type: Cloud storage.
  • Price: 5GB free, or up to $99 per year for 6TB (1TB each for 6 users).
  • Automatic backup: Yes, with the app.
  • Phone backup: Yes, with the app (photos and videos).

7. Amazon Photos

Best photo storage option for Prime members

A screenshot of the Amazon Photos home page
Amazon Photos offers unlimited online photo storage within its Prime subscription

Amazon Prime subscribers have access to unlimited online photo storage. It supports various file formats, including RAW files, and also offers a spare Amazon Drive storage space that can be increased by buying set amounts for a yearly fee (on top of the Prime subscription).

Photos are added via the desktop app, which uploads pre-selected folders automatically as new files are added. It also adds via the mobile app, which will upload all photos and videos on your device.

Amazon Photos is the only unlimited service that doesn’t operate as a mirror backup (like Backblaze), but rather as a proper cloud storage service. Because of this, users with massive photo catalogs may find it very attractive as an archive solution. Plus you also get the added benefits of Amazon’s other Prime services

  • Type: Photo storage, cloud storage, and cloud backup.
  • Price: Unlimited photo storage: $119 per year (via Amazon Prime subscription).
  • Automatic backup: Yes, via the desktop app.
  • Phone backup: Yes, via the app.

8. Flickr

The popular social platform is a great place to store and showcase work

A screenshot of the Flickr Pro home page
Flickr allows the user to upload, share and store their work.

Flickr isn’t technically a photo storage website, rather it’s a popular social platform for photographers. Users can upload their work, create galleries and participate in the community.

There is no support for RAW photos, or project files (such as Photoshop PSD files), however, the Pro subscription allows users to upload unlimited high-resolution images, without compression.

You can upload manually or automatically, via the desktop ‘Uploadr’, or Lightroom integration. This, alongside advanced analytics, interesting perks, discounts, and other commercial services (such as photo prints), make Flickr a good option; especially for those looking for a place to showcase their work en-masse.

  • Type: Social platform.
  • Price: Free with ads for up to 1000 images, or $4.49 per month (billed annually) for unlimited storage (jpeg/png/gif images only).
  • Automatic backup: Yes, via app for Pro users.
  • Phone backup: No.

9. 500px

Social platform boasts clean interface and licensing options

A screenshot of the 500px home page
500px’s Pro plans are useful if you want to create catalogs of images to sell or license.

500px is another very popular social platform, that boasts a cleaner and more modern interface than Flickr. Much like Flickr, the premium plans allow for unlimited uploads of high-resolution jpegs, with advanced options for licensing, showcasing your work in personalized galleries, and more.

The premium plan includes a subscription to the Adobe CC Photography Plan. This, together with the 500px Pro perks, which allows you access to photography software, plus 20GB of Adobe Cloud storage, makes it an appealing choice.

  • Type: Social platform.
  • Price: Free (max 7 photos per week), or up to $187.83 per year (unlimited uploads, plus Adobe CC Photography Plan).
  • Automatic backup: No.
  • Phone backup: No.

10. SmugMug

Best online storage for your portfolio or client work

A screenshot of the SmugMug home page
SmugMug’s unlimited storage for jpeg files is really useful for photographers who need to create or upgrade an existing website.

SmugMug isn’t strictly a storage service; it’s a website-building platform for professional photographers. So, why have we listed it? Every SmugMug plan comes with unlimited storage for photos and videos.

The interface is easy to manage, even with bulk images, plus it also supports Lightroom integration for direct uploads. Websites built with SmugMug feature elegant galleries that are fully customizable. And every price plan offers unlimited photo and video uploads. Plus, the built-in storefront functions allow you to sell prints directly from your portfolio.

Related Article: Best Photo Printers

Currently, SmugMug only supports jpeg files for galleries and photo prints, but if you need to create or upgrade your website anyway, the unlimited storage space comes in handy.

  • Type: Website-builder and e-commerce site.
  • Price: The basic plan is $48 per year, or Pro plan is $360 per year.
  • Automatic backup: No.
  • Phone backup: No.

11. Canon Irista

A storage platform that supports RAW files and video storage

A screenshot of the Canon Irista home page
Canon’s Irista may be pricey, but its integration options are useful, especially for Canon camera users.

Irista is an online photo storage service provided by Japanese camera giant Canon. It supports a variety of RAW formats (not just from Canon), as well as video formats.

The mobile and desktop apps allow photos and videos to be uploaded and viewed from any platform. Plus, some of the more recent Canon cameras can upload straight to Irista when connected to a Wi-Fi network. A Lightroom classic plugin is also available. Also, integration with Canon’s HDBOOK service allows photographers to design and order high-quality photo books, all from within Irista’s platform.

Canon justifies the steep prices of its premium plans by offering extra security and privacy for users and their files.

  • Type: Photo storage.
  • Price: Free up to 15GB, or $129.99 per month for 10TB.
  • Automatic backup: Yes, via the desktop app.
  • Phone backup: No automatic backup; manual uploads only via mobile app.

12. pCloud

A photo storage service with lifetime pricing!

A screenshot of the pCloud home page
pCloud is the only service to offer a lifetime, single-payment license for their online storage.

pCloud is a Swiss company that offers a unique pricing scheme. You can purchase a lifetime 2TB of cloud storage for just $350. The storage acts as a virtual drive on the user’s machine, and it offers full preview support for RAW files.

All of that, plus direct integration with social media, direct video streaming, customizable branded download links, and 30-day versioning, make it very appealing. Unless you need to store more than 2TB of cloud storage, pCloud is without a doubt one of the most comprehensive services out there.

  • Type: Cloud storage.
  • Price: 10GB free. $95.88/year; or $350 (lifetime subscription) for 2TB
  • Automatic backup: Yes, via the desktop app.
  • Phone backup: Yes, via the app (photos and videos).

13. Google Drive

Automatic cloud backup for photographers who already use Google services

A screenshot of the home page of online photo storage solution Google Drive
Google Drive is easy to use and affordable.

Google Drive is a universal cloud storage solution from Google. It differs from Google Photos in that it supports any file type. It is ideal for storing finished projects and allows you to organize or share them via hotlinking or emails.

The Google Backup and Sync desktop app allow you to automatically back up files from your computer to the cloud.

However, Drive only provides 15GB of free storage per user; Gmail emails, Docs and Sheets files, plus Android device data like WhatsApp backup, all count towards the quota. However, there are many upgrade packages with more data options.

Type: Cloud storage.
Price: First 15GB free. 100GB for $2.79/m or 2TB for $13.99/m
Automatic backup: Yes, with Google Backup and Sync app.
Phone backup: Yes, with Drive app.

13. iDrive

A great choice for anyone who needs medium-size catalog backup

A screenshot of the iDrive home page
iDrive allows multiple machines to share the same subscription; great if you work from more than one workstation

iDrive mixes elements of cloud mirror backup services with cloud storage. The app uploads incremental backups of the user’s drives and computers, similar to Backblaze. However, it won’t automatically remove files that are deleted on the physical devices, unless the user chooses to do so.

Even then, past versions of deleted or modified files are kept for 30 days, just in case.

With options for physical drive restorations, multiple device (as well as drive) backups, personalized encryption and more, iDrive is ideal for anyone working from multiple workstations.

  • Type: Cloud backup.
  • Price: Free up to 5GB, or $149.99 every 2 years for up to 5TB.
  • Automatic backup: Yes, via the app.
  • Phone backup: Yes, via the app.

15. Mega

Privacy-focused photo storage option

A screenshot of the Mega home page
Mega will safeguard any type of file you need to store or share.

Born in 2013 from the ashes of the infamous Megaupload, Mega is a one-of-a-kind storage service from New Zealand. It focuses on privacy and keeps your files safe from indiscrete eyes thanks to end-to-end private encryption.

Users can enjoy up to 50GB of free storage–the most of any free service we have listed. Plus there are no bandwidth limitations, as well as plenty of seamless cross-platform integrations, allowing you to upload, share, and access your data quickly and securely. Mega’s apps and web client boasts a clean interface, for easy file management. It also supports photo previews, videos, and documents. Automatic backups are possible via the dedicated desktop and mobile apps.

Type: Cloud storage.
Price: Up to 50GB free, or $29.99 per month for up to 8TB.
Automatic backup: Yes, via an app.
Phone backup: Yes (photos and videos).

Online Storage Matters

A tablet screen and keyboard showing file folders
Ensure all your files are backed up online with an online photo storage provider. Photo by Daniel Korpai on Unsplash.

Online photo storage provides users with the convenience of access to all their work, at any time, anywhere.

Of course, physical drives still have a place in every photographer’s home and workflow.

But online storage also means you don’t have to rely on an army of portable hard drives to access your work or payout for a Network Attached Storage (NAS) solution.

The other aspect is peace of mind. Cloud storage companies have the means to keep multiple copies of your photos and videos on their servers, thus safeguarding against any type of loss.

Storing an extra copy of your photos in one of these online storage sites will ensure you don’t lose your photos if your hard drive fails, is stolen or is lost.

How to Choose the Right Online Photo Storage Service

Before choosing an online photo storage service, you should think about what your necessities are. Here are a few considerations to bear in mind when deciding how to invest:

  • Capacity: How much data do you need to store? Do you need a copy of a massive catalog of images? If so, maybe Backblaze will do. Do you need to send finished projects to clients? If so, Google Drive or Dropbox’s free plans may be enough;
  • Accessibility: Do you need quick access to your files across multiple devices? Or perhaps you need to work on them directly from the cloud? If so, something like pCloud or Adobe Creative Cloud would give you more flexibility;
A person taking a photo with their smartphone of food laid out on a table
Do you need to be able to share images to the cloud from mobile devices? Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash.
  • Supported file types: Do you need to store many file types? If so, make sure the service you choose supports them. There’s no point in buying Flickr Pro, for example, if you need to backup RAW files;
  • Selling: Do you need to present or sell your images? If so, make sure the site you choose supports galleries or previews, such as 500px or SmugMug; Related article: Photography Pricing Guide.
  • Price: Evaluate your needs carefully to judge which is the right investment for you. Free accounts may be ample for your needs; and
  • Network speed: It will take time to create a full backup of your photos online if your internet speed is slow. If this is the case, maybe look into buying external drives to store images safely off-site.

Conclusion

We’ve given you a comprehensive run-down of the best online photo storage solutions on the market at the moment.

There is something here for everyone. Which is your favorite? Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the author

Ramesh Yahathugoda

My love for photography started when I went on a hiking trip to Alberta's Banff national park. I have more than 10 years of experience shooting nature and landscape photography and I am a member of Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC).

My passion is to help others become better photographers. I share photography knowledge and review camera gear on PhotoBlog's official blog to achieve that goal. In my spare time, I love to read, run, and go on hikes! To see my latest adventures, visit my travel photography blog here on PhotoBlog.com

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