Best Ways to Share and Store Your Photos Online
You’ve taken thousands of digital pics of the kids, the cat and the Grand Canyon. Be sure to save them securely.
From camera phones to digital SLRs, snapping photos has never been easier. But storing all those precious images can be daunting. In terms of convenience, online storage is hard to beat. Numerous sites are free and provide easy-to-use tools for managing and editing photos.
Yahoo’s Flickr is a great choice for casual photographers. For starters, it offers an astounding 1 terabyte (TB) of free storage for photos and other files. That’s enough room for nearly 350,000 10-megapixel photos taken with your smart phone. You can upload images from a Web browser or smart-phone app (Android/iOS/Windows Phone).
Other photo-sharing sites include Snapfish by HP and Shutterfly. Both let you upload an unlimited number of images free. (They make money by charging for calendars, posters, photo albums, greeting cards and other print items.)
Google Picasa is a free photo editor and organizer that works with images stored on a computer or online in a Google+ account. Picasa can also copy photos to an external backup drive and show them as image thumbnails or full-screen slide shows.
Online Storage Sites
Many sites have good photo-management tools. For example, Drive offers 15 gigabytes of space per user for storing everything generated in the Google environment, including images uploaded to Google+ Photos. Photos and videos from your Android device are automatically uploaded to Drive.
Apple has a similar, albeit less generous, offer: 5GB of free storage on its iCloud service. Apple’s Photo Stream service makes uploads a snap: Take a picture with your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and it’s automatically saved to an online album, which holds up to 1,000 of your most recent pictures.
Dropbox, a popular cloud storage service, has a feature called Camera Upload that automatically uploads photos taken with your Apple or Android smart phone or tablet. Each time you upload 500 megabytes of photos, Dropbox gives you an additional 500MB free (up to 3GB total).
Microsoft’s SkyDrive provides 7GB of free cloud storage. SkyDrive has some cool tools, including a convenient timeline view of your images. And it will automatically upload images from a Windows Phone to your SkyDrive camera roll.
Apple fans will likely prefer the convenience of iCloud and Photo Stream. If you prefer Google services, Google Drive is a good match. SkyDrive’s tight integration with Windows makes it a solid choice for Microsoft devotees. If you work across platforms, Dropbox is attractive. And if you’re happy with your current storage setup, photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and Snapfish are convenient for creating physical photo albums and other gifts.
To foil hackers from hijacking your account, each of the photo-sharing services offers password protection. Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Microsoft SkyDrive and Dropbox have two-step verification for an additional level of security. That means you must enter a password as well as a security code, which is usually sent to you by text message, e-mail or phone call.