As a keen photographer with plenty of photographs to store and share, a good cloud storage solution comprising of plenty of space, useful gallery features and great sharing functionality is rapidly becoming a must have tool!
In this guide I will be looking at some of the key components which a good photography related cloud storage solution should feature, this means not only focusing those services which are good for storage but also those which go the extra mile and bring functionality which will really help in managing photographs in the cloud.
I will also then be comparing some of the best cloud providers available as of today and looking at how they compare against each other and how well they meet the needs of the more photography minded user.
Our Top 5 Favourite Cloud Storage for Photographers
Essential Cloud Functionality for Photographers
Whilst most cloud storage providers will offer a place to store photos safely away form your computer, when looking for such storage as a keen photographer there are several additional features which can add a lot of additional value to the offering.
Built-in gallery and editing features, automatic synchronisation with a smartphone, device backup plus any built-in photo editing features are all really useful additions, as is a provider which delivers a large allocation of storage for a very low cost!
Built-in Viewing Gallery
One of the most important features for many photographers storing photos in the cloud will be a cloud based gallery viewing tool!
Such a gallery tool makes browsing through any photos quick and easy and, thanks to the use of the cloud, even if you don’t have the original versions on your current device or memory card then they can still be seen and shared in such a gallery view.
Built-in Sharing Features
Most cloud storage now comes with at lest some form of sharing functionality built-in. It does, however, vary between different providers as to how detailed the sharing tools are and advanced sharing features such as password protected sharing might be available at some providers but not others.
With modern smartphones featuring such amazing cameras of late, you might be tempted to do a lot of you photography on a smartphone device instead of a more traditional camera.
Being this the case, there are a growing number of cloud storage providers now offering smartphone apps which will, amongst other things, automatically upload any photos taken on your device to your cloud storage for you!
This can be a real benefit as it removes any manual workflow usually involved with photography and will leave you with photos which are ready to share and safely stored on the cloud just moments after taking them!
Built-in Editing Tools
Some cloud storage providers now offer some form of image editing software built into their cloud offering!
Whilst this cloud based photo editing might not yet be a replacement for a full desktop based photo editing suite, it does allow quick photo editing fixes to be easily applied whilst on the go using nothing but a smartphone device.
Multiple Device Synchronisation
It is not uncommon for creative professionals to work across multiple devices these days, even as a keen amateur photographer it is highly likely you will have at least 2 devices in use and being able to keep all of your files in synchronisation with each other across these devices can be of great benefit.
Many cloud storage providers now offer some kind of “desktop” application, such applications usually provide a special “Sync Folder” which will work in the background and keep any files and folders within this folder synchronised across all devices connected to the account (and will automatically update any changes made on any one device to all other devices).
Low Cost Storage
Not a feature per se, but having access to a generous allocation of cloud storage is very helpful for any photographer and will make the process of managing your photos in the cloud much easier (versus constantly having to move and delete photos to stay within a small quota).
As such, choosing a cloud storage plan with good basic allocations of storage and reasonable upgrade plans is vital and is something which should be considered form the very beginning to help avoid wasted time switching provides later on!
Our Top 5 Favourite Cloud Storage for Photographers
Finally, in this section of this guide I will be comparing some of the best cloud storage offerings with an emphasis on those which are ideal for anyone keen on photography.
Be sure to check the requirements for each cloud storage product carefully before making any purchase and, if possible, always try to take advantage of any free trials to make sure the solution works for you before signing-up!
1. Google Drive (Google One)
Google Drive is one of our favourite cloud storage providers and is especially suited to photographers thanks to accompanying tools and services which make it a great choice for storing, sharing and managing a whole library of photos in the cloud.
The first accompanying tool is the Google Photos service, a tool which is integrated within Google Drive itself and provides an easy to use gallery ideal for browsing through any photos stored on the cloud. The Google Photos app itself can be installed on iOS and Android smartphones and provides an automatic photo upload feature meaning any photographs can be instantly uploaded to Google Drive straight after you take then.
The Google Drive app itself can be installed on both Windows PCs and MacOS devices and allows, amongst many other cloud storage features, the ability to keep all important files (such as any photographs) automatically in sync between multiple devices on the account!
Google Drive is now part of the Google One service which is priced on the following levels:
- 15GB – Free
- 100GB – $1.99/month or $19.99/year
- 200GB – $2.99/month or $29.99/year
- 1TB – $9.99/month or $99.99/year
pCloud is one of the leading cloud storage companies offering a highly secure and privacy focused platform which is ideal for easily storing and sharing photographs wherever you go!
Once any photos are added to pCloud, either manually via the pCloud web interface, the cloud drive mapping software or automatically via the pCloud app for iOS or Android, they will be visible in the pCloud interface and users can make use of the useful gallery view to easily browse through them.
When it comes to sharing photographs, pCloud have a particularly strong offering and allow users to share images via a URL or email and (optionally) make use of password password protection and automatically expiring links, all together making for a much more secure sharing experience than is offered by many other cloud services.
Pricing is also very reasonable with good value yearly and lifetime plans plus a very generous 10GB free account ideal for those wanting to test the service before committing to a purchase. The full pricing as of time of writing is:
- Free (10GB)
- Premium (500GB) – $59.88 / Year or $480 / Lifetime access
Premium Plus (2TB) – $119.88 / Year or $980 / Lifetime access
MEGA is a fully featured, highly secure and privacy focused cloud storage solution, it is notable for offering some very generous storage quotas and competitive pricing plans making it ideal for those who like to take, store and share many photographs via the cloud!
Add on to this solid offering some of the many additional features available with MEGA.NZ such as the excellent smartphone app which can automatically upload photos from an iOS or Android device, the excellent secure file sharing functionality, the cloud drive software for MacOS and Windows and a great gallery view interface, all together these add up to help make MEGA.NZ a great choice for photographers.
One of the other great features of MEGA.NZ is that they secure (encrypt) all files on the users device before any transfers take place, by default this makes MEGA.NZ easily one of the most secure cloud storage providers as of today! This security also extends to their file sharing service whereby a file can optionally be password protected as it is shared to ensure the contents are safe should the link find its way into the wrong hands.
Pricing wise, MEGA.NZ offer a free 20GB account plus the ability to upgrade to premium accounts with as much as a massive 16TB of cloud storage available! The pricing as of time of writing is:
Free Plan (20GB)
Pro Lite (400GB) – $5.88 / Month
Pro I (2TB) – $11.78 / Month
Pro II (8TB) – $23.57 / Month
Pro III (16TB) – 35.36 / Month
4. Microsoft OneDrive
OneDrive from Microsoft is another excellent choice for photographers thanks to generous storage quotas on offer alongside many useful cloud features for managing photos including an app for automatic photo uploads and excellent built-in file sharing functionality.
Once set-up and running, this smartphone app (available for iOS and Android) allows any photos taken on a smartphone device to be automatically uploaded to OneDrive straight after they have been taken. Once in the cloud, photos can easily be browsed through, shared and even edited via the OneDrive interface thanks to the built-in photo editing tools!
With the photo management functionality aside, OneDrive also features many other useful features and tools including, on certain plans, access to the Microsoft Office suite of applications alongside a very generous 1TB of cloud storage in total.
Pricing for Microsoft OneDrive (at time of writing) is as follows:
OneDrive Basic (5GB) – Free!
OneDrive Standalone 100GB – $1.99 / Month
Microsoft 365 Personal (1B) – $6.99 / Month or $69.99 / Year
Microsoft 365 Family (6TB / 6 people) – $9.99 / Month or $99.99 / Year
iDrive is one of the leading cloud storage and cloud backup tools and with this, naturally, a great resource for storing and managing your photos whilst they are in the cloud.
As can be seen above, the iDrive gallery functionality makes browsing and searching for photos quick and easy as it does selecting one or more and then sharing them via email or a special URL link.
An app is available for both iOS and Android which supports automatically uploading photos to iDrive as they are taken in addition to desktop software which supports file syncretisation and PC backup to the 5TB+ of storage available on the generous premium iDrive plans (pricing details below):
iDrive Personal (5TB) – $79.50 / Year or $159 / 2 Years
iDrive Personal (10TB) – $159 / Year or $199 / 2 Years
Our Top 5 Favourite Cloud Storage for Photographers