What options do I have? How much do they cost? Is it necessary to pay for them?
With the recent announcement by Google that starting June 1, 2021, all new photos and videos upload will count toward the free 15GB of storage that comes with any Google Account, if you are one who uses cloud storage often to store your RAW and 4K videos, what other options do you have?
Cloud storage is basically a jargon for online storage where you can back up your photos or videos safely in. It allows you to access it from anywhere and anytime with an internet connection and a smartphone or computer. Cloud storage can be useful in replace of having a hard drive or if you are stuck in the Apple ecosystem like I am, and you cannot insert an extra memory card. Moreover, as cameras on phone improve, the quality of the photos you take gets better at the expense of the storage capacity it takes up. Eventually, you will most likely need to have some sort of storage to save your photos and videos somewhere. That is where cloud storage comes into handy as well.
Of course not! You can keep your photos private; most cloud storage providers have settings that let you set restrictions to make photos accessible only to your password-protected account, or to anyone with a private web link.
Here are some other cloud storage solutions that you can explore to get more storage space:
This one is not very common. But regardless, you get 10GB of free storage and they have various monthly, yearly, and lifetime options available.
pCloud is quite similar to Dropbox, it syncs well between mobile devices and your computer. You can generate a download link through pCloud to share documents, photos, and videos with your friends and family.
The prices are rather competitive given that they have the lifetime option. This means that you are paying once, and you will never need to pay again for cloud storage. Heeey, that is pretty good. 500GB for a lifetime and if you are wondering, it takes about 3 years plus for you to make this deal “worth it” for the cost you are paying.
Free space: 10GB
Paid space: 500GB/ 2TB
Pricing: Starts from €4.99/47.88 to €175 for 500GB or more
Pros: Easy to use, allows you to store any file
Cons: Expensive for a monthly plan
You may just have some considerations for example, what if the company closes down? So let us take a look at other options. :)
This one is like the OG of all cloud storage, established and leading. It has been around for the longest time and it definitely syncs well between your desktop and mobile. However, if you are looking for free space, it only comes with 2GB. Personally, I use this to store some files for schoolwork and to transfer files to others. Files that are too huge to go through email. I have not encountered any problem so far which is good.
For the paid plan, it is a massive upgrade, it gives you 2TB of cloud storage and various other benefits. Some benefits such as you get to wipe devices remotely, 30-day version history, the option to restore files to a specific point in time, in the case of accidental file loss, and Smart Sync. Dropbox is awesome especially for storing RAW files. Dropbox is integrated with Facebook, which allows you to easily transfer photos or videos from Facebook. Moreover, there is also Adobe Creative Cloud integration.
Free space: 2GB
Paid space: 2TB or more
Pricing: Starts from US$9.99/11.99 monthly, either billed yearly or monthly
Pros: Easy to use, versatility, reputable
If you are familiar with the Microsoft Office suite, you will most likely feel comfortable using OneDrive. However, this is not designed to be for storing solely photos. OneDrive comes with 5GB of free storage, more than Dropbox but it still loses to Google. The plus point would be that Microsoft’s 1TB paid option that is SG$10.80 per month or SG$108 per year and it comes with Microsoft Office 365. Yeap, no more ‘unlicensed’ popups every time when you open Excel, Word, or Powerpoint telling you to purchase Microsoft Office HAHAHA!!
Free space: 5GB
Paid space: 100GB/1TB or more
Pricing: Starts from SG$3/month or $108/year
Pros: Free Office 365, cheaper 1TB option
Cons: Not designed for photos unlike competitors
Our dear friend, Google
This opinion article started because of you. :’)
Google Drive is part of G Suite which offers several free business-grade office applications that we all know like Google Docs, etc. Storing photos on Google Drive is possible but do not expect the same stylish layout that you get from more photo-focused cloud storage. Almost anyone would have used the free option that Google gives which is the 15GB.
However, if you need more space, you can look at Google One which is their paid option. One benefit I like about it is the ability to share the space I have with my family members.
You can use Google Photos and use unlimited storage until June 2021 to upload photos and videos on the cloud for free. Only media uploaded after June 2021 will consume the 15GB cap towards your Google Drive.
When uploading photos and videos, Google Photos compresses them for efficient storage and that may be something that you might not like if you want them in the original quality. With that being said, the quality change is not obvious for me. You can choose to upload original quality but Google already counts that against the storage cap.
Free space: 15GB
Paid space: 100GB/200GB/2TB
Pricing: Starts from SG$2.79/month or SG$27.99/year
Pros: Free G Suite, easy to use, the option to add your family
Cons: Might be complicated for new users
This solution is targeted specifically at photographers and provides storage with attractive image galleries. You can enable people to add photos to one shared folder and make any photos private. Editing your photos would not be a problem as it has integration with Lightroom and Elements. Not to forget, it has support for RAW file formats. However, all these come at a hefty price.
Pricing: Starts from SG$13.14/month or SG$157.68/year for 20GB or more
Pros: Meant for photos
If you are a student or teacher, they have a Creative Cloud All Apps Plan that is SG$26.30/month!
If you are not an Apple user, you can move on to the last option. :) When you own an Apple device and have an iCloud account, it would automatically come with 5GB of free space. If you back up almost everything on iCloud, you probably would have seen and ignored the “Not Enough Storage” notification on your iPhone a million times. I personally do not pay for the upgraded option, but you can consider having it if you have multiple family members using iPhone as they have a family plan as well.
Free space: 5GB
Paid space: 50GB/200GB/2TB
Pricing: SG$1.28/3.98/12.98 monthly
Pros: Family plan, can use to back up your iPhone
Cons: Only for Apple users
Firstly, IDrive is not a product of Apple. It is one of the best cloud storage around that uses 256-bit AES encryption, along with an optional private key for additional security (known only to you). The major benefit of using IDrive is that it is cross-platform compatible which means you can backup and restore files across PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, Andriod, and Windows Phone devices. It is thus also a great option for storing and backing up photos and videos across unlimited devices with a single account. The free plan gives 5GB or you have the option to upgrade to 5/10TB.
Free space: 5GB
Paid space: 2TB/5TB
Pricing: Starts from US$51.12/year or US$74.62/year
Pros: Secure, easy to use
Cons: Overuse charge apply if you exceed the storage limit
At the end of the day, I feel that if you do not need much storage for your photos and videos and do not mind having them separated in different cloud storage, then the free plans are probably sufficient. Otherwise, you can see which option above suits your need.