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What is the best (and cheapest) way to store my collection of photos online?

The time has come: change the ‘smartphone’. The memory of the old man is full of images from so many years of parties and trips. You have to keep them forever. Taking them to an external hard drive or computer takes time: you must have the device, connect it, wait for it to be transmitted … How about saving it in the cloud?

Storing ‘online’ our collection of photos is a simple way to always have all those images available. Do not depend on another device, which can be lost or degraded over time, to access them; just remember a username, an email and a password, in addition to having a connection to the already ubiquitous internet. The available services have strong security measures and will not disappear overnight, but if they do, they will notify us in advance to migrate the collection to another place.

Having said that, there are several options to choose where to store our photos. They are differentiated by their prices and storage capacities, but also by extra utilities such as sharing photos in folders with other users or having tools to synchronize the collection with our computer. We explain what these services are and which ones are more interesting for that file of thousands of photos.

Google Drive and Google One

We start with a service associated with each Google account. Drive is not just a place from which to access the word processor or the ‘online’ spreadsheet of the company. It is also a perfect repository of our images. And not only that: within it we can place them in folders that we can share with other users.

When we open a Google Drive account, we already have 15 GB of free storage. However, this space is insufficient for thousands of photos in high resolution and for those that will come on the way. For this, you have several payment options, visible on the new Google One website. In the payment plan of Google One you can add up to 5 family members, with whom you can share storage (you share space but not necessarily your files, that you can save just for you).

There are five options of price: 100 GB at 1.99 euros per month or 19.99 euros per year (they give you two months of service, in this case); 200 GB for 2.99 euros per month or 29.99 euros per year; 2 TB for 9.99 euros per month or 99.99 euros per year; 10 TB for 99.99 euros per month (there is no annual option); 20 TB for 199.99 euros per month and 30 TB for 299.99 euros per month.

Currently, Google One is not available for iPhone and you have to check if it is for your Android model. In any case, once hired from a computer you can access Google Drive via mobile (iOS and Android, although the latter usually comes pre-installed on these models) and start enjoying the attractions that the service offers to store images.

To start saving images we must go to the terminal gallery and select all those that we want to store. We will ask you to upload them to Google Drive. The best thing is that we do it through a Wi-Fi connection, because it consumes a lot of data. We can say that I saved them in My unit (as the ‘home’ of our Drive account is called) or in a folder that we created or that we created at that moment.

Once uploaded and saved in your folders, we can leave them there until the end of time or send them to more people. To do this, we create a shared folder (right mouse button from the web browser or the three points next to the name of the folder on the mobile) and write the email addresses with which we want to share it. We can also generate a public link for anyone to access.

Other options that these folders have are changing their color (they all come in gray by default) or placing a star to place them in the Drive’s Featured folder. Shared folders can also be created before uploading the photos, so that, for example, friends can upload the photos of the last party you made together.

Using Google Drive and Google One allows you not only to store the images, but also videos, text files, slide shows … which also occupy your space. You can check them from your Mac or PC thanks to the Drive File Stream.

Dropbox

Functions similar to Google Drive and Google One is Dropbox, another cloud storage service with several payment plans. It highlights a tool to synchronize with your computer what you upload to the web, so that the files that you pass from your mobile to the cloud are accessible from your computer without logging in again. It offers other services, such as Dropbox Paper, a “collaborative workspace”, according to your own words, to work as a team. The tool has ‘app’ for iOS and for Android.

Dropbox has two types of plans: for “freelancers and independent workers” and for teams and companies of any size. We are going to focus on the payment plans for individuals, which are what most interest us to store the photos of our mobile.

The free individual account is 2.5 GB. To increase the storage we have two options: the Plus, of 1 TB that is worth 9.99 euros per month or 99 euros per year, or the Professional, of 2 TB and 19.99 euros per month or 199 euros per year. This second option has more utilities, especially if you also use it for work: help for chat, a history of modified versions of 120 days … If you only need it to upload and manage photos in folders, the first option should suffice .

As in Google Drive, Dropbox folders can be shared so that others can access your images and you can share them with yours. To create them, click on ‘New shared folder’ in the menu on the right of the web service

Once we upload the files, they will be synchronized with the Dropbox tool that you can download to your computer’s desktop. In this way, we can access the cloud from our computer without having to log in continuously and make the changes (delete photos, create folders) that we believe are convenient. If we make changes when we do not have a connection, the modifications will be synchronized when we reconnect to the Network.

iCloud

If you are an Apple user, all your devices have iCloud, which allows you to synchronize the files that you save in it and access them in other devices, as well as share with other people. Ideal for fans of the bitten apple. One of its main advantages is that the photos you make with your iPhone or iPad are automatically saved (it also makes periodic backups) and in high resolution in the service, while a lower quality version is left in the device. In addition, you can create shared folders with whomever you want.

It has 5 GB of free storage, but surely in the Fototeca (this is the name of the service where images and videos are stored) you need more space. Their prices are very competitive: 0.99 euros per month for 50 GB; 2.99 euros per month for 200 GB (the plan recommended by the company “for families or the same person with many photos and videos”), and 9.99 euros per month for 2 TB, presented the latter as “ideal for families “, Since you and five other people can use it.

However, iCloud has no application for the Play Store. Of course, the photos can be viewed from the File Explorer of a Windows PC, after download and configuration.

OneDrive

OneDrive is Microsoft’s service for saving photographs and documents in the cloud. Like the rest of services, it also offers free storage; in this case 5 GB. Also, in some paid versions you have Office 365, to make shared presentations or text documents.

We are going to focus on the individual options (there are also business, which offer corporate Skype). The OneDrive with 50GB costs 2 euros per month. The other two options are those that include Office 365: Personal, 1 TB and 7 euros per month or 69 per year, and Home, 6 TB and 10 euros per month or 99 euros per year.

Flickr

Maybe it is not the first option that you think about to save your images, but if your mobile is a tool for work or dissemination in social networks, you may be interested in your Pro option. With it you have statistics about the views of other users and you have a backup of what you upload. In addition, you have a 15% discount on Adobe programs such as Photoshop and other promotions in photo books. And all this, with unlimited storage.

There are two payment plans, automatic renewal. The annual, of 53.88 euros (4.99 euros per month, although a single payment is made), includes discounts on Adobe and other tools that we mentioned before, something that does not include the monthly plan (5.99 euros per month ), which is limited, like the previous one, to unlimited storage, statistics and backup.

Flickr, the most social (and public) way to store your mobile photos. (Image: Massimo Frason | Flickr)

If these plans do not satisfy you, you always have the free option, with which you can upload 1000 videos or photos. With one or another, Flickr has a more attractive design than the previous ones to show your photos to the public: on the same page you can put title and description, geolocate it and explain the technical characteristics of the image. Remember that there are apps for iOS and for Android.

Other services

There are other services to store your photographs, but they are more expensive and more intended for professionals. In addition, they are not the first options in which we think if what we want is to upload the images from our mobile. If your ‘smartphone’ is also a work tool, you may want to consider them.

You have, for example, Adobe Creative Cloud. It is a package that allows not only store, but edit and make compositions with programs such as the aforementioned Photoshop, Lightroom, Indesign, Premiere or Illustrator. There are different plans, according to the capacity that we want or the programs that we want to use. The cheapest of the individual, of 12.09 euros, has 20 GB of storage, Lightroom, Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. For 60.49 euros per month you have up to 10 TB of storage.

Also, Canon Irista. Let your name not fool you: you do not need a camera from this company to use it. In fact, the service has an Android and iOS app. There are 15 GB free and cooperative albums, and the images are saved without compression. His magnifying glass even allows to find photos by the camera with which they were shot. In addition, they can be converted into photo albums. There are two payment plans: one from 100 GB to 1.99 euros per month and another from 500 GB to 6.99 euros per month.

Conclusions

If you are an Android user or work with a Chromebook, the best option is Google Drive: you do not have to open an account in another service and you have all your files centralized. The payment options are varied, and uploading the photos and sharing them is very simple. iCloud is more limited to Apple users. If you are a fan of the brand, and you have from ‘smartphones’ to other devices, then it is also a fantastic option.

If you do not use Chromebook or Mac to manage those images, you could hesitate between Drive or Dropbox, since both have the access tool from a PC desktop. To opt for one option or another, look at what you have to pay. 1 TB of Dropbox is worth 9.99 euros per month; for the same price you have 2 TB in Google One.

On the other hand, remember that there are always several gigs of free storage. So, evaluate before buying if you fit all the photos in that space; in this way, you can postpone the purchase for a while, until it touches you again to store all your memories and if you have to inevitably pass through the box.


Also published on Medium.

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