From raw image files to final edits, photographers work with a lot of different files at the same time. By storing your data in the cloud, you are not only able to access it from any device, but you are also able to quickly share your final photos with clients instead of waiting for them to upload.
For this article, we compared five of our our best cloud storage providers to find out which would be best for photographers. Sync.com came out as the clear winner thanks to its zero-knowledge security policy, secure file sharing and generous storage plans.
$ 4.08 per month 500 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 2000 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit IDriveIDrive Review|
$ 4.99 per month 500 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit pCloudpCloud Review|
What Makes an Online Storage Service the Best for Photographers
Photographers’ time is taken up by taking photos: therefore, syncs and uploads should be as hands-free as possible so that shutterbugs can focus on their core task. That is why the first requirement for a cloud storage service is to be automated. It should have an easy interface and allow automatic uploads without any fuss.
Security is another important aspect since photographers have private photos of a lot of their clients. For this reason, we feel any of our best zero-knowledge cloud services would be a good fit, with Sync.com and pCloud ahead of the others thanks to their generous storage allotment.
Besides security, photographers need a lot of storage space thanks to high resolution images and the like. If your cloud storage requirement is higher than 2TB, then it’s best to go for Dropbox for Business which provides unlimited storage space. Of course, the cost will be a bit higher, but spending a little more to make sure all your photos are secure is worth it.
For photographers looking to combine storage and backup, IDrive is a great solution. On top of a large allotment of free space, there is also the option of shipping physical drives for backup.
When you have many photos, looking through your private archives can be an exhausting task, even if you have a highly organized folder structure. If you expect this to be a problem, you may want to consider using Google Drive, as it will allow you to search photos based on metatags quickly.
Sync.com provides zero knowledge encryption, password protected file sharing and an easy to use interface, which is the reason why it’s at the top of our list.
The uploads and downloads are a bit slow, but that is because the files are encrypted first and then uploaded. Even with encryption, you will be able to view photos online.
It does give 5GB free storage space, but that will obviously not be enough for photographers: its paid plans is a reasonable $8 per month for 2TB. The only drawback is that there are no other plans, so if you need more than that, you might want to skip Sync.com in favor of Dropbox.
One of the best features of Sync.com, which isn’t available in any of the other cloud storage providers on our list, is the option to add labels to file links. So, if you are working on a number of different projects at the same time, you can label the file links accordingly and then check all the shared files under the “links” tab.
The shared file links are also password protected which means you can share all your work with your clients knowing that no one else can see or know what you are sharing. Also, recipients don’t need a Sync.com account to be able to view or download the photos.
Other Reasons We Like Sync.com
There is a separate “vault” section which allows you to backup files as well. Photos that you need to share or access through multiple devices can be in the “file” section and your complete work data can be backed up into the “vault” section.
There is backup scheduling, incremental backup and, for paid users, unlimited file versioning. Check out our complete Sync.com review to see why we love it so much.
- Zero knowledge encryption
- File syncing and backup available
- Backup scheduling is possible
- Image previews available
- Only a 2TB paid plan
- Encryption slows speed
Dropbox for Business
As a free service, Dropbox only provides users with 2GB of storage space, expandable to 16GB by referring friends and family. However, we recommend Dropbox for Business for photographers because it provides unlimited storage space at just $20 per month, per user.
Though this is attractive, Sync.com beat Dropbox for the following two reasons:
- Dropbox doesn’t have zero knowledge policy
- There is a three-user minimum on business plans
Dropbox for Business is only a good option for photographers if they already have a small team. Besides all the features available for free users, business users also get 120-day file recovery, password protected file sharing and live chat support.
Dropbox allows users to mark a section in any image and leave a comment right there, a great feature for photographers that collaborate with others
Other Reasons We Like Dropbox for Business
Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage providers thanks to its smooth interface and seamless syncing, which you can read all about in our Dropbox review.
One feature we like in particular is it’s “file request” feature, which allows other users to upload files to your Dropbox account directly. On top of that, you can then share that link with anyone else, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account.
- Unlimited storage space
- Image comments
- Upload links available
- Unlimited file version history
- Three-user minimum
- Security concerns
Google Drive provides unlimited free photo storage, yet this best free storage provider only finds the third place of our list. This because Google has a very annoying limitation on images: if they’re bigger than 16 megapixel, they will count toward Drive’s storage limit, below that you’re fine.
The best way around this is to compress the image in question or simply bite the bullet and start paying for Google Drive, check out our full Google Drive review for an overview of the plans offered.
On the plus side, Google Drive has a very efficient image search engine, that can detect different elements in your photos (like “birthday,” “graduation,” “face,” etc.). This makes it easy for you to find specific photos and will save you a lot of time if you’re they type to keep large archives.
For instance, a simple search for “weddings” on Google Drive retrieves all the pictures of wedding couples in it. Interestingly, Google cannot just detect a girl in a white dress, but it can also detect couples in traditional Indian wedding attire, which is pretty impressive.
Other Reasons We Like Google Drive
If you already have a Gmail account, then you already have access to Drive, making it easy for you to quickly login and share your pictures. Google Drive has also recently introduced a new “computer” section and changed its “backup and sync” app to allow users to backup their local data.
At the same time, Google provides no private encryption and the company is known to use user data for advertising purposes. All in all, the service is a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s search function will prove invaluable for photographers.
- Free unlimited storage for photos
- Accurate image search engine
- Many plans to choose from
- Google has privacy issues
- Paid plans are pricey
Offering both file syncing and backup, IDrive is a great option for photographers to store their work on the cloud. However, it only finishes fourth thanks to its outdated interface and lack of zero knowledge encryption.
It also has a service called IDrive Express where the company ships up to 3TB of external hard drive to users. You can copy all your data to the hard drive and send it back to IDrive. The company will then upload your data to your IDrive account automatically. This is pretty handy for people with limited Internet connectivity or those who just need to backup a plot of data in one go.
Images uploaded on IDrive can be shared directly on Facebook or Twitter, or you can also share them via file links. There is a “shortcuts” tab in IDrive which is a lot like the “starred” tab in Google Drive, allowing users to access favorite folders quickly.
Other Reasons We Like IDrive
With separate folders for syncing and backup, IDrive makes it very easy for users to organize their data. Security overall is decent, as is general usability. Check out IDrive review to know more about this service’s features.
Also, while IDrive plans state the charges for 2TB, you actually get 4TB in total — 2TB file syncing space and 2TB for backup. A nice bonus, all in all.
- File syncing and backup
- IDrive Express
- Outdated interface
With 10GB of free storage, which is extendable to up to 20GB by referring the service to other users, pCloud is a great option for budding photographers who are on a budget. Even with all this free space, though,, pCloud ranks fifth because its free plan isn’t very secure and its complicated “download link traffic” limitations.
According to pCloud, download link traffic is the total amount of data that users download through your pCloud public links. For free users, the limit is 50GB. So, even if you are just sharing a 1GB folder with a number of others users through a public link, there can only be a maximum of 50 downloads through that link. This limit resets every month.
Coming to what we love about pCloud, it is the only cloud service provider on our list which allows users to sync any number of folders from their local drive. Most cloud service providers, including Google Drive and Dropbox, create a separate sync folder on your PC or laptop when you install their desktop app.
With pCloud, you can directly sync any folder you want by simply right clicking on it. Also, you preview images online and slideshows are possible.
Other Reasons We Like pCloud
Just like Dropbox, pCloud also has an upload link feature which allows other users to upload files to your pCloud account through a link. Private encryption is available but through their crypto plan which requires users to pay $3.99 extra every month, even if they are already paying for a premium account.
There is also a separate backup option which allows you to backup data from Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Facebook, and Instagram. But there is no way to backup from your local drive. For the full picture, check out our pCloud review.
Overall, pCloud is a good option if you are looking for a free cloud service provider and you just want to sync and share your files online and privacy is not a big issue for you.
- 10GB free storage space
- Sync multiple local folders
- Upload links are possible
- Limitations on downloads
- No backup from local drives
- Private encryption is a paid option
Honorable Mentions: Flickr
Even with 1TB of free storage space for photos, Flickr only makes it to our honorable mentions because it is technically not a cloud storage provider. It is a platform for users to store their photos and showcase their work.
Flickr is also the only one on our list which displays information about photo settings like shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. It is a great place for photographers to build a community and create their own portfolio.
However, there is no desktop app to run uploads automatically and there aren’t any sharing settings available as well other than public and private. It can be a secondary place to store your photos, but it’s definitely not a good primary.
One of the main reasons why we recommend cloud storage for photographers is because it’s scalable. You may have less than 1TB of data right now, but it will only increase over time. Instead of investing in an expensive external hard drive, cloud storage allows you to pay as you go and share data instantly with your clients.
While all of the cloud storage providers above offer something different, Sync.com stands out because of its easy interface and secure file storage.
Thank you for reading. Let us know in the comments below if you know any other good cloud storage solutions for photographers.