Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Photo Storage Sites (Who do you use?)

I have about 40-50Gig worth of digital photos that I have on a portable HDD at home. These are photos of my son and daughter mostly and I am terrified that a power surge will blow up the last decade of memories for me. Short of burning this all onto DVD or printing them I have been seaching cyberspace online photo sites. I know that nothing is safer than managing my own backup but for convenience sake it would be nice to have something online, so that if ever I decide to take a long trip down memory lane or I decide that my work is good enough to show off then my images can accessed from any computer. And of course if it's for free then all the better.

Here are some of the sites that I have found and a little about them. This is the obvious one. Sign in with your Yahoo sign in and upload from a photo manager, the New Windows live photo manager or from a browser. The downside is that there is a monthly bandwidth limit of 100Mg and will only display the last 200 photos you uploaded. They do not specify a size limit but at 100Mg per month you can only upload 1.2Gig per year. Their Pro account at $24.95 per year gives you unlimited storage and bandwidth but Flickr is more of a 2.0 site than a serious photography storage service provider. I see the HP logo on their site and it is designed with an e-commerce feel to it. It is an online storefront for photo printing products but if you make one purchase per year (365 days) they will provide unlimited storage and bandwidth. Still it feels like keeping your vintage wine at the local pub. has a similar model to Snapfish but with a more vague commitment to storage. They do not specify a limit (not that I can find easily) but seem to avoid using the word unlimited. They say they will store your photos indefinately as long as your account remains active. To keep your account active you have to log in at least once every 30 days. is another online printing business but without restrictions. They will provide unlimited storage and bandwidth indefinitely. The thing that makes me worry is I only found Winkflash because I found a free unlimited photo hosting site called Winkflash either acquired or inherited Clubphoto's member photos when it went belly up. This makes me a little concerned about a business model that obviously didn't work for one company already. once again falls into the online printing business model again but by far they have the most confusing interface and have the same "one purchase every 12 months" policy as the others. they can also store video but for no longer than 30days and have an file size limit of 15Mb for images and 150Mb for video. Incidentally they are really slow in China.

The other problem I have about these sites that would like me to purchase is they are generally US based and being based in Shanghai for the moment, it doesn't really make sense to buy anything from them.

The next 2 sites are more Flickresque. is a google site that offers 1 Gig photo storage and unlimited bandwidth (I assume as they make no reference to bandwidth at all in their site). It has a nice clean interface and unlimited albums. This is the one I currently use, but in the last 6 months I have used a lot of my 1Gig already and it seems that the upload options lower the quality of the images because the default image size is 1600 pixels. You can rent more storage space for $20 per year for an additional 10Gig (that you can use in conjunction with your Gmail account) or $75/ year for 40Gig, $250/ year for 150Gig or $500/ year for 400Gig. Not too expensive but still, I'd like to upload full size images in case I want to print a poster sized image of my left nostril. similarly provides a similar low res storage solution that provides 1Gig for free. The problem with the free account is that images cannot be larger than 1Mb. Fortunately there is ample bandwidth of 25Gig. This is great for online low res images. The Pro account does support higher res images of up to 5Mb, unlimited bandwidth and supports video files but it does not unlimited storage at 5Gig. The good thing about this site is that it apparently links to myspace, facebook, blogger and some other social and blogging sites. Really this is a great solution for bloggers but probably less suitable for photographers.

The final two sites I will mention I found because my cousin and my friend (who are photography enthusiasts) use them to showcase their work. is a paid service that charges $39.95 per year for unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth. The interface is clean, attractive and designed to show off photos. There is a Power User account for $59.95 per year that allows you to customise your page further and a Professional account for $149.95 per year that lets you really create your own site, watermark your images and actually sell the images. is also designed for the photographer in mind, although it may be more expensive in the long run. For $23 a year you get 500Mb of storage space. For $60 a year you get 1500Mb and then you can purchase more space in 500Mb increments. So for those using the site as a alternative backup option this may not end up being such a good choice but I get the feeling the photographic community on Pbase is better than Smugmug.

So that's what I have found and I will continue to be indecisive about my options until my 1Gig is used up on Picasaweb. I've taken the time to write all this in the hopes that someone will read it and then comment about how they store & showcase their images online......

Happy Snapping

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Cuz....check out - I have the same fears of losing I have them backed up to multiple hdd...and how, I'm thinking of uploading them to this mozy site. Small cost...worth the peace of mind for additionaly backup. This is pure backup only though...nothing to do with viewing and sharing the photos. You have covered that already.