Best Photo Cloud Storage in 2021

Running out of space? Want to keep a regular backup of your photos? Afraid of disk failures?

We got the best cloud photo storage companies to find the optimum solution for you.

This is how we reviewed and ranked the top choices:

  1. We keep an eye on the market for the best solutions.
  2. We signed up for each software and tested it by uploading quite a few photos.
  3. We evaluated the overall value for money.

Ready to get instant access and improved safety? Check out the direct comparison of the ultimate cloud photo storage platforms.

Photo Cloud Storage Providers of 2021

1. IDrive

IDrive has storage, backups, sync features - you name it. The high storage quotas and no limit on the number of devices are ideal for anyone who needs to get a bunch of photos online. Zero-knowledge encryption is there to assuage any privacy concerns you might have, and IDrive can even deliver a physical drive to your house if your internet connection is too slow. And you get all of that with 5TB storage for only $52.12/year. IDrive takes the cake as the best service for all your photo storage and backup needs. FULL REVIEW

  • Great backup tools
  • Robust security
  • Solid free version
Try Now

Show More

IDrive has storage, backups, sync features - you name it. The high storage quotas and no limit on the number of devices are ideal for anyone who needs to get a bunch of photos online. Zero-knowledge encryption is there to assuage any privacy concerns you might have, and IDrive can even deliver a physical drive to your house if your internet connection is too slow. And you get all of that with 5TB storage for only $52.12/year. IDrive takes the cake as the best service for all your photo storage and backup needs. FULL REVIEW

Ease of use:

Straightforward

Security:

9/10

Features:

9/10

Works on:

Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android

2. pCloud

pCloud is another great general-use photo cloud storage solution. It’s incredibly easy to use on all devices, allows RAW file previews, and features zero-knowledge encryption. What really makes it stand out, however, are its lifetime subscriptions. You need only make a one-time payment and you can keep your photos saved in the cloud forever. If you need a super reliable long-term service for all your photos, pCloud is an excellent choice. FULL REVIEW

  • User-friendly
  • Lifetime subscription
  • Privacy-oriented
Try Now

Show More

pCloud is another great general-use photo cloud storage solution. It’s incredibly easy to use on all devices, allows RAW file previews, and features zero-knowledge encryption. What really makes it stand out, however, are its lifetime subscriptions. You need only make a one-time payment and you can keep your photos saved in the cloud forever. If you need a super reliable long-term service for all your photos, pCloud is an excellent choice. FULL REVIEW

Ease of use:

Very easy

Security:

9/10

Features:

8/10

Works on:

Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS

3. Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud combines the suite of photo editing and graphic design apps with cloud storage. It’s one of the smoothest solutions despite including terrific collaboration features and more photo editing tools than you could get with any other software. And did I mention you can get massive discounts if you’re a student, teacher, or manage an education institution? If you’re a professional in the digital visual arts, there’s no service that’s as feature-rich and easy to use as Adobe CC. FULL REVIEW

  • Integrated with Adobe apps
  • Awesome collaboration and photo editing
  • Various discounts
Try Now

Show More

Adobe Creative Cloud combines the suite of photo editing and graphic design apps with cloud storage. It’s one of the smoothest solutions despite including terrific collaboration features and more photo editing tools than you could get with any other software. And did I mention you can get massive discounts if you’re a student, teacher, or manage an education institution? If you’re a professional in the digital visual arts, there’s no service that’s as feature-rich and easy to use as Adobe CC. FULL REVIEW

Ease of use:

Fantastic

Security:

7/10

Features:

10/10

Works on:

Windows, Mac, and various browsers and mobile apps

4. Zoolz

Zoolz is the most robust backup service for photographers. It can back up everything from your laptop, over external drives, down to memory cards. The privacy of your data is guaranteed through zero-knowledge encryption. And you still get nice RAW file previews and facial recognition features to help you locate photos. And we’d say that $6.67/month for 1TB of storage is one heck of a deal. FULL REVIEW

  • Robust backups
  • Works with a multitude of devices
  • Zero-knowledge encryption
Try Now

Show More

Zoolz is the most robust backup service for photographers. It can back up everything from your laptop, over external drives, down to memory cards. The privacy of your data is guaranteed through zero-knowledge encryption. And you still get nice RAW file previews and facial recognition features to help you locate photos. And we’d say that $6.67/month for 1TB of storage is one heck of a deal. FULL REVIEW

Ease of use:

Fair

Security:

6/10

Features:

8/10

Works on:

Windows and macOS

5. Backblaze

Need photo backup for one computer and all your external drives? Then Backblaze will blow your mind. $60/year gets you unlimited backup storage, RAW file previews, zero-knowledge encryption, and even device location and remote wipe services. To crown it all, Backblaze is probably the most beginner-friendly backup service. It’s perfect for photographers that have hundreds of images on their computer and various storage devices. FULL REVIEW

  • Unlimited storage
  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Beginner-friendly
Try Now

Show More

Need photo backup for one computer and all your external drives? Then Backblaze will blow your mind. $60/year gets you unlimited backup storage, RAW file previews, zero-knowledge encryption, and even device location and remote wipe services. To crown it all, Backblaze is probably the most beginner-friendly backup service. It’s perfect for photographers that have hundreds of images on their computer and various storage devices. FULL REVIEW

Ease of use:

Fantastic

Security:

8/10

Features:

7/10

Works on:

Windows, macOS, and Linux

6. Google Photos

Google Photos is one of the most user-friendly services and an absolute joy to use on Android phones. Plus, it’s flexible, scalable, and affordable. And did I mention it has excellent cataloging, tagging, and image recognition tools? For just $1.99/month, it’s the best service for the majority of personal users. FULL REVIEW

  • Awesome on Android
  • Robust AI recognition
  • Affordable
Try Now

Show More

Google Photos is one of the most user-friendly services and an absolute joy to use on Android phones. Plus, it’s flexible, scalable, and affordable. And did I mention it has excellent cataloging, tagging, and image recognition tools? For just $1.99/month, it’s the best service for the majority of personal users. FULL REVIEW

Ease of use:

Solid

Security:

5/10

Features:

6/10

Works on:

Android, iOS, and web client

7. OneDrive

OneDrive is a strong contender for the best personal cloud storage for photos. It integrates smoothly with Windows (though it works on other operating systems too). It’s also very easy to handle and adds great image recognition and search features. Plus it supports the majority of image formats, so it can work for both personal users and pros. With a competitive price of $1.99/month, it is a lucrative offer for all your photo storage needs. FULL REVIEW

  • Great on Windows
  • Supports most image formats
  • Competitive pricing
Try Now

Show More

OneDrive is a strong contender for the best personal cloud storage for photos. It integrates smoothly with Windows (though it works on other operating systems too). It’s also very easy to handle and adds great image recognition and search features. Plus it supports the majority of image formats, so it can work for both personal users and pros. With a competitive price of $1.99/month, it is a lucrative offer for all your photo storage needs. FULL REVIEW

Ease of use:

Great

Security:

6/10

Features:

8/10

Works on:

Windows and macOS

The Best Cloud Storage Solutions in 2021 – Reviews & Comparison

If you need a place to keep photos safe and easily accessible, we at HostingTribunal have just the thing. We reviewed the leading cloud photo storage options that can take care of your most precious images. 

Check out the reviews below and discover the best solutions for:

  • Personal photo storage
  • Storage for professional photographers
  • Storage for multiple devices
  • Easy photo backups

… and more.

You’ll find all the relevant info you need to get started below.

How We Picked the Best Photo Storage Providers – Our Review Process

There are dozens of high-quality storage services out there. Picking the right ones took some serious vetting. This is what we did, step-by-step:

  • First, we keep track of what’s on the market. Internet services come and go, so it’s vital to know current solutions and which digital photo storage providers are likely to stay relevant in the future.
  • Second, we shortened our list of providers according to their features and reputation. Not all companies focus on photos, so we only proceeded with ones that can work for this particular purpose.
  • We then signed up with the providers and tested the solutions first-hand. Things like security, upload speed, and backup and sync tools are of particular importance. All these factors went into our evaluation of the photo storage websites.
  • The more features you get to work with photos, the better. The storage service should support previews for a variety of file formats at the very least. However, more specialized companies may integrate various editing tools and add support for RAW files. Both can be massive timesavers for camera users. 
  • We tested the mobile apps as well, when available. While those with DSLRs or mirrorless cameras might not care for this, most people only take photos on their phones. We checked that saving pictures to the cloud from your mobile device is fast and easy. 
  • Ease of use played its part too. We made sure that the platforms are easy to access and handle. Search tools are a big deal here. You certainly don’t want to jump through hoops every time you need to find a specific photo.

Lastly, we took the pricing plans into account. The overall best-value offers got featured in our reviews below.

The 7 Best Photo Cloud Storage Platforms

IDrive
IDrive

BEST PHOTO STORAGE & BACKUPS OVERALL

Starting at
$ $52.12 /yr
  • Ease of use: Straightforward
  • Security: 9/10
  • Features: 9/10
  • Works on: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
  • Great backup tools
  • Robust security
  • Solid free version
  • Generous storage allocation
  • Natural interface
  • Blazing-fast
  • Courier service
  • Mobile-friendly
  • No monthly pricing

IDrive is a privately held company that specializes in storage, backup, and remote access solutions. It is one of the most innovative photo and video storage services today.

Here’s what it brings to the table:

Features

IDrive has apps for Windows and Mac and a web client, all working quite smoothly. There is a mobile app letting you automatically upload photos as you snap them. You can connect an unlimited number of devices on all plans, which is great if you have a large number of computers and phones you want to back up.

IDrive doesn’t list supported file format options on the website, but it works with the most common formats like JPEGs, TIFFs, etc. However, the preview features do not extend to RAW files. If you want to back these up, you should have a straightforward folder system. Alternatively, Adobe CC, pCloud, and Google photos have some of the best cloud storage for RAW photos.

Fast Backups

There are quite good options for either backing up files to the cloud or desktop-to-desktop syncing. Block-level sync tools are excellent for speeding up the reupload of edited files. You can even let the application create multiple CPU threads for a speed boost—great for when you need to back up many gigabytes of photos.

And if you need to do a massive backup that would take days, you’ll love IDrive Express. The provider will actually deliver a physical drive to your home address and let you upload the files. The drive is then sent to the IDrive’s facilities for the data to be transferred. And you can use the same thing for data restoration from your digital photography storage.

The service is free once a year for personal users and thrice for business clients. It’s absolutely fantastic if you have terabytes of photos or a limited internet connection.

Security-oriented

IDrive has robust security. It uses the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption and gives you the option to hold on to your encryption key. That means not even the provider can access your photos, which is about as much privacy as you can get. It makes IDrive an excellent alternative to less privacy-oriented providers of storage for photos.

Ease of Use

Using IDrive feels quite natural. You can just go through your folder system and select which ones you want backed up or stored. IDrive will try to pick out some common folders for you, though you’ll want to deselect these if you’re only uploading photos.

The dashboard is clean, with all the most critical options arranged in tabs on the right. There are no hidden options.

One neat feature is automatically backing up all photos or videos from your mobile device. You can do it in a single click from the backup tab.

Once that’s done, the cloud for photos provides a nice photo gallery view dubbed “timeline.” It displays your photos in the order they were taken, so you can easily find what you need. There is also a tagging system with facial recognition to make the whole process even smoother.

All in all, IDrive is very user-friendly.

Plans

IDrive offers 5GB of free cloud photo storage. The space is tight for storing any serious amount of photos, but it can let you get a feel of the platform.

Fortunately, the paid plans are much more generous. The two personal plans are:

  • IDrive Personal 5TB—$52.12 for the first year, $69.50/year afterward
  • IDrive Personal 10TB—$74.12 for the first year, $99.50/year afterward

There is no option for a monthly subscription. However, the plans have quite reasonable rates, and even a small initial discount to help you get started. If you want to extend the discount, you can prepay for two years from the get-go and save a few bucks.

There are a few business plans with unlimited employee accounts. These support from 250GB to 12.5TB of storage. They are pretty solid if your agency needs cloud storage for photos. The plans come at a higher cost, though, with the smallest Business plan costing as much as the larger Personal one.

The large storage caps make IDrive very suitable for uploading photos in huge numbers. Even better, the affordable pricing is simply a delight.

Verdict

IDrive is one of the most powerful providers of storage, continuous sync tools, and cloud backup for photographers. It has fantastic options for large-scale photo uploads and the storage capacity to handle them. Plus, no limit on the number of connected devices makes it ideal for multiple machine uploads. The affordable plans are an excellent option for personal users and professionals alike.

pCloud
pCloud

BEST FOR PRIVACY

Starting at
47.88 /yr
  • Ease of use: Very easy
  • Security: 9/10
  • Features: 8/10
  • Works on: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS
  • User-friendly
  • Lifetime subscription
  • Privacy-oriented
  • RAW file previews
  • Family plans
  • Easy migration from other providers
  • Zero-knowledge encryption costs extra

pCloud is a quickly-expanding storage provider from Switzerland. In seven years of existence, it racked up well over 10 million clients.

But is it the best cloud photo storage company? Let’s see.

Features

pCloud works on Windows and Mac and is one of the few providers with a client for Linux. Of course, there is a mobile app for Android and iOS.

One new thing is that pCloud desktop clients actually appear as a virtual partition on your computer. This works pretty much like any other folder, though, so you can easily drag over the files you want to upload or sync. The mobile app works like any other, and it gives you handy features like automatically uploading new photos.

Photo Features

It’s easy to share individual photos or entire folders. You can either send out links or invite users via email, both being great options.

The cloud photo storage supports a range of common image formats. Since 2016, the provider introduced support for viewing RAW files.

Which ones, you ask? All of them. You can preview RAW files regardless of the camera manufacturer and model, making pCloud suitable for any photography enthusiast.

You can set up basic functions like uploading screenshots directly to your cloud drive or resize uploaded photos. They are all nice options that can save you a few minutes here and there.

Excellent Privacy Options

As you would expect, the Swiss-based company puts great emphasis on data privacy. That’s why you can go for the Crypto feature, which ensures only you can decrypt the uploaded files. Simply store photos in the “Crypto” folder, and no one will be snooping through them. It makes pCloud an extremely secure place to store files and pictures.

However, pCloud charges €47.88/year or a one-time fee of €125 for the Crypto service. It’s less than ideal because zero-knowledge services like IDrive don’t charge extra.

One last thing is that you can easily transfer to pCloud if you already keep pictures online in DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Facebook, or Instagram. Just connect pCloud to them, and it will pull all the available photos.

Ease of Use

pCloud desktop and mobile apps are a delight to use. You can quickly navigate the files or upload new ones. You even get access to things like file sharing without ever opening the browser.

The mobile app makes it easy to automatically back up all your photos. You can also use it to directly share photos to social media channels, which creates a much smoother experience.

The web client is a bit clunky compared to some of the competition. Most notably, there are no drag-and-drop features, which makes the design unintuitive.

Still, you can store pics online quickly enough, so you should have no issues using pCloud.

Plans

pCloud has two personal plans to choose from:

  • Premium—500GB storage, €47.88/year
  • Premium Plus—2TB storage, €95.88/year

The rates are a bit higher than usual, though not by much. What really gives pCloud insane value, however, is its lifetime plans. You can get the Premium membership for €175 and the Premium Plus one for €350. So, you’re paying for about 3.5 years of storage right off the bat and getting to keep it forever.

There is a €500 Family plan that gets you 2TB of storage but lets you split it between 5 accounts. Handy if you need smaller amounts of cloud photo storage for your loved ones.

Verdict

pCloud has a solid offer for personal users, amateur photographers, and freelancers alike. It can work smoothly on any device, is reasonably easy to use, and offers complete privacy. Not to mention its lifetime plans.

Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud

BEST FOR PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS & DESIGNERS

Starting at
$ 9.99 /mo
  • Ease of use: Fantastic
  • Security: 7/10
  • Features: 10/10
  • Works on: Windows, Mac, and various browsers and mobile apps
  • Integrated with Adobe apps
  • Awesome collaboration and photo editing
  • Various discounts
  • Robust versioning
  • AWS-powered
  • Extremely user-friendly
  • You can only get storage with Adobe software

Adobe is better known as a software company than a storage provider. However, it’s Creative Cloud plans certainly come with storage you can use for photos, so it’s worth considering.

Let’s see if Adobe Creative Cloud offers the best cloud storage for photographers.

Features

Adobe isn’t really a storage company, so it never had a massive network of data centers. That’s why it teams up with AWS to provide storage and computing needed for its CC plans.

And in case you’re unfamiliar with it, AWS is one of the biggest cloud computing companies with an insanely robust and reliable infrastructure. It is notoriously difficult to manage, but Adobe has the engineers to deliver you the power of AWS cloud-based architecture without any of the hassle.

Unique Application-based Model

Adobe CC storage is a bit different than your typical cloud for photos in that you can’t just purchase a storage plan. The storage actually comes with various Adobe software. You would actually purchase a piece of software, like Adobe Photoshop, and get storage to upload photos, videos, or other files. It’s great if you already need something like a photo editing tool or software for web design.  

The upside is that you get really tight integration with the Adobe software suite. If you use software like Photoshop or Illustrator, you can access files and work with them without ever having them on your computer. For professionals, this brings a degree of utility that you can’t get with any other service.

There are dozens of file formats you can store and preview, covering extensions for graphics, color spaces, videos, and even 3D models. Needless to say, it lets you open things like Photoshop projects and is one of the best cloud storage for RAW files

The downside is that you can’t really get storage without purchasing Adobe software. If you just want to store photos and don’t need editing tools, there are more optimal choices. It’s up to whether you need pure storage or something more.

Great Versioning

The software has nice features for versioning and sharing files or folders with other users. Others can leave comments on your projects or collaborate. All are great features for professionals that need to communicate with coworkers or clients.

The only real disadvantage to the cloud photo storage platform is that you can only use it on two computers without a business license. This is somewhat understandable, as Adobe doesn’t want anyone sharing their license. On the other hand, most pure storage providers let you back up photos from at least five devices, putting Adobe at a bit of a disadvantage.

Ease of Use

The guys beyond Adobe have proper software design chops. As expected, the entire Creative Cloud suite is one of the best cloud photo storage solutions in terms of ease of use.

You can upload photos to the storage systems directly from the desktop application. You just need to pick which files you want to upload/sync from your folders.

Alternatively, there are options to upload from the image editing apps or store projects you’re working on automatically. You can then recall photos from the cloud storage in just a few clicks. The web app and desktop app interfaces are clean and have tight integration with all supported software. You should have no trouble even if you’ve never used an Adobe app before.

The only missing thing is file sync between devices. Even if you sync photos on one computer to the online photo storage, you would have to manually approve them for viewing on the other. It’s a minor detail, but it is there.

The mobile app gets you everything you can do on the desktop, though there is no option to automatically upload new pictures. It’s not much of a problem, considering Adobe CC is mostly used by camera owners.

Adobe maintains a massive repository of tutorials on using its applications. You can refer to these if you ever get stuck.

Plans

Adobe Creative Cloud sells a range of applications, so each one has its own plan. Most cost $9.99/month or $20.99/month and include 100GB of storage for photos. Alternatively, you can get all the apps and the same storage pool for $39.99/month.

Let’s focus on the Photography plans, though, as most users go for these.

You can purchase Lightroom and Photoshop bundled for $9.99/month. You would need to get an annual contract to take advantage of the deal, but you still pay monthly. It only includes 20GB of storage, though, which is slim for most users.

The other option is to upgrade to 1TB of storage, which increases the price to $19.99/month. It’s fair, considering you are getting some of the best photo storage and the apps bundled. The offer is also competitive with graphical design apps like Canva.

There are discounts for students and teachers as well as educational institutions. The former two can get a flat discount on all apps, while schools get discounts based on the number of purchased licenses. There is also a quoted institution-wide license.

Bottom Line

Adobe Creative Cloud is the leading provider of storage services and media manipulation software, all bulked in one. If you’re a professional in photography, design, or any other digital art, you can get everything in one place. And the reasonable monthly rates make it the best online photo storage for professional photographers.

Zoolz
Zoolz

BEST BACKUPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

Starting at
$ 6.67 /mo
  • Ease of use: Fair
  • Security: 6/10
  • Features: 8/10
  • Works on: Windows and macOS
  • Robust backups
  • Works with a multitude of devices
  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Cold storage available
  • Reasonably priced
  • Local backups available
  • Desktop app could be better

Unlike instant file hosting, Zoolz is more of a cloud backup service. Fortunately, it has quite interesting photo features.

Let’s jump in and see how it performs.

Features

Zoolz is a backup service, meaning it is primarily meant to upload data and restore it if you lose the original files. It’s not meant to be used as an extension of your physical storage.

Cold Storage Features

Zoolz uses Amazon S3 Glacier instances to give you a cold storage option. It has the virtue of being super cheap, but the tradeoff is that recalling data takes extra time. This is not an issue if you have a bunch of photos you want to keep safe, but you can’t really expect instant access. Of course, you can still get regular cloud storage from the provider.

Image Tools

The service has image preview features for all relevant image formats. You also have RAW photo storage that supports all major camera manufacturers. An AI recognition system similar to that of Google applies tags to images for easier search. The facial recognition is quite decent, even pinpointing emotions with 90% accuracy, though it’s kind of clunky for other objects.

Extensive Options

You can do backups of computer files, phone camera roll, external drives, memory cards, and various network devices. Fantastic for photographers who already have a ton of drives lying about. You can even hook up a camera to your computer and save pictures online directly. Zoolz won’t go crazy if you remove a device after backing it up (I’m looking at you, pCloud).

If you prefer to keep a local backup as well, Zoolz can kill two birds with one stone. The software can push one backup of your images to the cloud while saving a second on your PC or external storage device.

And if you have photos in other places, Zoolz can make them available for easy viewing. It can pull images from the best cloud storage companies like DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or Box.

If you want to keep photos private, even from the engineers at Zoolz, you are welcome to keep your encryption key. Just make sure to store it somewhere safe, as you can’t access the files without it.

It all makes Zoolz the best photo backup solution you’re likely to find.

Ease of Use

Zoolz desktop client is kind of hit-and-miss. All the features are easy to find, but the user interface is kind of unwieldy. Still, you shouldn’t be playing with the backup service as often as you would with traditional file hosting, so it’s not a big deal.

One thing the app does do nicely is walk you through all the options. You’ll be able to specify everything you want backed up and decide whether to keep your private key.

The mobile apps are a breath of fresh air too. The user interface is clean and makes it easy to save pictures online. You even get a few nice utility options like searching facial expressions in images by using smiley faces.

Zoolz is straightforward, though the desktop interface could be sleeker.

Plans

Zoolz has three Intelligent plans:

  • 1TB Cold— $6.67/month
  • 2TB Cold—$13.33/month
  • 4TB Cold—$23.33/month

All in all, Zoolz is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive photo backup service.

Verdict

Zoolz has the best photo backup service all-round. If you have gigabytes of photos on your computer, phone, or external drive, you can easily save a copy to Zoolz and get some peace of mind.

Backblaze
Backblaze

BEST FOR SINGLE-COMPUTER BACKUPS

Starting at
$ 5 /mo
  • Ease of use: Fantastic
  • Security: 8/10
  • Features: 7/10
  • Works on: Windows, macOS, and Linux
  • Unlimited storage
  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Works for external devices
  • Courier service
  • Great remote location and wipe tools
  • Expensive for multiple devices
  • Deselecting files fees a bit clunky

Backblaze is another cloud backup service. Due to its straightforwardness, it’s quickly becoming a fan favorite among photographers.

Here’s exactly why:

Features

Let’s preface this by saying Backblaze is a backup system rather than a full-on storage solution. It is meant to keep a saved copy of the files you already have on your computer rather than act as the primary place to store files and pictures.

If you delete files from your home computer, they will eventually get erased from the backup storage. So, Backblaze is only really suitable if you want pure backups.

Backup Features

Backblaze primarily works with computers, meaning there is no mobile client. You can back up external drives too. Just plug them in once every 30 days to prevent the files from being flushed from the backup storage. Photographers worried about one of their many drives will find it the best cloud backup for photos.

Backblaze does support viewing many file formats, including various RAW ones. It’s handy for restoring specific files.

If you need to back up a massive number of files, a courier service delivers a physical device to your address. You can use that rather than wait hours for it to get uploaded over the internet.

Powerful Security Tools

You get rather secure photo storage, and Backblaze gives you the option to hold on to your private key. However, you would need to send the private key to Backblaze to decrypt the data, which kind of defeats the purpose of end-to-end encryption.

If you use your laptop on the go like most photographers, you’ll love Backblaze’s features for locating your computer. Handy if you misplace it or it gets stolen. And in case of the latter, you can perform a remote wipe so no one can get your data.

All in all, you get critical features without extra fluff. 

Ease of Use

Backblaze is probably the best online photo backup for beginners. It does away with all the confusing features and gives you only the essentials for backing up your data. You just need to install the app, and the setup system takes care of the rest.

Admittedly, Backblaze is designed a bit unusually in that it selects every file on your system to be backed up. You would have to deselect all folders you want to exclude. This can be a bit of a pain if you only want to upload photos, though you only have to do it once.

All in all, it’s a pretty straightforward system.

Plans

Backblaze has a single plan with unlimited cloud photo storage for backups. It costs $6 monthly, $60 annually, or $110 biennially.

If you need a physical drive delivered with your data, Backblaze will charge you $99 for a 256GB flash drive or $189 for an 8TB hard drive. Don’t worry; you can return it to Backblaze within 30 days for a refund.

All in all, it’s a reasonably affordable deal for unlimited storage backups.

Verdict

If you have a ton of photos on your computer or external drives, Backblaze is probably the easiest and most affordable backup service. It’s the best cloud backup for photographers with significant storage needs.

Google Photos
Google Photos

BEST FOR ANDROID USERS

Starting at
$ 1.99 /mo
  • Ease of use: Solid
  • Security: 5/10
  • Features: 6/10
  • Works on: Android, iOS, and web client
  • Awesome on Android
  • Robust AI recognition and search
  • Affordable
  • Range of plans
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Solid photo sharing
  • Fun photo editing and photobook creation
  • Generous free plan
  • Discontinued unlimited free storage
  • Google isn't the greatest in terms of privacy

Google Photos is probably the most broadly used photo storage service because it comes included with every Android device. But, even if you’re not an Android user, you can take advantage of its great features.

Here’s what the tech giant has in store.

Features

Google Photos is highly flexible. You can download an app to back up photos or sync them across most devices—yes, even iOS ones. You can even scan photos with your phone to directly upload them into the online image storage.

Image Storage Tools

The service supports the major image formats—.jpg, .png, .webp, and .gif. A variety of RAW formats is supported as well, though not all of them. You can check out the list of supported cameras, though newer cameras that aren’t included might be supported too. The only other limit is that the image resolution of the images has to be smaller than 200MB and 150MP —sorry, Phase One fans. Still, Google Photos has some of the best cloud storage for RAW photos

You can quickly preview the images. Google will analyze the contents and sort them, let you create albums, gifs, panoramas, animations, enhance images, etc. You can even build a collage or a photobook to order as a physical copy.

There are some photo enhancement features. These are similar to the editing tools you might find on Instagram or phone photo gallery. Pretty solid for doing a few quick photo edits.

Decent File Sharing

Of course, the cloud storage for photos is user and family-oriented, and it wouldn’t be complete without sharing features. It just takes a few clicks to send a photo or a full album to a friend or family member. 

It’s a solid offer for most personal users who want their photos safe and easily accessible.

Ease of Use

Google Photos shares the same intuitive interface you see on all Google apps. It’s easy to find all the options and upload files to the cloud. Right-click support, drag-and-drop, and selection tools make using Google Drive no more complicated than your home computer.

The mobile app and its automatic camera roll upload makes it one of the best photo storage options in terms of user-friendliness.

As expected from the leading search engine, Google has quite a search tool for photos too. Its AI system can detect all sorts of animals, colors, objects, and landmarks and assign them tags. The facial recognition is off the charts. It can find photos of the same person at vastly different ages. Google Photos even automatically creates albums of photos from different trips, holidays, or events.

All of Google’s search tools that make your life easier completely blow away the competing solutions like Apple Photos.

Pricing

Google Photos gained its popularity because it offered unlimited free cloud picture storage for images under 16MP. Unfortunately, Google is discontinuing this service. You can still keep your photos, but the ones you upload after June 1, 2021 count towards the 15GB free storage quota. This doesn’t really matter if you want to upload full-quality photos, though.

As I already mentioned, the free plan gets you 15GB of storage. If you want to upgrade this, you can purchase one of the larger Google One plans:

  • 100GB—$1.99/month
  • 200GB—$2.99/month
  • 2TB—$9.99/month
  • 10TB—$99.99/month
  • 20TB—$199.99/month
  • 30TB—$299.99/month

You can get two months off by prepaying for a year. Even without that, the prices are very competitive. Google Photos certainly is flexible and can scale far enough for almost anyone.

Verdict

Google Photos is one of the best storage for digital photos for personal users. It has a user-friendly offer that can scale to accept up to 30TB of photos. Plus, all the easy management features make it a marvel for personal users who like to take many snaps. If that sounds like you, feel free to give it a try.

OneDrive
OneDrive

BEST FOR WINDOWS PC USERS

Starting at
$ 1.99 /mo
  • Ease of use: Great
  • Security: 6/10
  • Features: 8/10
  • Works on: Windows and macOS
  • Great on Windows
  • Supports most image formats
  • Competitive pricing
  • Integrated with Office 365
  • Comes preinstalled on Windows
  • Extra-safe personal vault
  • Poor privacy features
  • Limited tagging tools

OneDrive is a storage service by Microsoft. The tech giant is competing head-to-head with Google Drive, and it keeps adding features to make its offer more compelling. Let’s see if they are enough to make it the best photo storage solution.

Features

OneDrive comes integrated into Windows 10 by default, though it also supports macOS, Android, and iOS.It’s easy to select which files and folders you want to upload to OneDrive. There are several handy options here, like selecting when to run backups—for example, when connected to WiFi. You can automatically back up all the photos on your phone without a hitch.

Photo-oriented Features

The solution has an image preview option for a range of file formats. They include JPEG, JPG, TIF, TIFF, GIF, PNG, etc. It can work as cloud storage for RAW files in a range of formats.

OneDrive will try to arrange photos into albums by different dates, events, etc. You can view a map of where different photos were taken if they contain geolocation data. It features some tagging features for easier search. Unfortunately, they fade in comparison to the best photo storage apps like Adobe Creative Cloud or Google Photos.

There are also some basic editing tools. They are nice if you want to add a quick filter to a photo, though they don’t do much else.

High-security Personal Vault

OneDrive adds an extra-safe Personal Vault folder. This requires two-factor authentication to unlock after not accessing it for 20 minutes. It doesn’t feature zero-knowledge encryption, though, so OneDrive admins still have access to your data.

OneDrive has plenty of other advantages, though they mostly focus on the Office suite. It tries to compete with Google Drive, but it would need to add a few features to compare with the more robust cloud photo storage providers.

Ease of Use

As you would expect, OneDrive works the smoothest with Windows. It’s baked right into the operating system, and you can use it to upload files in a few clicks. Plus, it uses Cortana voice search to find photos faster.

macOS and mobile clients are not half bad either. All the features are easy to find, and the search is quite strong.

All in all, OneDrive warrants no complaints in the ease of use department.

Plans

If you create a Microsoft account, you get 5GB of free cloud photo storage. You can further upgrade this through three paid plans, two of which come bundled with Office 365. They are:

  • OneDrive—100GB, $1.99/month
  • Office 365 Personal—1TB, $5.84/month
  • Office 365 Home—6TB split between 6 users, $8.33/month

The pricing is competitive. And, if you like using the MS Office suite, you can get a packaged deal with plenty of space.

Verdict

If you’re a Windows user, you can quite easily extend your OneDrive subscription. You get easy image search and quite a bit of storage, which is all most personal users need. It makes it one of the best photo storage options of 2021.

Do I Need Cloud Storage for Photos?

We all have photos stored away somewhere. If you’re a personal user, you might have pics from a trip on your laptop or at least some family photos on your phone. Photographers among you likely have hundreds of gigabytes of RAW files spread across a few drives.

The question is: what will you do if something happens to your phone or computer? And things can happen.

If you’re a photography buff, you’ve undoubtedly heard stories of someone losing their photos due to a drive failing or being stolen. Heck, you’ve probably even had a bunch of friends drop their phone and lose all their photos.

So, if that happens to you, will you be able to recover the lost data? If the answer is no, you might need to find a secure place to store files and pictures.

Keeping Your Photos Safe – The Smart Way

Now, you can either buy an external physical drive or purchase an online storage plan. While many users prefer physical storage, as it is faster and cheaper in the long run, cloud storage has a few advantages in its own right.

For one, the risk of failure is lower with cloud storage, as the provider usually has redundant systems maintained by professionals. Online storage is also much easier to use as you don’t need to deal with cumbersome physical drives.

Cloud photo storage is more scalable—it takes just a click to get more. With physical storage, you would have to purchase an additional drive.

Plus, your physical drive technology might become obsolete down the road (a great example was the shift from HDDs to SSDs a few years back). With the cloud, the costs and work of upgrading storage technologies fall on the provider.

But that is not all. Cloud storage has a few advantages it would be tough to get in other ways.

For one, you can get anywhere-access with any device. This is great if you want to work on some photos from, let’s say, your work computer, and then switch to your home PC or mobile phone.

Some digital photo storage services, like Adobe Creative Cloud, directly integrate editing apps. That way, you can work with photos without even using space on your computer or phone.

All in all, data reliability and ease of access can be a great asset for anyone. Cloud storage is the ideal solution here, as long as you have a working internet connection. If you’re interested, let’s cover what to consider when picking a storage company.

How to Choose a Photo Cloud Storage Provider?

There are a few things to consider if you want to find the best cloud photo storage.

Supported Devices

Making sure the storage system works with your device is as good a place to start as any. 

Think about how you want to upload the photos. Do you want to back up photos from your computer or directly from the phone or tablet?

It shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to find a provider that works with your desktop device. Most support Windows, macOS, and Linux, so you don’t need to worry.

Checking out the mobile app is good practice, though. Some digital photography storage providers let you back up photos automatically as soon as you take them. This can save you a ton of time if you use your phone to snap shots.

Also, make sure to check the number of devices you can connect to your account.

Storage Capacity

Storage capacity keys right into this. Be mindful to get more storage than you need at the moment. After all, you’re bound to take more photos, and you’ll need to upload those too.

Somewhere around 500GB-1TB is usually enough for the great majority of users. 1TB easily handles 100k high-quality JPGs. This usually costs under $10/month, which is a solid deal.

If you’re a photography enthusiast and need RAW photo storage, though, you might exhaust this pretty quickly. In such cases, try to pick a provider that lets you upgrade beyond 1TB, even if you start with a smaller storage pool. Migrating photos to a different service can be a massive pain, so it pays off to get it right the first time.   

File Formats, Cataloging, and Editing

This mostly concerns people who know their way around a camera.

Most storage providers let you upload and preview common formats like .jpg. This works fine for most people.

However, if you’re a professional who needs cloud storage for photographers or designers, you might need to upload TIFF or RAW files. Unfortunately, few services support this, so it pays off to see if you can work with your preferred formats before signing up.

Of course, you can find companies that take things beyond basic preview features. You might get robust cataloging to help you organize your image library. Some even use recognition features to analyze the photos and categorize them according to content. If you’re a fan of Adobe Lightroom, you are probably already familiar with the system.

And if you want to take your entire workflow online, there are options to edit photos right out of the digital photography storage system. Most providers limit this to basic edits, but a few options integrate full-on SaaS-based photo editing suites. If you’re interested, you can find a few options above.

So, if you’re serious about working with visual content, it’s worth looking into services that bolster the process.

Ease of Use

It goes without saying that a storage service should make it easy to sign up and start uploading. A bug-free application is a must, of course.

It might be simple, but you’d be surprised how many companies fail to make it obvious how to sync files or upload photos from your phone. The best course of action is to go for free online storage for photos. Most providers have a free plan you can use to see if you’re comfortable with it. If not, you can switch providers before committing to one solution. 

Data Protection

Many users are concerned about placing data in the cloud due to all the cases of stolen photos.

The good news is that finding secure data storage is relatively easy. As long as you find a provider that employs strong measures and protects data using 256-bit AES encryption, you should be fine. Storage breaches are extremely rare, as long as you protect your own account with a strong password.

However, if you’d like extra peace of mind, you can find a provider with zero-knowledge encryption. Such services leave the encryption key in your hands, so not even the online photo storage provider can actually access your data. This is way better in terms of data privacy, but it prevents you from connecting third-party software. In other words, you can store photos, but editing tools are usually off the table. You also have to make sure to keep your encryption key safe since you won’t be able to access the data without it.

In general, cloud storage services are safe, but you can take the extra step if you value data privacy.

Pricing

Lastly, you should consider the price. Cloud storage is very competitive, so you can expect quite affordable rates. Just weigh the pricing against the features and the storage allocation, and pick the best cloud photo storage deal for your needs.

If you’re interested in some strong providers with good-priced deals, you can start with the reviews above. 

Wrap Up

That’s it for our list of the leading photo storage providers. You now have all the info you need to select the best company to store your digital photos, and you know our top picks for 2021. Feel free to check out any of the websites above and see if the online image storage provider might be a good fit for you. Good luck!

FAQ

Is it safe to store photos in the cloud?

It’s reasonably safe, though you are right in being concerned. Many people have indeed had their photos stolen from storage services. However, storage services usually have a few data protection experts on their staff and robust security systems designed to flush out intruders. Most breaches actually happen due to user error, i.e., using weak passwords or accidentally giving away credentials. So, while you generally get secure photo storage, you should observe the best security practices.

Where are photos stored in the cloud?

Storage companies typically maintain their own data centers with thousands of servers. Data stored in the cloud is really just on one of those computers. Now, any reasonable provider will store data on multiple machines, so you don’t lose it if one server fails. The machines might be in the same facility or in separate locations, depending on the provider’s systems. All in all, if you use online photo storage, you’re basically renting out somebody else’s hardware. 

Which is better, Google Photos or iCloud?

It really depends whether you use iOS or Android. Google Photos offers easy native integration with all Android devices and works very smoothly with them. iCloud, on the other hand, focuses on working with iOS technologies and Apple-specific file formats. Both services work well enough for storing photos, so it depends on your preferred system.

What is the best cloud photo storage?

There are plenty of options, though it depends on your needs. Adobe CC kills it for professionals, IDrive and Google Photos work way better for personal users. pCloud is excellent overall and has terrific family plans. If you need backups, you might want to check out Zoolz or Backblaze. There’s plenty of choices. If you’d like more info, you can scroll up and check out all the best cloud photo storage companies reviewed here.

Is Google Photos good for storing photos?

Google Photos is pretty solid for personal users, though you can’t use it for unlimited personal storage anymore. Still, it is effortless to use, has incredible search tools, and even allows basic photo edits. Plus, the incredibly affordable rates let it easily compete with other cloud photo storage solutions. You can read its review above if you’d like more info.