Storing images in an external or internal hard drive may sound ideal, but honestly, how many hard drives can you rescue from falls, infections, sharp blows and natural malfunctions. Which is where using cloud storage kicks in. As a photographer, you’ll need a reliable, fast and automated service; so you can work from anywhere and send pictures to clients directly and securely.
Your pictures are your business and securing the business is always a top priority. At the same time, it’s important to use the right online cloud storage service. It needs to be affordable too, but spending a little more just to make sure all your photographs are intact, doesn’t really hurt. Plus, more options at your disposal equals more opportunities to interact, share, exchange and learn from photography.
Overview of The Article
To help, I’ve picked out the five best cloud storage for photographers. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and no one wants to lose their words. Keep in mind this an overview of what these services have to offer, and what I like about them, click on the “Read review” button for a full in-depth breakdown. And since most of these services either have free trial periods, or simply offer free plans, actually test driving them before plonking down cash is a good idea.
Best Cloud Storage for Photographers 2017
$ 5.00 per month 1000 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit Sync.comSync.com Review|
$ 15.00 per month GBStorage All Plans
|Visit Dropbox Business|
$ 1.99 per month 100 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit Google DriveGoogle Drive Review|
$ 4.34 per month 1000 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit IDriveIDrive Review|
$ 3.99 per month 500 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit pCloudpCloud Review|
Sync.com has almost everything a budding photographer (or professional) could want from a secure cloud storage service.
Plus some interesting security perks. Sync.com is a Canadian cloud storage and syncing service, which promises ‘zero knowledge privacy,’ along with really impressive features. Firstly, note that all settings are accessible through the web app, which is a very neat and easy-to-navigate hunk of interactive software. Sync.com apps are also available on:
Sync.com on a PC works as a fully integrated feature of the operating system, much like how OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive work — complete with drag and drop features. Backups can be scheduled and I am happy to report that uploads and downloads were pretty quick. Of course, speeds will depend on your Internet connection, but the service actually uses all the bandwidth available (so you know it’s giving everything) when downloading files.
Why We Like Sync.com:
Sync.com’s main USP (unique selling point) is high-level privacy. With private encryption and zero-knowledge policies in place, you can be absolutely sure that your data is well protected. The only downside to Sync.com is that its highest storage plan is 2TB, which over time could prove to be restricting for hoarders.
File syncing can be scheduled for an overnight run, and by the time you get up, the files should be in the cloud. In case you do run into issues when syncing or backing up, Sync.com promises a one hour email support response time.
- File sharing & syncing
- Fast uploads & downloads
- Neat user interface
- Private encryption
- Encryption slows down uploads & previews
- Mobile client doesn’t allow file sharing
2. Dropbox for Business
Definitely a strong contender for any professional photographer’s patronage, Dropbox for Business takes sharing, storing and connecting — all a notch higher. Unless you’re a stickler for security. While Dropbox offers 2GB of free storage (and 1TB in the pro plan), the company has taken a giant leap forward with Dropbox for Business — by providing unlimited storage.
And that’s not all folks, the business version comes with:
- Admin tools
- User management features
- Unlimited file versioning
- Deleted file recovery
Syncing and sharing in Dropbox is as butter smooth as ever. Once you’ve downloaded the desktop app, simply drag and drop files into the main Dropbox folder and they will instantly start uploading — you can also pause uploads and resume them later. All in all, if you’re not very particular about strong encryption, Dropbox for Business is one of the best options available.
Why We Like Dropbox for Business:
Dropbox has an app for almost every platform, which makes accessing a file from anywhere very easy. Photos can be previewed and shared, with the business account, you can even control who views photos, shares them and adds comments. Dropbox’s only downside is lack of intense, encryption based security.
- Unlimited storage
- Easy-to-use interface
- Selective file syncing
- Great 3rd-party integrations
- Minimum account requires 5 users
- Lacks zero-knowledge security
- No private encryption
- NSA friendly
3. Google Drive
The ultimate option for Google and photography lovers alike, Google Drive offers cheap prices, lots of storage space and strong online collaboration features. But, there are a few arbitrary restrictions to watch out for. Google Drive allows unlimited photo and video storage, but only if the resolution of pictures does not exceed 16MP, and video resolution is capped at 1080p.
We understand that working under a strict resolution can be hard, especially for professional photographers, but remember that Google Drive has:
- Fast syncing
- Automatic uploads
- Easy-to-use interface
- Google Photos
You’ll also be happy to know that Google Drive offers up to 30TB of storage plans, with 5TB as the file size limit. Google Drive’s only true downside is the lack of security, there is no private encryption and Google has a history of going through user data to gather intel and statistics. Not to mention the company’s open-door NSA policy.
Why We Like Google Drive:
If you need to find an old picture with a beautiful sunset, just type ‘sunset’ and it will find sunset related pictures. By uploading pictures to Google Drive, the Google Photos search engine can look for pictures based on objects, instead of file names. Just like Dropbox, Google Drive also has selective sync, which means only selected folders can sync to a local machine.
- Great sharing & document collaboration
- Very easy to use
- Generous 15GB free plan
- Unlimited photo/video storage
- Selective syncing
- Resolution limitations
- Syncing only bare bones
- No selective folder sync
- No local encryption
IDrive provides a good balance between simple-to-use and enough features to satisfy techies. As a bonus, the service provides a lot of nifty extra options — including IDrive Express. IDrive’s main feature is its 256-bit AES encryption, which can set personal encryption keys, that even IDrive employees won’t have access to.
But, it also means that if the password is lost, all your data is gone and there is absolutely no way to retrieve it. Here’s an overview of IDrive’s strong points:
- Encrypted file syncing
- Backup scheduling
- Remote data management
- Multiple user support
- File archiving, syncing and sharing
With so many features, it can definitely get a little confusing for photographers who just want a simple, set-and-forget online cloud storage service. Also, the desktop app needs to be installed for the software to start working.
Why We Like IDrive:
IDrive Express provides the option of sending a hard drive, with all the data that needs to be backed up, and the company automatically uploads it to your account. Which is pretty cool. Backups can be scheduled according to your time and continuous backup can also be activated, which basically auto-uploads selected files after every 10 minutes.
- Gallery view for pictures
- Backup scheduling
- File sharing & syncing
- Expensive plans (75% discount)
- Complicated features
- Interface needs minor improvements
A wonderful alternative to Dropbox, pCloud comes with encryption and there’s an app for every platform around. However, it’s slightly lacking in the collaboration department. With 10GB of free storage and no file-size limit, pCloud can be a great Dropbox alternative for photographers.
The service retrieves deleted and older files, but only ones that are up to 180 days old, and a paid plan is needed for retrieval to work. Upload and download speeds were impressive, however, your experience may differ depending upon how good or bad the local connection is. The service has 256-bit server side encryption standard and private encryption is available as well, for $3.99 extra.
Talking about plans, 5TB is the highest storage plan available, there is also no scheduling option available in pCloud. Overall, it’s a good service, but it definitely leaves you wanting more. It’s honestly only better than Dropbox in terms of privacy protection, thanks to the paid encryption add-on.
Why We Like pCloud:
pCloud gives the option to either sync files between the cloud and a local machine, or only to upload files and keep pCloud as backup storage. The company is working on Windows phone and Blackberry apps, which haven’t been released yet. And these settings do not apply to the entire account, each folder can have its own unique sync settings.
- 20GB free storage
- 1GB referral bonus
- No file-size limit
- Max storage plans only 5TB
- Private encryption costs extra
- Fewer collaboration features
A photographer needs to handle a lot of stuff at the same time:
- RAW image files
- Final edits
It’s not quite uncommon to meet photographers with storage needs in the multiple terabyte range, each day adding more storage to their network drives.
All of which should house somewhere in the cloud to make them accessible anywhere and back them up at the same time. With so many options, things can get confusing. I would suggest putting features and ease over price, while trying either the free-trial periods, or enjoying the free storage option offered by these five companies before making a final decision.