Skip to main content

Best photo cloud storage in 2022 for GIFs, images and pictures: Free and paid

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Some of the best photo cloud storage options

The best photo cloud storage solutions let you store and access your photos securely. We invest so much into digital media these days - from treasured family albums and holiday snaps to professional photographs and business assets. It's essential we keep those pictures safe. 

Backing up your photos was something of an arduous task back in the day when you had to manually transfer images to CD or DVD. Fortunately, keeping your photos safe is now much easier thanks to the cloud. 

There are a multitude of different cloud services out there, offering a range of photo storage capacities to meet your needs. For example, you can choose from providers offering anywhere between 5GB and 1TB, or indeed unlimited, free remote drive space. 

Of course, if you're looking for the best cloud for photo storage, the online backup solution doesn't only eliminate the hassle of dealing with discs or hard drives. It also enables you to access your photos from anywhere with an online connection. Some of the best photo cloud storage services even let you share photos, and you can even use sites like Flickr to exhibit your images and reach new audiences.

If you want to showcase your photo archive or image collection, then consider photo storage and sharing sites and these image hosting providers. We've compared some of the best photo cloud storage websites; some aimed at photographers and some suited to general picture storage.

Alternatively, many providers, even those offering free cloud storage, usually let you set restrictions like password protection to ensure that your pictures are only visible to the people you share them with. And if you simply want to find out the top overall cloud provider, we've reviewed, rated, and rounded up the best cloud storage

We’ve tested leading services to find the best photo cloud storage options, so you can ensure your images are safely stored online.

Which photo cloud storage is best?

1. IDrive is the best cloud storage provider (opens in new tab)
IDrive, the cloud storage veteran, delivers tons of storage online for an incredibly small outlay. 5TB 10TB for $3.98 for the first year is unmatched till now and so is the support for unlimited devices and the extensive file versioning system available.

Shells.com TechRadar Exclusive

2. Free unlimited cloud backup is now included with ExpressVPN (opens in new tab)
Backblaze has partnered with ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) and now when you sign up for an annual VPN subscription, you get unlimited cloud backup as well. Secure, business-grade cloud storage for everyone, no strings attached.

3. pCloud offers a lifetime cloud storage subscription (opens in new tab)
The Swiss-based company is more expensive than the competition but the one-off payment means that you won't have to worry about renewal fees that can be very horrendously expensive. $350 for 10 years is less than $3 per month.


IDrive

(Image credit: IDrive)
(opens in new tab)
Best for photographers who put more focus on security

Specifications

Pricing model: Subscription
Free storage: 10GB
OS: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Quite fast
+
Great security
+
Simple and easy to use
+
10GB free cloud storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Exceeding your storage limit can be expensive

IDrive is one of the best cloud storage services overall - making it a natural choice when looking for the best photo cloud storage solution. 

A free plan gives you 10GB, which might be enough if you don’t have that many photos. Users who need more space can upgrade to a 5TB plan priced at $59.62 per year. That said, you can get a staggering 10TB of online cloud storage space for a mere $74.62 for the first year.

Business customers can choose from a range of tailored storage options, up to 50TB, giving real flexibility to scale up (or down). Photographers who use multiple devices will be glad to hear that they can back up their photos on unlimited devices across Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android to a single account. 

With the “Auto Camera” option, users can automatically upload photos (and videos) from their device to the IDrive account, while retaining image quality (if they choose to). Additionally, users can benefit from a facial recognition feature that can be used to automatically organize photos, as well as sync them across all linked devices. Also, IDrive has a separate app for iOS and Android, called IDrive Photos, which costs $9.95 a year for unlimited storage.

In our review, we noted “for those that have a lot of devices with data that needs to be secured at reasonable prices, then iDrive could well be the service for you. It has a great feature set that covers a lot of ground, with enough security protection and extra features such as folder sync and bandwidth controls to satisfy the majority of users.”

However, we believed the best photo cloud storage was “best suited to businesses - from self-employed individuals and small teams to huge, international corporations - thanks to the level of flexibility across three different plan types.”

Read our full IDrive review

Backblaze

(Image credit: BackBlaze)
(opens in new tab)
Best value for unlimited backup storage of photos

Specifications

Pricing model: Subscription
Free storage: -
Operating system: Windows, Mac

Reasons to buy

+
Unlimited storage
+
No limit on file size

Reasons to avoid

-
For backing up photos only
-
One account needed for each PC

Backblaze has been around since 2007, offering a very convenient backup solution that makes it one of the best photo cloud storage solutions around. 

But there’s a downside: you can’t share your photos, or benefit from any additional features whatsoever – all Backblaze does is backup and store your images (and other important files), and that’s it.

The upside: Backblaze has several major strengths. One of those is its slick operation, with no input required from the user – everything is backed up continuously, and that all happens in the background automatically. 

Not only this, but you get unlimited cloud storage capacity with the sole (personal) subscription plan, so there’s definitely no need to worry about having tons of pics (or videos, or anything else) to back up.

The caveat is that while storage isn’t limited, you’re tied to just one computer with one account. If you want more, then you’ll need another subscription for additional devices (one for each, and mobiles aren’t covered, just PCs). 

However, at $70 for a year of unlimited storage (and bandwidth, with no file size limits), the price is certainly tempting if this solution fits your requirements.

When we reviewed Backblaze, we found it to be “a comprehensive, set-it-and-forget it backup solution for protecting your data should the worst happen…while the service misses some things, it should certainly be near the top of your shortlist if you want a comprehensive, no-limits, secure backup of the data for your home or business computers.”

Read our full Backblaze review

pCloud's Windows 10 interface

(Image credit: Image Credit: pCloud)
(opens in new tab)
Best for storing multiple image file formats

Specifications

Pricing model: Annual subscription, Lifetime subscription
Free storage: 10GB
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Stores any file type
+
Proven legacy

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

pCloud is special among the ranks of best photo cloud storage platforms - it’s one of the very few that provides a lifetime storage subscription. That means you only have to pay once to get, well, 2TB of storage. To prevent abuse, you are also limited to 2TB of download link traffic per month. 

While we had reservations about its overall polish - it’s not as slick as rivals - we felt “for its incredible value for money and extensive list of features available to all users, it’s easy for us to recommend pCloud as a secure cloud storage platform to both individuals and families, however business may want more flexibility.” We also rated pCloud as one of the best alternatives to Google Photos

Photographers will love the fact that you can see thumbnails and previews of most RAW files with the web and mobile versions of pCloud, as well as in pCloud Drive for macOS. 

Also nifty is the browser extension that allows you to save videos and images directly to your pCloud account, which you can use as a scrapbook. 

Remember as well that you will be able to keep file revisions for up to 30 days and that you can create an entire static HTML website with its own URL.

Read our full pCloud review

Adobe Creative Cloud

(opens in new tab)
Best photography-focused storage

Specifications

Pricing model: Subscription
Free storage: -
Operating system:

Reasons to buy

+
Great for photographers
+
Flexible subscription packages
+
Professional and polished experience

Reasons to avoid

-
On-going subscriptions can add up
-
Focused on photography and creative work

Adobe Creative Cloud offers a number of top photo cloud storage subscriptions specifically for photographers and creators, providing photography-focused storage with attractive image galleries. This gives you a lot of flexibility over what you used to store your pictures

The Creative Cloud Photography plan offers access to photo organizer and editor Lightroom and Photoshop, with a choice of 20GB or 1TB cloud storage. The Creative Cloud All Apps package, meanwhile, bundles in all top Adobe apps and gives you 100GB storage. Alternatively, you can subscribe to individual apps, with the same storage space on offer). 

Group Libraries enable colleagues to add photos to one shared folder, and you're free to make any photo private. 

There's integration with Lightroom and Elements, and you can make quick edits when needed. There's even integration with Gmail. Uploading is easy, with apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. There's also support for RAW file formats.

We were big fans of Adobe Creative Cloud, giving it 4 stars in our review, saying “you get a lot for your money with Adobe Creative Cloud, from online storage to collaborative features, and of course all the apps you could possibly want in order to generate content. The combined weight of all this, plus the fact Adobe regularly updates all of its apps, means you might see immense value in this subscription option.” 

However, that diverse subscription package may not be for those looking for straight-down-the-line photo storage.

Read our full Adobe Creative Cloud review

Encrypted cloud storage and collaboration for the enterprise (opens in new tab)
Tresorit is the ultra-secure cloud for businesses with full GDPR and HIPAA compliance, a privacy-first philosophy to enable secure cloud collaboration. Store, sync and share files with your team with complete data migration support. Get secure cloud storage and collaboration for your teams for as little as $14.50 per month per user (opens in new tab).

Dropbox app

(opens in new tab)
Best option for storing RAW files

Specifications

Pricing model: Subscription
Free storage: 2GB
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Stores any file type
+
Proven legacy

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a budget option

Dropbox is great for storing pretty much any file you care to think of - and that’s why it has secured a place on our list of the best cloud storage for photos. 

In our hands-on review, the mighty cloud storage platform drew praise. “While it lacks the online office suite capabilities of Google Drive, and the tight iOS and macOS integration of iCloud, it excels when you need to sync files and folders between devices running different operating systems.“

Organizing files is a cinch thanks to the intuitive folder system, plus you can access files on the go with apps for iOS and Android. All this and 2GB of storage is free with a Dropbox Basic account (you can get an extra 500MB of space for referring a friend, all the way up to 16GB). A Dropbox Plus account offers 2TB for $11.99 a month or $119 a year, and you can get 1GB per referral (up to 32GB).

You do get a remote desktop wipe, 30-day version history, priority email upload and the option to restore folders or your entire account to a specific point in time, in case of accidental file deletion, crashes, or similar disasters.

For its versatility and simplicity, Dropbox is superb, especially if you just need to store RAW files. Also, Dropbox is integrated with Facebook, allowing you to easily transfer photos or videos from the social network. Furthermore, Adobe Creative Cloud integration is there as well.

Read our full Dropbox review

Google Photos

(opens in new tab)
Best cloud storage but only for videos and photos

Specifications

Pricing model`: Subscription
Free storage: 15GB
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Web, iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Free productivity apps thrown in
+
AI photo assistant

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be daunting at first

"Cloud storage is important for photographers as localized back-ups of images are never totally safe, even if you have mirrored copies on two separate drives. Using a cloud storage solution means your images are kept safe, while you can access them from any device."

Phil Hall, Photography Editor, TechRadar

Google Photos used to be the number one destination for photo backups, offering free, unlimited cloud storage for ‘high quality’ photos and videos. But since June 2021, newly uploaded images count towards the free 15GB of cloud storage that comes with every Google account. 

In our in-depth Google Photos review, we called it “a strong entry into the cloud storage space for users to store their photos and images, but the basic editing tools will leave more advanced users looking for more functionality.” 

As you’d expect from Google, the photos app has a classically clean layout, accessible for everyone, and easy to use. Better still, you can upload, view, edit, and retrieve your pictures on almost every device. 

If you prefer traditional cloud storage for photos - rather than the image-focused Photos app - Google Drive is a good alternative. Like Dropbox, Drive is geared towards file sharing, with multiple users able to modify shared files. 

You can store photos on Drive, but it doesn't offer the same stylish setting as more photography-focused online storage. It’s also part of Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), which offers several free business-grade office apps - we even use it at TechRadar Pro HQ. 

There are some clever features, too. Google uses AI and machine learning to automatically label people, objects, and locations within pictures, using metadata (the recorded date and place) to make searching easier. If you have a Canon device, you can back up your photos to Google Photos by just using Wi-Fi.

Free cloud storage starts at 15GB, with storage space shared across all Google services, like Photos, Drive, Gmail, and Docs. 

As part of Google One, you can increase the allocated space to 100GB for $19.99 / £15.99 per year, 200GB for $29.99 / £24.99 per year, and 2TB costs $99.99 / £79.99 per year.

Read our full Google Photos review 

OneDrive

(opens in new tab)
Best balance of versatility and value

Specifications

Pricing model: Subscription
Free storage: 5GB
Operating system: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Free productivity suite thrown in
+
1TB storage is cheaper than rivals

Reasons to avoid

-
Less photo-focused than competition

Microsoft OneDrive offers a very similar setup to its arch-rival, Google Drive - but it’s likely the best photo cloud storage if you’re a Microsoft 365 subscriber. 

Anyone familiar with the Microsoft Office suite will feel right at home with OneDrive's integrated office apps. OneDrive adopts the same look and feel as Windows 10, so it's easy to navigate. 

However, it isn't designed solely for photographers, so don't expect the same viewing experience as you get from Flickr. That said, some features have been added for photo users, like cropping, rotating, and light/color adjustments. Hardly Photoshop levels of editing, but passable when you need a quick fix.  

In our review of the cloud storage service, it didn’t escape our attention that, for a long time, OneDrive had lagged behind rivals like Google Drive and Apple iCloud. However, we found the latest version “is easier to call a success now, particularly for those that spend a lot of time using Windows or the various Office applications.”

Standalone OneDrive pricing is close to Google's, with 5GB for free and an extra 100GB costing $1.99 /£1.99 per month. 

Microsoft's 1TB option is better value at $6.99 / £5.99 per month (or $69.99 /£59.99 paid yearly), and includes the Office 365 package. Add another $3 / £2 per month and you get six licenses to use, more storage, and bonus features like one hour of Skype for free. 

Also, subscribers can install Office (both plans) on an unlimited number of devices.

Read our full Microsoft OneDrive review

Flickr

(opens in new tab)
Best bang for no bucks, providing you stick to JPEGs

Specifications

Pricing model: Subscription
Free storage`: 1000 photos & videos
Operating system: Web, iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Free
+
Unlimited storage with Flickr Pro

Reasons to avoid

-
Can't store RAW files

Where most of the best photo cloud storage providers make you pay for more than a few gigabytes of storage, Flickr keeps it really simple:free cloud storage for 1,000 photos and videos. Unobtrusive adverts covering the cost. If you'd rather go ad-free and with unlimited cloud storage, you can do so for an equally simple $7.99 / £6.99 monthly fee (annual and bi-annual subscriptions are also available). 

Our review of FlickrPro described it as “a strong entry into the cloud storage space of image and video storage, combining the social aspect for sharing the content. FlickrPro excels at the unlimited storage, with a dedicated software tool, the cross platform support, and the ease of use especially with tagging images.”

What makes Flickr stand out is its ability to display your photos in an attractive photostream. Other users can follow your activity and comment on your shots, making it a real social network for amateur and professional photographers alike (or if you prefer, you can make images private).

Flickr is designed for presenting your shots rather than just storing them, so it'll only display JPEG, GIF, and PNG images. Dropbox is better if you need to upload RAW files, but without FlickrPro, you won't get stats on your photo views or 15% savings off Adobe's Creative Cloud. With the annual plan, you also get discounts for Blurb, SmugMug, and Prime.

Read our full FlickrPro review

5 things to look for in cloud storage for photos

Freemium: Most of the best photo cloud storage providers give you some free space, with extra capacity available for a monthly or annual fee. Prices vary considerably, though, so make sure you get a good deal.

File formats: If you just want to back up or share JPEGs, then pretty much any provider will fit the bill. However, you'll need to choose more carefully if you'll be storing TIFFs or RAW files.

Internet speed: Don't fork out on a premium cloud storage subscription if your internet connection runs at a snail's pace. Consider spending the same cash on a fast external hard drive instead.

Show off: Not all online storage websites will display your photos in attractive galleries for the world to see them at their best.

Keep moving: Cloud storage for photos is great for keeping images accessible on the go, so make sure your preferred provider has apps to help view and upload images from your mobile devices.

How to choose the best photo cloud storage for you

When deciding which photo cloud storage is best, your choice comes down to a number of factors, but storage size is likely to be near the top of the list. Compared to documents, images, GIFs, and videos take up a lot of space, so the capacity that may be fine for a generic cloud solution, may not be enough for individuals that capture a lot of videos and pictures. 

In addition, if you're a professional photographer or work in a media-heavy environment, you're going to be storing a lot of high-definition, high-resolution files - and that's consuming even more space. 

Of course, storage size is not the only determinant of the best cloud storage for photos. You should consider other factors like security, support, and user interface. You want to know your images are safe and easily accessible. The platform should fit your unique flow, and it needs to feel comfortable when navigating your chosen photo storage app, 

You may also want to keep in mind the kind of display option that come with a particular cloud storage service. Do you simply want somewhere to keep your images safe, or would you prefer a solution with a built-in gallery? When deciding on the best photo cloud storage option, don't get too focused on storage size.

How we tested the best photo cloud storage

When testing the best cloud storage for photos,  we took into account the services' file upload and download speeds as this can hugely important - particularly for images and videos, which can potentially take a long time to transfer due to their size. 

When uploading large or numerous files, it can be hugely frustrating watching the loading bar gradually crawl to completion - so this was a major factor in the review process. But it wasn't the only one. 

We also assess the best photo cloud storage options based on ease of use, added functionality, and of course, price. 

Collectively, the various criteria that make up the review process should help you to make a considered decision on what the best photo cloud storage service is for your needs.

Stay more secure online and check out our choice of the best VPN.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.

With contributions from