Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Cloud Storage

When I am teaching I am often asked about cloud storage as a means of backing up images. It seems to me that most people shoot a lot and backing up to the cloud is OK if you have a fast broadband connection but there is the additional issue of cost. We have been seduced by the likes of Google and Amazon offering free or cheap storage but when that free storage is say 30GB that is not much use when you are regularly filling 32GB cards with images. Then came the options of unlimited storage, Amazon were one of the first in on this and it seemed a good deal but as we now learn from DIYPhotography this is coming to an abrupt end and if you have Amazon as your storage you have to look at what you are using because otherwise it might all disappear.

Clouds above Sydney Opera House

Clouds above Sydney Opera House


Google have been pushing people towards Google Photos as a means of cloud storage and you get 15GB free, less than one card! a 1TB of storage is $10 a month. Currently I use 3TB external hard drives to back up my images, so that would cost me maybe $30 a month with Google.

Cloud storage is fine if all you do is back up your phone snaps but for any serious photographer the cloud is adding to the expense. So you say external hard drives connected to the computer cost too, this is correct, my Western Digital drives cost about £70 so in 3 months or so I get free storage and the peace of mind knowing Google etc are not tracking my images.

I still like Flickr you get 1TB (1000GB) free and if you want a more pro feel you can upgrade for about £32 a year. It allows for RAW file storage unlike Google and although 1TB is not enough for all my images I use it for my personal work. The trick would be if you want more than 1TB then have more than one account, break your storage down into subject areas.


2 responses to “Cloud Storage

  1. johnwreford June 9, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Interesting post Keith.
    I always suffer with intermittent net connection so having to rely on a cloud service is restricting, at the moment I have started to separate images into batches that I may want access to when not close to my hard drives, using the limited amount of free space which is great when on the road. I now tend to be as careful shooting as I was with film and try edit ruthlessly. Have hard drives come down in price and cloud service increased? I feel these are issues in transition and hope they become more practical.

    • oxfordschoolofphotography June 10, 2017 at 9:06 am

      Memory continually reduces in cost think of how memory cards for your camera have reduced. Here you can buy a USB powered 1TB about the size of a packet of cigarettes for less than £50. Shooting less is good because as you say as with film you make every shot count but back up is so important. I back up twice and take one drive home with me so the original and first back up is separated from the second back up. I am not convinced by the cloud option. It will continue to rise in cost I think because once you are hooked into it as a system that is it and broadband speed is so important. It is probably fine if all you need to store is jpegs but I only shoot RAW so my files are typically three times larger than the jpegs would be.

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