Best Ways to Store Your Photos Online
Published: July 2013
By Tom Samiljan, Peter Schlesinger, Elizabeth Boyle, David Alexander Arnold, Malley Priebe
Like a massive attic for your hard drive, the cloud stores your files and cuts your clutter—simply upload your photos, and they're all reachable from nearly any Web-connected device. Below, our favorite cloud services.
What You Get: 2GB free; $99 per year for 100GB.
Compatible with: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Kindle Fire
How It Works: “Drop” files into dedicated folders, and they’ll instantly be updated on Dropbox’s servers. Share each folder via a secure link.
Why We Like It: It’s beyond intuitive—who doesn’t know how to click and drag?
T+L Tip: Earn free space by referring friends to the service.
What You Get: 7GB free; annual packages from $10.
Compatible with: Android, iOS, iPad, Windows Phone
How It Works: Upload your mobile files, including images, which you can easily turn into galleries, then access them from any other device via the app or website.
Why We Like It: A sleek interface, generous free storage, and easy integration with Facebook and Twitter.
T+L Tip: Images taken on Windows Phones get auto-stored in SkyDrive as soon as they’re taken.
What You Get: 15GB free; $4.99 per month for 100GB.
Compatible with: Android, iOS, iPad
How It Works: The real estate titan of the cloud, Google Drive offers up to 16 terabytes of storage space—equivalent to about 8,000 hours of high-definition video footage.
Why We Like It: You can benefit from the company’s endless products, from editing tool Picasa to sharing platform Google+.
T+L Tip: Use Google+ as a companion to Drive for easy sharing and editing.
What You Get: $60 per year for unlimited photo and video uploads.
Compatible with: Android, iOS
How It Works: No music or text files allowed here: SmugMug only stores images and videos. Uploading is fast and easy—and the program knows to skip duplicates.
Why We Like It: Photo-driven features let you edit, add filters, organize files into albums, and share content.
T+L Tip: Order prints straight from the service’s site.
One to Watch: Flickr
Though it had long been declining in popularity, Flickr has recently given its site a game-changing makeover, with eye-catching galleries that can hold one terabyte of content—at no cost. Suddenly, Flickr is once again the service to beat.
• Start with a scene setter. An opening shot illustrating the theme of your trip will draw the viewer in.
• Tell a clear story. Identify a logical structure—say, chronology or region.
• Shake it up. Alternate between landscapes and portraits, as well as close-ups and wide shots.
• Think about color. A black-and-white shot can change up the mood and emphasize graphic qualities.
• Less is more. Being selective about images improves pacing.
• Zoom out. Consider ending with a pulled-back shot to create a final moment of reflection.
Three great tools to help you show off your vacation snaps.
Digital Collage Montages of four to six stitched-together images are a great way to recap your trip in one frame. Flayvr (free; Android, iOS) automatically groups shots based on when and where they were taken and produces sleek compilations, which you can upload directly to social media sites.
Online Slideshow If you’re looking to combine images and videos, Qwiki (free; iOS) can weave both media into one narrative: one slide might be a still shot, while another might come to life as a short clip. Compile the album yourself, or let the app do it all for you—it can even add a soundtrack for extra texture. Share it with friends with the push of a button.
Photo Book When it comes to physical mementos, we love the Web-based photo-book program Blurb (from $12.99), which offers a wide range of templates, paper stocks, and cover options to suit your style. The best part? Your finished product will arrive promptly—usually within a week.