Best Photo Storage and Sharing Solution

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Black and white family photos laid on wooden floor background.

Now that my kids are past two years, I look back at the hundreds of gigabytes of old photos with wistful nostalgia. The only thing I wish – that I had taken more videos of theirs, for photos are not enough to refresh the memories. Why did I not take enough videos – it was because my phone storage got exhausted very quickly. I did not have an effective way of cleaning up the storage and keep taking more photos, or at least I did not get to it till it was well over a year. For this reason I thought I would add this section since over the next few years you are going to take thousands of photographs, and will find that grandparents have this insatiable need to receive photographs on a steady stream basis – especially if they are not in close proximity all the time. 

The obvious and simplest(in principle) way to backup is by copying your photos to your computer or hard disk, but somewhere in the first few months of parenting this seems almost impossible to achieve. Not to mention the possibility of these storage devices crashing and destroying all your photos(more likely with computers than with hard drives). What we want is essentially to store the images in the cloud – which is the term given to backing up data to offsite service providers via the internet. 

 

Here is what you should be looking for 

  1. Easy way to backup your photos without having to manually transfer the photos.
  2. Easy way to share the best photos
  3. Private and Public Galleries
  4. Ability to order prints.
  5. Ability to download them back whenever you need them.
  6. You want to use a service that you know is likely to be around and not disappear in the near future.
  7. Ability to search by date

 

I will talk about my recommendations and walk you through other options

  1. Google Photos – This is my top choice for backing up photos because of the following reasons

Pros

  • Free unlimited storage
  • Apps available on IOS and Android to upload photos automatically from your phone
  • It automatically enhances the photos
  • Automatic enhancement features produce fun, interesting effects, without overwriting your original images.
  • Even if your family is on a different operating systems they would all have access to google photos.

Cons

  • -Google compress your photos that are larger than 16 megapixels and videos with a higher resolution than 1080p.

Google Photos app works behind the scenes to monitor your memory to ensure that there is space available to capture more photos – alerting you in case you are running out. The app also figures out which photos have already been backed up and delete the copies saved on the phone. This is truly invaluable.

  1. Apple Icloud 

For people using iphone or mac this is a good option, since everything is built in and no setup is required. The service can sync photos and videos stored on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to your iCloud account, making your entire library available across all of your iCloud connected devices. The iCloud Photo Library is the most expensive of the services I looked at: Plans start at free for five gigabytes of space, going all the way up to $20 per month for one terabyte of storage. Editing tools on both iOS devices and Macs let you make minor edits and changes to your photos. With the Photos app on Mac, you can also create photo projects, such as printed albums or calendars.

Where it excels

  • Sharing features let you collaborate with friends and family on albums that everyone can see.
  • The service automatically organizes your photos by time, date, and/or location.

Where it falls flat

  • 5GB of free storage isn’t much compared with other services.
  • Android users can’t use iCloud Photo Library to back photos from their phone or tablet.

Other notable options

Flickr

I have been using Flickr for long and a couple of years ago they came up with redesign and a 1 TB free storage option. I was hoping they would follow up and make things better but there has been little of no progress. Storage-seekers can organize their photos into albums (dubbed “sets”) and further organize those albums into collections. Those who want to dig deeper can take advantage of features like groups, tagging, commenting, geotagging, social sharing, printing, and even statistics. Flickr also provides Web-based editing for cropping and things like red-eye removal. Flickr.com is too confusing with far too many features and the presentation of the pictures leaves a lot to be desired.

Where it excels

  • 1TB of free storage.
  • Easily configured privacy settings.
  • Fine-tuned organizational tools.

Where it falls flat

  • The website design mixes sleek, new design with dated, confusing features.
  • Uploading photos and organizing albums can be a frustrating experience as you try to navigate Flickr’s many different menus and tools.

DROPBOX

One of the most popular services for cloud backups is Dropbox. The basic (free) account offers 2GB of storage, although additional free storage can be had if you set up various linking and other options. You can also upgrade to a paid account for $9.99 per month, giving you 1TB of storage and additional sharing and management tools.

The free Dropbox app for iOS is very straightforward and easy to use too. While you can set up an auto-upload of all images from your camera roll, the real power is in organizing your photos into custom folders according to your personal preferences. 

You can also install Dropbox on your computer to make it easy to transfer files to and from your computer from your Dropbox account. You don’t have to do this though (although it can be more convenient) as you can simply log into your Dropbox account from any web browser on any device.

This is one of the best reasons to consider a cloud storage solution like Dropbox – easy access to your photos (and other stored files for that matter) from anywhere that you have internet access.

A lot of people use Facebook as a photo storage platform. The reality is that Facebook is a social network and while they want you to share your photos with your network, they don’t want to become your photo storage site – at least not yet. For this reason they have not invested as much in the features that would make it a credible option. It downsizes large size photos and when you download them back you can only expect files that “match the quality they have on Facebook”. Its also very difficult to search for photos by name, tag or date. In addition to all this – you will not be able to share photos with people who are not yet on Facebook And in case you close your account you lose all your photos. I have a lot of privacy concerns about sharing photos on Facebook and I cannot recommend it.

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