Your phone can store only so many photos. Even if it holds thousands of images, you'll be glad to have a backup should you misplace it.
And cloud storage is cheap, convenient, and capacious. And especially for photos, an online service could do more than just warehouse your images. Many of the online photo services offer an effortless way to sync photos and then organize, share, and perhaps even edit them online.
While none of the cloud-storage services offers a perfect combination of storage space, convenience, price and availability across platforms, each excels in different ways, so you should be able to find one that meets your needs.
1. Adobe Creative Cloud
If you subscribe to Adobe's Creative Cloud -- whether you have the focused photography plan that includes Lightroom CC and Photoshop or the entire collection of nearly 2 dozen apps -- you get access to Adobe Creative Cloud storage (download for Android and iOS), which starts at 20GB and tops out at 1TB. You can post, share, or just show off your photos via the cloud as well as use the online service's editing tools to adjust the look of your images.
Download.com and Adobe invite you to become a Creative Cloud Member today and save up to 15 percent on your first year. Offer valid from June 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019, for customers of Download.com only.
2. Amazon Photos
For free, Amazon Photos (download for Android and iOS) comes with 5GB of space for storing images and lets you automatically sync photos from your phone to the cloud. If that feels tight, you can get more photo cloud storage starting at 100GB for $11.99 per year. And the good news, if you have a Prime membership, you'll get unlimited photo storage. The service also comes with basic photo editing tools to crop and adjust brightness and contrast, for example. The service can also handle the RAW image format.
Amazon's service offers a simple way to sync, organize, share, and edit photos. If you have a Prime account, it's an effortless way to back up your photos. But Amazon Photos lacks robust tools found in some other online photo storage services.
Backblaze (download for Android and iOS) is an industrial-strength backup service that lets you back up files, documents, and photos -- the entire contents of your storage devices -- to Backblaze's cloud service. You can have Backblaze automatically back up files as you go or schedule backups. And you can restore older versions going back 30 days either through a downloaded file or -- in a pinch -- from a flash drive Backblaze sends you with your backup on it. Pricing starts at $5 a month per computer.
If you're part of a team that uses Box for collaboration or remote storage, you may already have a spot in the cloud waiting for you to store photos. Plans start at $45 a month for 3 users and unlimited storage.
You may know it as a file hosting service that lets you sync local files and folders with Dropbox servers. But the Dropbox service (download for Android and iOS) also has a camera upload tool that can automatically add photos from your camera or phone to Dropbox's Camera Uploads folder to serve as a photo backup. And you can view your photos in the app. Dropbox plans for individuals start at 1TB of storage for $8.25 a month and go to 2TB for $16.58 a month, which also gets you richer syncing tools.
After more than a decade of ownership by Yahoo -- whose hot-and-cold attitude to the image-sharing service managed to exasperate at one time or another much of the community of the popular website -- Flickr (download for Android and iOS) passed to a new owner in 2018, with the promise of making Flickr a vibrant -- and sustainable -- photo service.
To help revitalize Flickr, its new owner, SmugMug, is rolling a $49.99 annual subscription aimed at serious photographers that includes unlimited cloud storage, photo stats, and ad-free browsing. A free version lets you store 1,000 images on the service and participate in communities. (If you took advantage of the previous free 1TB of photo storage, now might be a good time to download those images before something happens to them.)
Note: Flickr doesn't accept RAW files, which can be a deal-breaker if you are looking for offsite backup of your work. But if you want a photo community where you can share and show off your images, Flickr is worth checking out.
7. Google Photos
Google Photos automatically syncs your photos -- and videos -- with the cloud via a mobile app (download for Android and iOS) and desktop app (download for Windows and MacOS). You'll get unlimited photo storage if you use Google's high-quality compression setting for images. Using Google's compression scheme, photos under 16 megapixels are untouched; photos larger are resized. If you want to store your images uncompressed, the first 15GB of online photo cloud storage is free; additional storage starts at $1.99 per month for 100GB. Your Google Drive contents, Gmail, and photos count toward the online storage limit. (If you have a Pixel phone, you get unlimited storage for your photos.)
Google Photos automatically assigns categories to images, sorting by people, places, and things -- so you can search for "cats" or "cars," for example, and pull up all relevant images. But you can't assign your own tags, which is annoying if you use categories to search for images.
Both the mobile and online version of Google Photos provide rich and useful photo-editing tools and filters to quickly improve the look of your images. And you can of course easily share photos with others.
8. Microsoft OneDrive
With Microsoft's OneDrive (download for Android and iOS) cloud service, you can upload and sync images from your phone and then organize and share your images. You can tag and add captions to photos via a web browser, but you can't edit online; any image-manipulation you want to do happens on your device. You can upload original files or have OneDrive resize images to save space.
A free version gives you 5GB of cloud storage space. Move to 50GB of OneDrive storage for $1.99 a month. A better deal is to sign up for $6.99 a month and get Microsoft Office for PC or Mac in the deal.
Mylio (download for Android and iOS) takes an interesting approach to keeping your photos safe and makes the cloud optional, instead syncing images across your devices using a peer-to-peer connection over Wi-Fi. You can import images from your computer, Facebook, Flickr, camera, and SD cards and manage them from any connected device. Cloud storage is available of you want to get away from your local hard drive.
A free plan lets you sync 25,000 photos over three devices. For $8.33 a month, you can sync 100,000 photos across five devices and get robust photo-editing tools; $20.83 a month gives you 12 devices and 500,000 photos, plus editing tools. The company also offers a free version just for iOS or for Android devices that gives you 500,000 photos and the editing tools. Mylio has a slick approach to distributed photo storage and management, and if you'd rather keep your images close to home, it may be the way to go.
As much of a commerce site as a place to safely store your photos, SmugMug (download for Android and iOS) is designed for the professional -- and the very serious -- photographer. It offers e-commerce services to help you sell your photos, including creating your own branding online store; it has a Lightroom plug-in that lets you sync your images and metadata with SmugMug servers; it provides templates that help you share, show off, or sell your images; and, of course, it stores your images on its servers.
Plans start at $3.99 a month for a basic package that includes unlimited photo uploads and a customizable website to $29.99 a month for a turnkey storefront with your own domain name. The iOS and Android app let you show off your portfolio on your phone, browse your galleries and folders, and auto-upload photos to your account.
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