It’s one thing to lose all your contacts off your phone, but it’s another story to lose all your photos. Unlike contacts, accidentally deleted photos can’t be recovered unless they’re backed up somewhere.
The conventional method of backing up photos was to use one of the best external hard drives for photography. But now, with more sophisticated cloud computing, photographers, families, and media-focused businesses are opting for cloud storage to save their photos.
Before we go further, did you know Amazon Prime offers unlimited cloud storage for photos? You can also save 5GB of video. That’s right, Prime members can enjoy several benefits. It’s not just about getting next-day delivery for pistachios.
Best Overall Cloud Storage for Photos: pCloud
Best Inexpensive Cloud Storage for Photos: Sync
Best Value Cloud Storage for Photos: Amazon Photos
Best Free Cloud Storage for Photos: Flickr
Why Use Cloud Storage for Photos?
Cloud storage is best for photos — and all other file types — because images are synced across multiples devices.
If you take a photo from your smartphone, most cloud storage apps allow the photo to be automatically uploaded to your tablet or computer. The opposite is also true. If you upload RAW files from your camera via your desktop, they’ll sync with your smartphone or tablet, allowing mobile image editing.
Furthermore, cloud storage allows sharable, unaltered images via link. Many free email providers, social media sites, and messaging services limit or reduce photos’ resolution/file size.
And as long as you have an internet connection, there’s no need to have an external hard drive.
Of course, the downside of cloud storage is paying for a subscription beyond any included free storage. This is where external hard drives save you money.
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10 Best Cloud Storage for Photos
Perhaps iDrive’s greatest advantage lies in its flexibility. Mac or PC, Android or iOS, if you have an internet connection, you’ll be able to access your images synced up to the latest versions with an iDrive account.
iDrive offers 5GB of storage for free with its Basic plan. Upgrading to their Personal plan will get either 5 or 10TB. iDrive plans offer two pricing options encouraging users to buy into a two-year account. 5TB (normally 2TB) costs $52.12 for the first year, $104.25 for two years; 10TB costs $74.62 for the first year, $149.25 for two years. At the time of writing, iDrive is offering up to fifty percent off on their plans.
The service does not offer a family plan per se, though a family could use the Teams plan theoretically. It offers anywhere from five computers and users up to fifty computers and users. These plans could stretch a family budget with the 10TB, 10-user option costings as much for one year as two years of Personal. iDrive is more geared to the lone photographer.
Dropbox is on the stingier side with their free storage, offering only 2GB, though accessible on up to three devices. The maximum online storage space jumps to 2TB, or 2,000GB, for both their Plus and Family Plans.
These plans charge monthly if you don’t wish to be locked into a yearly agreement or pay an entire year at a lower rate. Individual Plus comes to $11.99 a month, or $119.88 a year, while the Family plan is just under twice that at $19.99, or $203.88 a year. Users can save hard drive space utilizing the Dropbox Smart Sync, with no fear of losing photos under the protection of its thirty-day Dropbox Rewind recovery.
Images on Dropbox can be accessed from any device. With the reasonable Family plan pricing and the convenient Family Room folder, this makes it an excellent choice for families looking to share images over cloud storage.
pCloud is interesting because they offer the usual annual pricing plans but also a lifetime one-time payment option. Their 500GB Premium plan could cost you $47.88 a year or one payment of $175. Going up to Premium Plus for the 2TB storage could cost $95.88 every year or $350 just once. On top of the additional space, Premium Plus would be better suited for professional photographers and enthusiasts. pCloud describes Plus as suited for those “regularly exchanging very large files.”
Livedrive allows for customization in its plans, letting you pick based on your storage needs and how much you’d like to pay. And pay you’ll need to; Livedrive does not offer free storage options in any GB capacity.
They’ve split their Personal plan into three categories: Backup, Briefcase, and Pro Suite. Backup, at $8.99 per month, is just as it sounds, unlimited cloud backup for one PC or Mac. Briefcase for $16 per month allows users to access and edit their images through both desktop and mobile apps with up to 2TBs of storage. Pro Suite combines features of the two with a $25 price tag. For the same combined price as Backup and Briefcase, it offers four more computer backups and an additional 3TB of space.
While no free option creates a barrier to the more casual user, Livedrive offers an unlimited backup service at a comparatively low rate. It can be accessed on any device but only with Briefcase or Pro Suite. The Pro Suite is almost a necessity for professional photographers, and there is no practical family plan.
5. Google Photos
Google Photos comes with the Google brand that lends it a certain pedigree and accessibility other cloud storage services will find difficult to match. Anyone who has a Google Account, and if you use Gmail, then you have a Google Account, already has access to Google Photos.
With Google Photos, you get a free 15GB of storage though this does get shared not just with photos but also with any emails and anything on your Google Drive. Upgrading to the Google One plan for more storage can vary in price. An additional 100GB costs $1.99 per month, 200GB costs $2.99 per month, and a 2TB (remember, that’s 2,000 GB) option is $9.99 a month.
Every tier of Google One includes adding family members, and photos are accessed anywhere you can log into your Google Account. This cloud storage explicitly cares about photos. RAW photos untouched are supported and viewable online. On top of cloud storage, Google Photos offers built-in editing and printing services.
If you have an iPhone or iPad, you likely have some experience with iCloud, Apple’s cloud storage service. It’s the easiest of them to use if you already have an iPhone. Thumb a slider in settings, and all the photos on your phone will be automatically stored in iCloud.
5GB of free storage comes with just setting up iCloud, but Apple offers a three-tier path to more space. An extra 50GB can be purchased for $0.99 a month. Going up to 200GB costs $2.99 per month, and the 2TB plan is $9.99 per month. Family support is included.
Being native to Apple devices lowers its accessibility to a degree. It’s available on Windows computers, but the support isn’t nearly as high. Still, iCloud is a solid option, especially if you’re doing most of your photography through the Apple ecosystem.
Sync emphasizes security and ease of use. They offer a free cloud storage Starter plan, giving users 5GB to try out the platform and see if it’s right for them.
Going up to the Basic Solo costs $96 for a year of 2TB storage. Solo Standard goes up to 3TB for $120 billed annually, and Solo Plus at $180 a year gives 4TB. Sync boasts top-of-the-line encryption and apps on every device, ensuring users can access their photos no matter where they are.
There is no family plan, though there is no limit on sharing data, and users can share what they store in their Sync account to people without a Sync account. Sync offers a robust recovery system, allowing for recovery of deleted or corrupted files from up to a year in the past.
8. Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud is less of a cloud storage service, though it certainly is that, and more of a comprehensive photography platform.
Creative Cloud is ideal for serious photographers looking to store their RAW high-resolution photos. The Photography plan offers just 20GB for $9.99 a month, but it comes with Photoshop and Lightroom for desktop and mobile. Going up to the 1TB Photography plan raises the price to $19.99 monthly. Each plan can be upgraded with extra space at $9.99 for each additional terabyte.
The Photography plan’s all-in-one nature makes it perfect for professional photographers, enthusiasts, and parents that want to improve their family photos. All your images and necessary editing tools are at your fingertips.
9. Microsoft OneDrive
OneDrive is another cloud storage platform offering more than just online storage services. At the bottom of the offerings is their OneDrive Basic plan with 5GBs of free storage. Going up to 100GBs of space costs $1.99 per month. The next tier is their Microsoft 365 Personal plan, which includes a terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage and the whole suite of Microsoft Office products like Word and PowerPoint accessible across multiple devices.
The Personal plan can cost either $69.99 for an entire year or $6.99 per month. Microsoft 365 Family, going for $99.99 a year or $9.99 per month, offers all the perks of Personal with up to six users and 6TB of space, or 1TB per person.
The breadth of products included in the OneDrive subscriptions with its competitive pricing is more than enough to warrant its consideration from amateurs and professionals alike.
10. Amazon Prime
Most people with an Amazon Prime membership think of free one-day shipping. However, the Prime plan includes unlimited photo storage.
A Prime plan costs $119 per year and $59 for students. It comes with desktop and mobile apps, so syncing across multiple devices is effortless. You can also edit your images with Amazon Photos. The cloud storage for photos also supports some RAW files. But the rendering is not the best.
But you can forget about saving videos with Prime because only 5GB for video is included.
If you’re looking for full-blown cloud storage, then you’ll have to move away from Prime and purchase Amazon Drive. But the other cloud storage for photos on this list are better than Amazon Drive due to ease of use and features available.
Whichever cloud storage option you choose, make sure they can save RAW photos (nearly all of them do).
It’s best to try out the free plans and sync some of your photos across multiple devices and get a feel for the ecosystem. If you don’t care too much about syncing and want a place to store your JPG photos, Flickr is a great free alternative provided by Yahoo.
Frequently Asked Questions
pCloud is the best cloud storage for photos because they offer monthly and lifetime plans for photographers, families, and businesses. Their app syncs all your photos across all devices is and your data is secure.
Many cloud storage companies provide 2 to 5GB of free space. After the free storage is used up, a monthly fee will be required. On the other hand, Flickr is a great free alternative if you simply want to save your JPG photos.