Google Photos is the home for all your photos and videos, automatically organized and easy to share. Photo Storage: Amazon Prime members get free, unlimited, full-resolution photo storage, plus 5 GB video storage.All other customers get 5 GB photo and video storage. Grow the storage plan that's right for you. Plans start at $1.99 a month and you can cancel any time.
Google is including Google Photos, with almost every Android phone nowadays. It’s difficult to say no to it, with it coming as mostly the default gallery for most smartphones. It has a lot of attractive features to it, such as entirely free Cloud photo storage that won’t eat into your Google Drive space. You can access these photos from anywhere — even on iOS devices. The unfortunate part is that the goal of Google Photos is to get photos off your phone locally, and put in the Cloud. By doing this, you won’t necessarily have quick access to your photos and videos, especially if you ever lose an Internet connection.
Google Photos In Drive
That said, you might want to look at other means for storing your favorite photos and videos. If you follow along below, we’ll show you the best options available.
Prime Photos operates reasonably similar to how Google Photos works but focuses on providing benefits for Amazon Prime users. If you’re a Prime subscriber, you get free, unlimited photo storage, whereas it’s limited as far as a free account goes. You can store all of your favorite photos and videos online with Prime Photos, and then when they’re all backed up, you can remove them from your device. Prime Photos makes it easy to share photos and videos with others, too. If you subscribe with Amazon Prime, you can give five other Prime Photos users unlimited storage as well, so long as you keep your subscription. Prime Photos has excellent syncing features as well — download Prime Photos on any device, log into your account, and you’ll have instant access.
Download it now:Google Play
Piktures focuses on being the modern gallery for your smartphone. You get a stunning gallery that meshes all of your photos and videos seamlessly together. This rich gallery can be accessed through and uploaded to Dropbox, Google Drive, and even OneDrive. There’s even an option to store more private photos (maybe photos of your children) in a Secret Drive that is password locked.
You can easily share photos with Piktures, even straight to social media. They have a couple of nice views for organizing content as well, including a Albums and Location view. You can use Piktures for free at the link below.
Google Drive To Amazon Photos
Download it now:Google Play
If you haven’t heard of Flickr before, you’ve probably been living under a rock. Flickr is run by Yahoo and has been around for a long time. It was just recently updated to meet modern standards, and now has a lot of features that are akin to Google Photos. They give you 1000GB of free data to store your photos and videos in the Cloud — you can remove them from your local storage if you so choose after this. On top of that, Flickr has a full photo and video editing suite so that you can crop, add filters, and tweak photos in different ways straight from the app. Your first 1000GB is free to use, but after that, you can purchase more storage.
Download it now:Google Play
QuickPic is another excellent option, even featuring Google Drive support. It boasts over ten million downloads, and it’s light and fast to use. It follows Google’s Material Design standards, and you can easily upload it to your Google Drive space. You can access thousands of photos with the tap of a button, and you can keep secure photos private with a secure folder that is protected with a PIN code.
Download it now:Google Play
A+ Gallery might be last on our list, but it’s still a decent alternative to Google Photos and other Cloud-based gallery apps. They copy the Google Photos design in a lot of ways, which makes the app easy to navigate and use. You can easily organize your photos, and you can even browse them by location and where you’ve taken them. You can easily lock down private photos, and you can change the overall theme of the A+ gallery to make it look a little nicer. Check it out for yourself at the link below.
Download it now:Google Play
As you can see, there are a lot of excellent Google Photos alternatives on the market. Our favorite is easily Piktures or Prime Photos. Both are free to use, though subscribing and paying for premium features can give you a leg up with these Gallery apps.
There are many useful and convenient online file storage options available, including Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Amazon Photos and Adobe Creative Cloud. All have limitations and issues for the high-volume photographer looking to keep their photos backed up online.
The size of my photo library has exploded in the past few years. The combination of professional shooting engagements and more adventure trips has increased the number of photos that I shoot. The huge resolution of my newer cameras has dramatically increased the file size of each photo.
I use Lightroom to organize and process my photos, and I protect against disk failure by storing my photos on a redundant array of disks (RAID). I’m also pretty good about keeping a second copy of the photos on another drive at my house. However, this strategy doesn’t help with a burglary, electrical surge or fire at my house, so offsite backup is needed.
Online file storage providers have easy-to-use syncing and backup apps that allow you to backup and access photos across all of your devices. For the occasional photographer, the storage provided is probably more than adequate. For the high-volume professional or serious photographer, all of the services fail for one reason or another.
My current photo library has 130,000+ photos, which take up 3.5 TB+ of space. In 2018, I added 44,000 photos that take up 1.9 TB+ of space.
Given that size of a photo library, let’s take a look at the limitations of each service as an offsite backup solution for photography.
Dropbox currently offers the following plans for individuals and businesses:
- Plus – 1 TB storage – $99/year
- Professional – 2 TB storage – $198/year
- Standard – 3 TB storage – 3 user minimum- $450/year
- Advanced – Unlimited storage – 3 user minimum – $720/year
For the size of my photo library, only a Business Advanced subscription, with the 3-user minimum meets my needs. While it would work, they don’t allow you to buy a single-user license for $20/month. It requires a 3-user minimum that comes in at a pricey $720/year.
Xampp user guide. Google Drive provides 15 GB of storage for free with your Google account, which isn’t going to get you very far with photos. They offer the following paid plans through Google One:
- 100 GB – $19.99/year
- 200 GB – $29.99/year
- 2 TB – $99.99/year
- 10 TB – $1,199.88/year
- 20 TB – $2,399.88/year
- 30 TB – $3,599.88/year
While Google offers enough storage, I would need the 10 TB plan, which is even more expensive than Dropbox, coming in at a whopping $1,200/year.
Google also offers Google Drive cloud storage as part of their G Suite applications, if you happen to pay to host your email there. Google Drive in G Suite does provide unlimited storage for $10/user/month, but they limit the storage to 1 TB unless you have 5 users. With the 5 user minimum, this would cost $600/year, and while it is a better deal than the Google One plans, it is still quite expensive.
Microsoft offers a variety of OneDrive storage plans, some included in their Office 365 subscriptions. Their free OneDrive plans only offer 5 GB of storage. Here are the other paid plans:
- OneDrive 50 GB – $23.88/year
- Office 365 Personal – 1 TB storage – $69.99/year
- Office 365 Home – 6 TB total storage/1 TB per user – $99.99/year
- OneDrive for Business Plan 1 – 1 TB/user – $60/year
- OneDrive for Business Plan 2 – Unlimited storage – 5 user minimum – $600/year
Microsoft’s Office 365 Home technically provides enough storage for me, but it is limited to 1 TB per user account, so you have to go through contortions of creating and splitting your storage across multiple OneDrive accounts.
OneDrive for Business also has enough storage available, but like Google’s G Suite, Microsoft requires a 5 user minimum to get unlimited storage, otherwise, you are restricted to 1 TB. That plan matches Google’s pricey $600/year option.
Microsoft, Google and Dropbox all target their services towards general file storage. Amazon, on the other hand, recently changed the name of their cloud storage solution to Amazon Photos, reflecting a specific focus on photography, not general file storage.
Amazon offers the following storage plans for Amazon Photos:
- 100 GB – $11.99/year
- 1 TB – $59.99/year
- Unlimited photo storage/5 GB video storage included with Amazon Prime – $119/year
If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, and many people already are, the inclusion of unlimited photo storage along with free shipping, Amazon Video, Amazon Music and more makes this a screaming deal compared to the other file storage options.
I actually attempted to use Amazon Photos with my photo library in Lightroom but ran into two limitations.
One mode that Amazon Photos offers is called backup. Point the app at a folder or folders on your computer, and it will automatically keep them backed up. This works great, with one exception.
If you edit photos like JPG or TIFF files, or if you store RAW file edits in XMP sidecar files, Amazon Photos does back those up, but it creates timestamped versions of the files every time they change. This happens when you make photo edits, but it can also happen if you simply make a change in embedded metadata like keywords. When you go to restore, you get one or more versions of the file with all of these timestamps.
Yes, everything is backed up, but restoring from a catastrophe will leave you with a different catastrophe with lots of versions of various files if you have made edits.
I also tried the sync capability of Amazon Photos. Sync keeps folders on your computers in sync with cloud storage on Amazon Photos. It works without the mess of these timestamped versions of files but introduces a different problem in Lightroom.
I tried moving some of my photo folders into a folder synced with Amazon Photos. The process worked fine, but in Lightroom, I’m getting a Metadata Status of “Changed on Disk.” Apparently the act of Amazon Photos syncing a file changes the file metadata on the disk. Lightroom gives a warning saying that metadata for this photo has been changed by another application. Should Lightroom import settings from disk or overwrite from the catalog?
Since I can’t tell what exactly these metadata changes are, the resolution to this isn’t super clear, and I don’t want my Lightroom catalog filled with “metadata changed” warnings.
Adobe Creative Cloud
Outside of my camera and my computer, no tool is more important to my photography than my Creative Cloud subscription from Adobe. I pay $58/month for access to all of the Creative Cloud apps, but it only includes 100 GB of cloud storage. Here is a list of the storage upgrade prices for Creative Cloud:
- 1 TB – $132.12/year
- 2 TB – $264.24/year
- 5 TB – $660.60/year
- 10 TB – $1,321.20/year
The online storage option directly integrated with my photo software is the worst deal of the bunch. Adobe’s storage plans may be convenient, but they are very expensive.
Google, Microsoft and Dropbox do offer large-capacity file storage solutions for photographers, but you are going to face a minimum number of users and very high annual prices for the service. Adobe’s solution is even more expensive.
Amazon Photos offers a great deal with unlimited photos as part of an Amazon Prime subscription, but their Backup solution makes a bit of a mess of your files when it comes time to restore, and Sync does not cooperate well with Lightroom. Amazon Photos gets pricey as well if you need to store videos or other files that aren’t photos.
While the file storage solutions from the big technology companies are robust and convenient, and I continue to use them for general file storage and project-based file sharing, they do not work for me as an online backup solution for my huge library of photos either based on price or technical limitations.
I’ve opted for a backup solution from Backblaze instead. They offer unlimited data backup for $50/year per computer. While the initial backup process can take days or weeks, even on a 1Gbps internet connection, the price is simply too compelling compared to the other options.