Keep your favorite memories safe with the best online photo storage sites around
It wasn't that long ago when photo storage meant deciding on which photo album was best: the scrapbook style binder or one with plastic sheets that you would slip the photos into. A photo album was a binder of memories, faces, and events we wanted to remember.
Now our photos live everywhere from Facebook to Instagram to some mysterious place in "the cloud" that you may or may not remember the password for. It can seem like finding the best online photo storage site is like finding a needle in a haystack. Every site seems to offer the same thing, but is it really as simple as picking the one with the best price? Not quite.
The best online photo storage sites for keeping your memories safe
1. Google Photos
On the surface, Google Photos seems like an ideal photo storage option. It's free, you get unlimited storage, and you can access your photos from any device. Google's authoritative search experience comes with Photos, making it easy to search visually for what you want, and you can even create collages and GIFs.
So is there a downside? For the casual user, there may not be. More advanced photographers may find the 16-megapixel limit doesn't provide the clarity and resolution they prefer. It's also worth noting that Google may not be the most secure option out there. They're also well-known for tracking user data, so don't be surprised if you start finding more ads popping up on your web travels.
OneDrive comes from Microsoft, which also means that it interfaces well with Microsoft platforms like Windows 10. OneDrive offers 15 GB of free storage for anyone, but if you're an Office 365 user, you get 1 TB of free storage. That's a lot of pictures!
OneDrive automatically tags your images to make searching easier, and it also keeps camera data for photographers who use different equipment.
Flickr may be the godfather of online photo storage. They offer 1 TB of free storage and the ability to view and download photos in their original resolution. That also comes with advertising, unless you opt to upgrade to the premium service.
Shoebox may be one of the best online photo storage options simply because photo storage is their sole purpose in business. It's a relatively straightforward photo storage site with some basic editing tools. Shoebox offers bank-level encryption and is one of the few services to offer free unlimited photo storage.
The catch here is that photos are limited to a resolution of 10.6 megapixels. That's probably fine for most users, but serious photographers may want to upgrade to the Pro plan, which offers original quality photo backups.
Photobucket is another classic cloud-based photo storage platform. The free version gives you 2 GB of storage space, or for $8.00 monthly, you can get 100 GB. Photobucket has built-in editing tools, but the real selling point, at least for some users, is the option to buy merchandise emblazoned with your photos. Coffee mugs, tote bags, and even blankets are all possibilities.
6. Canon irista
Canon, long-known for making professional-grade cameras, has branched into online photo storage, too. Irista, as their system is known, is user-friendly and a free account comes with 15 GB of space. You can get 100 GB for $2.99 per month or go for 1 TB for $12.99 monthly. Along with increased storage, the premium plan is ideal "if you shoot in RAW," since all photos remain in their original size and quality.
iCloud, from Apple, offers Mac users an easy way to store photos in the cloud with automatic uploads. iCloud comes with 5 GB of free storage and has several upgrade options. iCloud makes it simple to share photos across devices, send them through email, or even print them out if you like.
SmugMug may be the most seasoned (dare we say best?) online photo storage option around. SmugMug isn't free, but the basic plan is only $3.99 per month and you get a lot for your money.
SmugMug lets you create your own photo website with unlimited photo uploads, drag and drop organization, password-protected galleries, easy sharing options, 24/7 support, and video tutorials—and that's just some of what you get with the basic version. Other plans let you add custom watermarks and open an online store to sell your images.
Is there really a "best" online photo storage option?
Online photo storage certainly has perks. The ability to access and share your photos from anywhere might be one of the biggest. And it’s certainly nice to know your photos won’t get accidentally thrown away or ruined by someone spilling soda on them at your next summer get-together. But there are some downsides.
If you have a lot of photos and pay for online photo storage, there will always be a cost associated with storing and looking at your favorite memories. Although some sites, like Canon's irista, will still let you download your photos even if you decide to cancel your subscription.
And, of course, there’s also no guarantee that prices won’t increase or the company you choose for storage won’t go out of business. For this reason, it may behoove you to decide on your favorite online photo storage option but also print your favorite photos to keep in an "old-fashioned" photo album.
With all those photos stored in your computer and phone, keeping up with your homeowners insurance is a good way to ensure you can recover those precious memories sooner in the event of a disaster. Call your local Pekin Insurance agent today and find out how insurance is a smart move for hanging on to those great photos.