What is the Cloud photo storage and do I need it?
You’ve probably heard people talk about “The Cloud”. If you aren’t sure what that means, what it’s for or why you might need it in your life, don’t worry, this article is for you. We’re here to simplify cloud photo storage.
The “Cloud” or “Cloud Computing”/ “Cloud Storage” is just a term for a type of computing that exists online. That’s it. The truth is you’ve probably using the Cloud without realising it! If you had Hotmail back in the day, or use Gmail or Yahoo mail now, effectively these are a version of the Cloud. An email one. You access it online, live (as in not cached) and don’t have software or data installed or copied to your computer at home or the office. You use a browser.
Typically you will sign up for a free account (or a paid one for more features or capacity) and a company will take care of everything else for you. It’s hassle free, it’s easy to use and access (from any device with an Internet connection) and you never need to worry about upgrading software, downloading updates or backing up your content.
At Vintage Photo lab, most of our customers us The Cloud for storing all their digital photos. This can include native digital photos – taken on a digital camera or smartphone, but also their archive of old printed photographs, that they come to us for help with scanning.
We scan all the family photos and albums and send them their digital copies. What then?! Some people want to share those amazing memories with loved ones – often to multiple countries all around the world, some people want to make Photo Books for a gift and some just want to relive the fun of memories from yesteryear. You can store them on your home computer but it’s also good to save a copy in The Cloud, so they are safe forever.
Cloud Photo Storage: Options
There are more and more Cloud photo storage companies appearing every day but here’s our pick of the big boys, some of our own favourites and a few you might not have heard of.
Here is our top five.
Dropbox – for cloud photo storage
Dropbox is one of the better known online storage services out there. It’s very flexible and you can access it from an App on your phone or tablet, or from any Internet browser and there’s a desktop application too, which installs on your computer, so you have a local copy (replica) on the hard drive in your own actual PC or Mac.
Very simple to use, you simply drag and drop files into folders and move them around to your heart’s content. You can share folders with people and you get 3GB free storage. You can also choose to turn on Camera Upload, so your photos are automatically copied from your smartphone to your online account, saving them by date. Various upgrades are available including a Pro and Business account giving all ranges of flexibility and storage.
See more here: www.dropbox.com
Flickr – for cloud photo storage
You might not be aware of this but you might already have a Flickr account without knowing about it. Flickr was recently bought by Yahoo!, the Internet giant. For us, this means long term security and a good level of trust in terms of business longevity. For you, it means if you already have a Yahoo! Account you only need to link it to your Flickr account. If you don’t already have an account, you can easily and quickly sign up for free.
Flickr is a portal where you can upload all your photos. The storage limit for free accounts was recently upgraded to 1TB (terabyte) which means you’ll be going some to get even near the storage limit. You can organise photos in folders, share with friends and family and choose to have your photos open to everyone to marvel at, or protected by a password, that only you can share with people you trust. For a more involved review of the service than we have space for here…please see this page on PC Mag.
OneDrive – for cloud photo storage
OneDrive is Microsoft’s Cloud storage solution. 5GB is free, enough for 1600 smartphone photos, beyond that you can upgrade and £1.99 a month for 50GBs.
Microsoft is very keen to integrate OneDrive into all their new software. If you have a PC with an up to date version of Windows, Office 365, or a Hotmail account then you already have access to it. Just search for OneDrive on your PC, an app will appear and you can simply log on. If you don’t automatically have OneDrive it can be downloaded for free and installed on your various machines.
Once installed on your devices, as with most other Cloud solutions, you can upload, access and organise your files from anywhere.
With OneDrive you can store a whole range of files types, photos, videos as well as files from Microsoft’s Office range, word, excel etc. It’s less intuitive than some other Cloud platforms and relies on the users’ knowledge of Microsoft’s products.
Google Drive – for cloud photo storage
Google Drive is possibly one of the most popular Cloud storage solutions out there and it comes free with Gmail, one of the UK’s best-loved email services.
You’ll start with 15GBs free, which will store 5000 smartphone photos, and can upgrade to 100GB for £1.99 a month.
You don’t need a Gmail account to access Google Drive but you will need to create a Google account. Once you have an account you can access Google Drive from their homepage or by downloading the Drive app to your devices.
After logging in you can upload, share and organise your documents. It’s simple and intuitive and accepts a full range of files, photos, videos, word etc.
Google is on a mission to integrate themselves into our lives and it’s no surprise that I found this the easiest Cloud to access. If you are on the Google homepage, log in, your cloud storage is right there.
iCloud – for cloud photo storage
iCloud is Apple’s Cloud Storage service. It’s designed to work with & support Apple’s range of products, iPhone, iPad, & Mac.
When you’ve signed up for an account you get 5GB free, enough space to store 1600 smartphone photos. If you find you need more space then there is a range of extra storage/cost options available. From 50GB for 79p to 1TB for £6.99 a month.
As well as backing up your files to the Cloud, iCloud gives you the ability to sync your photos/files across your devices; if you take a photo on your phone, iCloud can copy the photo to your laptop.
Having been developed by Apple, iCloud is very integrated into their own ecosystem. So, If you love all things Apple and use iPhone/iPad and a Mac then this will be easy for you.
Cloud photo storage: things to consider
These Cloud providers are some of the latest and most popular around at the moment. They all have their own merits, some have great storage, others ease of use, part free, part paid. The trick is to find the one that is right for you.
Things you might want to consider are:
- How much storage do you need?
- Do you want to pay for storage?
- What type of files do you want to store?
- How easy is it to use?
Cloud photo storage can be confusing so why not pick up the phone to us? We’d be glad to help answer any questions you have.
You can phone us on 0207 359 3865.
And don’t forget we also have a free trial photo scanning service, to get you started filling up all of that wonderful Cloud space!
Hopefully, that’s lifted the Clouds somewhat!