Making Sense of Cloud Storage Services for Photographers

The traditional method of plugging your camera or memory card into your computer, uploading and editing your photos, and then uploading them again to a website is a tedious way to spend your time if you are working with hundreds of images a day. And if you're saving your photos on a hard drive only, you run the risk of losing priceless content in the event your PC crashes or your hard drive gets damaged. There's a time-saving alternative that also provides secure backup for your photos: cloud storage.

With the launch of cloud-based laptops, like the new Google Chromebook series, and the proliferation of tablets among users today, the cloud is quickly becoming the go-to resource for all kinds of photographers. Cloud storage enables users to store files and images and share information and resources upon demand. It's a convenient way to save your images in a safe and easily accessible manner. You can use it to view files or edit photographs in multiple locations or if you just want to access and store your photos in more than one place.2

Cloud storage enables you to share photos with collaborators, business partners, clients and editors – really, anybody who has access to the Internet. You can even use cloud storage for storing images from a camera without plugging in a cord. Using an SD card or a camera capable of connecting to a smartphone or computer using Wi-Fi enables you to instantly transfer the images as you take them – synced devices do this automatically. Some free cloud-based storage providers have even evolved with our increased mobility and accommodate GPS- enabled devices to help users track where photos were taken as a way of organizing images.

Following is a list of cloud storage providers to consider. Some are free, some are connected to editing programs or include them and others enable easy social media sharing. All allow you to access your photos from more than one location.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a popular option for storing documents and photographs. Their 2 GB free plan offers a chance to grow your storage size using referrals up to 32GB max. Dropbox also has paid plans starting at $9.99 a month for 100 GB and above. It offers a month’s history of your files, so changes can be undone and deleted files can be recovered during that time frame. You can also add on their Packrat feature, which allows you to access deleted files and saves older versions of files to review. Dropbox accounts also allow multiple users to access one account, which is a great feature for wedding photographers or anyone with multiple photographers at a location for the same job.

Flickr

Flickr is one of the more popular photo storage and sharing sites around. It makes mobile photography easy to share with others through their Flickr apps. You can upload directly from your desktop, mobile or use third-party applications. Photos are organized into galleries and can be sorted through geotagging. With a free Flickr account, you can upload 300MB each month with unlimited total storage, but it only allows the last 200 images to be viewed in the photo stream. Pro accounts offer other options like unlimited access, unlimited uploading and archival of original photos.

The Photo Argus has its own Flickr group we would love for you to join. Check it out here.

Picasa

Picasa is linked to Google + and photos will post directly to your Google + page unless you opt out.  With Picasa, you can edit your photos online, but the original photos on your hard drive will not change unless you download the edit. You can batch edit photos and sort them by faces, tags and geotagging. Picasa offers 1GB of free storage but doesn't count images up to 800 pixels toward that number, which enables you to provide smaller-sized image galleries to clients or other photographers. You can also customize the URL of your gallery.

iCloud and iPhoto

iCloud makes storing images from your iOS devices easy; it enables you to instantly back up photos taken with an iPhone or ones dropped into a folder on your computer. You have access to editing and sharing features with iPhoto, one of the most useful iPad apps for photographers, and the last 1,000 photos are available through Photo Stream. The first 5 GB are free, and paid plans range from 10 GB for $20 a year to 50 GB for $100 a year. The iCloud service links up  apps which can pull photos from your computer or mobile devices and sort them by faces, events or locations.

SugarSync

SugarSync allows image edits to be saved automatically instead of loaded into the service. Files are accessible on computer and portable devices so you can mail the proofs to a client or use social media to share a favorite image. SugarSync links up with a single file of your computer so you can only transfer what you want when you want simply by dropping them in. You can share photo galleries and have the ability to restore old versions. There is a 30-day free trial option of their 30 GB before you start paying $4.99 a month up to a 500 GB plan (if you pay for a year in advance you get a deal).

To ensure the cloud storage system you go with will fit your needs, give it a try first – all of the above options are either free or have a free trial available.

Top feature image Cloud Computing Concept via Shutterstock

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