The best cloud storage for photos and pictures in 2024

Person checking photos on camera before uploading to laptop
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With the best photo storage and sharing sites, your treasured memories are securely backed up in case something happens to your phone or hard drive, and you can easily manage and access your entire photo library from anywhere.

When evaluating the best cloud storage options for photos, we look for services that make uploading and organizing images effortless, while providing ample storage space at an affordable price. We believe the top providers must offer intuitive apps and web interfaces, useful features like automatic backups and facial recognition, and a range of plans to suit different needs and budgets.

Our top pick for the best overall cloud storage for photos is IDrive. It offers an excellent all-around package, with rapid uploads, an easy-to-use interface, and handy tools to automatically detect and sort your images. Read on for our full list of the best cloud storage services for photos, and an in-depth look at what makes each one worth consideration.

The quick list

Looking for the best cloud storage for your photos without getting into the nitty-gritty? Here’s a quick rundown of top cloud storage options, emphasizing their unique benefits. Dive deeper into the reviews below for a detailed analysis. 

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The top 3 best cloud storage for photos right now

IDrive: an all-rounder with smart photo features

IDrive: an all-rounder with smart photo features Topping the charts as one of the best general cloud storage services, IDrive does not disappoint when it comes to photo storage. It supports multiple devices, making it a perfect match for photographers juggling multiple cameras.

Google Drive: a comprehensive cloud platform

Google Drive: a comprehensive cloud platform
Far more than just a storage app, Google Drive is a well-rounded cloud platform with deep integration into the Google Workspace productivity suite. This connectivity facilitates efficient file sharing and collaborative document editing.

Dropbox: file storage with unique photo features

Dropbox: file storage with unique photo features Dropbox ranks among the top file storage platforms. Its appeal lies in its user-friendly features, many of which cater to photo and image storage. Uploading photos is a breeze with Dropbox. Users can automatically transfer new images from their camera roll to their account via the mobile app, or instruct the desktop program to scan for images on connected devices.

The best cloud storage for photos of 2024 in full

Best overall

IDrive logo

(Image credit: IDrive)
The best cloud storage for photos

Specifications

Free plan?: Yes
Starting price: $2.95 per year
Storage: From 100GB

Reasons to buy

+
Rapid uploads and downloads
+
User-friendly web interface
+
Automatic image detection and uploading

Reasons to avoid

-
Overage charges if you exceed storage limit
-
Prices may increase when your first-year discount ends

IDrive ranked top of our rundown of the best cloud storage services for general use, so it’s not surprising that it’s also a fantastic option for storing photos. You can connect your account to multiple devices, which is perfect for any photographer who shoots on more than one camera. 

Also making IDrive one of the best cloud storage services for convenience is an Auto Camera setting. If you activate this, IDrive will automatically upload any new photos or videos that appear on the device, so you never have to worry about losing a shot.

Another cool feature is automatic facial recognition. If you have a large family or take a lot of portrait shots, this tool will automatically sort photos by the people in them, and facial detection information can be shared across any devices added to your IDrive account. 

When it comes to managing a vast collection of photos and images, IDrive offers a seamless experience with its intuitive file organization capabilities. You can create custom folders within your cloud storage, making it incredibly easy to categorize your photos by event, date, location, or any other system you prefer. This means you spend less time searching for specific images and more time focusing on capturing or editing your next great photo. 

IDrive supports a range of file formats, ensuring that your high-quality RAW files, JPEGs, or PNGs are stored without any compromise.

IDrive also excels in sharing and collaboration. If you're working on a project with others or simply want to share memories with family and friends, IDrive allows you to share files or entire folders via email or a direct link, with the option to set view or edit permissions. This feature is particularly useful for photographers looking to distribute their work or collaborate on projects remotely. 

Plus, with the added layer of security that IDrive provides, including 256-bit AES encryption and the option for a private key, you can rest assured that your shared photos remain protected and accessible only to those you've granted permission.

Read our IDrive cloud storage review.

Best value

Google Photos logo

(Image credit: Google)
The most feature-packed cloud storage for photos

Specifications

Free plan?: Yes
Starting price: $1.99 per month
Storage: From 100GB

Reasons to buy

+
Connects to other Google productivity apps
+
AI recognizes and organizes photos by faces
+
Video storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Confusing connection between Google Drive and Google Photos
-
No longer unlimited storage

Google Drive is more than just another storage app. This is a well-rounded cloud platform that connects to the comprehensive Google Workspace productivity suite, which supports file sharing and collaborative document editing. 

You can store your photos and sync live changes and edits from your desktop computer using Windows and macOS applications. However, Drive does lack some of the photography-oriented features found with other services on this list. 

That’s why the best way to use Google Drive to store your photos online is to use the connected Google Photos storage service. Until mid-2019, photos would sync automatically between Google Drive and Google Photos, but Google decided this was too confusing for users and discontinued the practice. 

And up until 2021, Google Photos allowed you to upload an unlimited number of photos as long as they were under 16MP in size. Now, after you hit your 15GB limit on Google Drive, including images, videos, and documents, you'll need a subscription. 

When using Google Drive for storing photos, you'll appreciate its seamless integration with Google Photos, offering features like automatic photo organization based on the people, places, and things in your images, thanks to Google's AI technology. This makes searching for specific photos incredibly easy. You can type in "beach" or "birthday" to get relevant photos without having to manually tag each one. 

Another aspect to consider is the sharing capabilities Google Drive offers. Sharing individual photos or entire albums with friends and family is straightforward, thanks to the shareable links Google Drive generates. You can also set permissions for who can view, comment on, or edit your photos, which is great for collaborative albums. 

A 200GB subscription costs $1.99 a month receive 200GB, and there are plans up to $9.99 a month for 2TB a month.

Read our full Google Drive review.

Best budget

Dropbox logo

(Image credit: Dropbox)
The most flexible cloud storage for photos

Specifications

Free plan?: Yes
Starting price: $9.99 per month
Storage: From 2TB

Reasons to buy

+
Proven network cloud infrastructure 
+
Uploads your photos automatically
+
Easily restore a previous version of your gallery

Reasons to avoid

-
Paid plan is quite pricey
-
Fewer photo-specific features than other platforms

With around 400 million users storing approximately 600 billion pieces of content, Dropbox is one of the largest file storage platforms around. When you look at its features, many of which are great for photos and images, it’s easy to see why. 

For starters, Dropbox simplifies the process of uploading photos. If you install the app on a phone or tablet, you can activate the automatic transfer of new images from your camera roll to your account. You can also do this on a desktop by telling the Dropbox Windows or macOS program to scan connected camera cards or mobile devices for images.

Once photos are uploaded, a helpful folder system organizes them. Even better, if you want to edit photos after uploading, the desktop app can sync folders so that they appear in Windows Explorer or macOS Finder. Any modifications you make with photo editing software will be automatically detected and synced. 

Besides this, Dropbox has unique features that you won’t find with many other cloud photo storage services, including a 30-day file version history viewer and a restore feature to protect you from accidental deletions. 

For photographers, Dropbox offers an appealing gallery view feature. This allows you to see thumbnails of your photos, making it easier to locate specific pictures without opening each file. This is particularly useful if you're managing vast numbers of images, but the thumbnail previews load slowly if you're dealing with high-resolution images or a slow internet connection. This can be a bit of a setback when you're trying to quickly scan through your photo library.

Dropbox also integrates with various third-party apps, which can be a significant advantage for those who work extensively with photos. For instance, the integration with Adobe Creative Cloud allows you to edit images directly in Photoshop or Illustrator without the need for downloading and re-uploading. This seamless workflow can save a lot of time and hassle, especially for professionals.

You can get 2GB free, which is a good starting point if you don’t have too many photos. For a more reasonable capacity, it’s worth upgrading to Dropbox Plus which, for $9.99 a month, will net you 2TB. Free and paying Dropbox users can upgrade storage capacity by referring the platform to a friend. 

Read our Dropbox cloud storage review.

Best for simplicity

Microsoft OneDrive logo

(Image credit: Microsoft)
The most straightforward cloud storage for photos

Specifications

Free plan?: Yes
Starting price: $1.99 per month
Storage: From 100GB

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable multi-user plans
+
Get free access to useful office tools
+
Advanced photo search features

Reasons to avoid

-
Not entirely focused on photography
-
5GB free space fills up fast 

If you’re looking for a straightforward personal cloud storage platform where you can store your photos without having to figure your way around new and unfamiliar interfaces, Microsoft OneDrive is worth a look. OneDrive is available as part of Microsoft 365.

Microsoft has intentionally made OneDrive’s appearance similar to that of Windows 10, which means there’s basically no learning curve for any Windows users moving to the platform. 

OneDrive is a general-purpose cloud storage platform, and its chief selling point is seamless integration with popular Microsoft 365 applications like Word and Excel. But that’s not to say that OneDrive doesn’t have some excellent photo management features. In fact, it supports tagging, photo search, and album creation.

When storing photos and images on OneDrive, you'll appreciate its automatic photo tagging feature, which uses AI to categorize your images based on content, making searching for specific photos easier. This comes in handy when you have a vast collection of images, but sometimes you might need to manually adjust or add tags to ensure your photos are organized precisely how you want them.

Sharing albums or individual photos with friends and family is straightforward, and you can do so via a link, email, or directly through social media platforms. But, be mindful of the privacy settings when sharing. OneDrive provides the option to share with view-only access or allow others to edit, which is great for collaborative projects. 

For photographers looking for high-quality backups, remember that OneDrive compresses uploaded photos slightly. While this might not be noticeable to the casual viewer, professionals or photography enthusiasts who need their images in the highest quality possible might find this aspect limiting.

Pricing is pretty affordable too. It matches Google Drive’s budget plan, with 100GB costing $1.99 a month. For $6.99 a month, you get 1TB and desktop versions of Office apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Read our Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage review.

Best free storage

Flickr logo

(Image credit: Flickr)
The best free cloud photo storage

Specifications

Free plan?: Yes
Starting price: $5.54 per month
Storage: Unlimited

Reasons to buy

+
Paid accounts have no storage limits
+
Promote your photography
+
A beautiful way to show off your shots

Reasons to avoid

-
Can’t be used for RAW images
-
Free version is ad-supported

If you’re looking for high-quality cloud photo storage on a budget, Flickr could be the right option. You can think of it as part-cloud photo storage, part-photo-sharing social network. It’s one of the original photography sites to make it big on the web and has an estimated 87m registered members.

Flickr lets you upload up to 1,000 photos and videos free of charge. To remove that limit, you can go for a Flickr Pro+ account. This costs $5.54 a month if you pay two years at a time. Pro+ users aren’t just freed from storage limits; they can also see advanced statistics and learn which shots are generating the best response in the community. 

The greatest thing about Flickr is that you can show off your photos in a classy photostream. Because this is a photo network, other users will be able to respond to your shots unless you make them private. Overall, Flickr is a good way to display and store photos, but the one downside is that it can only handle compressed images, so this isn’t the right place to keep your RAW files. 

 You can tag your photos with keywords, add them to albums, or even place them on a map. This makes finding and sorting through your photos later much easier. Additionally, Flickr's interface is user-friendly, making it simple to upload photos, either individually or in batches. However, it's worth noting that the upload process can be slow at times, especially if you're dealing with a large number of high-resolution images. This can be a bit of a hassle if you're in a hurry or have a slow internet connection.

Another point to consider is Flickr's community aspect. It's a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's fantastic for gaining exposure and receiving feedback from other photography enthusiasts. On the other, the public nature of the platform means you'll need to be mindful of privacy settings and the potential for unauthorized use of your images. While Flickr does offer robust privacy controls, navigating these settings and ensuring your photos are shared with your intended audience requires a bit of effort and vigilance. 

Read our Flickr review.

Best for photo editing

Adobe Creative Cloud logo

(Image credit: Adobe)
The cloud storage for photos with the best editing tools

Specifications

Free plan?: Yes
Starting price: $9.99 per month
Storage: From 100GB

Reasons to buy

+
Integrates with Adobe image editing tools
+
Apps for pretty much any device
+
Use your library to build a photography site

Reasons to avoid

-
20GB plan is expensive for the space you get
-
Works best if you commit to the Adobe ecosystem

As a photographer, you’re probably already familiar with Adobe's suite of photo manipulation tools, but did you know it now also offers cloud photo storage? 

Adobe Creative Cloud has a few plans that include cloud storage. The Lightroom plan ($9.99 per month) gets you 1TB of storage and the popular Lightroom photo management app. The Photography plan ($19.99 per month) gets you 1TB of storage and adds Photoshop, the leading photo editor to the mix. Or, you could choose a plan like the Creative Cloud All Apps plan ($59.99 per month), which includes over 20 Adobe apps and 100GB of cloud storage. 

Remember that there's a seven-day free trial available with Creative Cloud, allowing you to try out the many apps for free before you decide which paid plan to go for.

Managing photos in Creative Cloud is a pleasant experience too, thanks to classy image galleries where you can explore your work or share shots with others. With Group Libraries, collaborators can add photos to shared folders, though you can always make individual folders private. Adobe's created macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android Creative Cloud apps, so uploading is a breeze no matter what device you’re using. 

At the same time, direct integration with Lightroom, Photoshop, and Elements means you can always dive into an image to make adjustments. Unsurprisingly, given Adobe’s rich photo-editing pedigree, Creative Cloud is fully compatible with RAW images. As such, this is a suitable platform for professional photographers who don’t want to lose quality when storing images. 

Another standout feature is the advanced search functionality. This tool uses Adobe Sensei, Adobe's AI, to help you quickly find images based on content, not just metadata tags. For instance, you can search for "mountains" or "blue cars," and Adobe Sensei will scour your library for images that match these descriptions, even if you haven't tagged them explicitly. This can be a significant time saver, especially if you're dealing with a vast library of untagged images.

On the downside, some users have reported sync errors or slow sync speeds with very large files or when working with a slow internet connection. This could potentially disrupt your workflow, so it’s something to keep in mind if you often work with high-resolution images or are in areas with unreliable internet service.

Read our Adobe Creative Cloud review focusing on its cloud storage.

Image

Creative Cloud has seamless integration with Adobe apps
Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography Plan comes with 20GB as standard (as well as Photoshop and Lightroom). You can upgrade to 2TB, 5TB, or 10TB starting at $9.99 per TB, and there's also a seven-day free trial available, so you can test it out before you sign up.

Best for easy-to-use tools

pCloud logo

(Image credit: pCloud)
The best cloud storage for photos with easy-to-use editing tools

Specifications

Free plan?: No
Starting price: $49.99 per year
Storage: From 500GB

Reasons to buy

+
Works well with different photo file types
+
No monthly charges
+
Useful Lightroom plug-in

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey 
-
Monthly download quota

Some cloud storage platforms are limited when it comes to modifying photos once you’ve uploaded them, but that’s not the case with pCloud. This service enables you to resize photos within your browser and archive older photos, so you can better focus on your favorite shots. 

Advanced photographers will appreciate that pCloud automatically provides previews and thumbnail icons of uncompressed RAW format photos (which are better for editing). Also, pCloud can connect directly to Lightroom on Windows and macOS devices, so you can upload shots as soon as you’re finished modifying them.

Another element that distinguishes it is pricing. While almost all competitors charge a monthly subscription, you can pay pCloud a one-time fee for a lifetime of 500GB or 2TB. Although the upfront cost is higher, many photographers prefer it, as you can pay once and forget about it. There’s no need to worry about rates being increased over time, or photos being deleted if you stop paying. 

So that its unique payment system isn’t abused, pCloud does limit the amount of data you can download or stream from your account each month. If you have a 2TB account, for example, you’ll only be able to download 2TB in any given month. 

In an image backup use case, there’s not normally a need to constantly download data from the cloud anyway, so this won’t cause an issue for most photographers. 

pCloud offers a highly intuitive folder structure that mimics what you're likely used to on your computer. This makes it easier to sort, locate, and manage your photographs, even when dealing with thousands of files. The service's search functionality is robust, allowing you to quickly find images based on file name, type, or date added. 

On the downside, while pCloud is excellent for storing and organizing photos, its collaboration features are somewhat limited compared to other cloud storage options. If you frequently work with teams or need to share folders and files with clients for approval, you might find pCloud's sharing capabilities a bit restrictive. The platform does allow for link sharing, but the control over permissions and the ability to collaborate directly within the platform isn't as developed as some might hope. 

Read our pCloud review.

Image

pCloud offers top security and a great lifetime deal
pCloud is one of the few cloud storage providers that offer a lifetime subscription. You pay once and get to keep the software and storage forever. pCloud also offers top-notch security and features 'file-versioning', and is a great all-around choice for photographers.

The best cloud storage for photos, compared

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Cloud storageFree plan?Starting priceStorage
IDrive$2.95 per yearFrom 100GB
Google Photos$1.99 per monthFrom 100GB
Dropbox$9.99 per monthFrom 2TB
Microsoft OneDrive$1.99 per monthFrom 100GB
Flickr$5.54 per monthUnlimited
Adobe Creative Cloud$9.99 per monthFrom 100GB
pCloud$49.99 per yearFrom 500GB

Cloud storage for photos FAQs

What is cloud storage for photos and pictures?

Cloud storage utilizes physical servers to save files on the internet, via internet-connected data centers. These servers are owned, maintained, and run by cloud storage providers, and offer storage for all manner of files.

When it comes to cloud storage for photos, many of the best cloud storage services are also providers of the best cloud storage for photos. You can upload, save, download, and securely backup important image files, and can access them wherever you are, as long as you're connected to the internet.

How to choose the best cloud storage for photos

There are plenty of great photo storage services out there, but how do you work out which is right for you? Take into account key factors such as ease of access from mobile and desktop, gallery sharing features to promote your work, the size of your photo library and the number of images you'd like to store online, and much more.

The majority are “freemium”: although they offer some free storage, extra capacity can only be unlocked by signing up for monthly or annual subscriptions. Price per GB can differ dramatically, so it’s worth shopping around and keeping an eye on the capacity you'll require.

When it comes to storage capacity, the average 16MP JPEG requires 4.8MB, so if you have 500 to upload, you’ll need a plan with at least 2.5GB. Fortunately, most services won’t charge for that amount of space,

If you want to preserve original image information via RAW files, almost any service will allow uploads of compressed JPEGs, PNGs, or GIFs: the same can’t be said for uncompressed RAWs or TIFFs. Check if they’re supported, and how many you'll need to save: 500 RAW 16MP photos will take up approximately 2.5TB, so you’ll need a monthly subscription.

Remember that upload and download times will depend on the speed of your own connection. You’ll be better off investing in a physical storage medium if you don’t have a swift ISP. 

Look for services that offer Android and iOS apps if this is something you want to take advantage of. Some go above and beyond by letting you create stunning sites and profiles, like Flickr. Finally, a major benefit is that you can access, edit, and share photos even when you’re away from your workstation.

How we review the best cloud storage for photos

When we come to review cloud storage services, first of all, we test the upload and download times for file transfers, because these are integral to the performance of platforms and usage. In turn, we examine how a given service's security tools and features work and how comprehensive they are, to ensure your files are kept safe from hacking or accidental loss.

Next, we test the responsiveness and knowledge of customer service and support teams, as when there's an issue you want to be sure your provider will quickly get back to you and will know how to fix the problem. In a market vertical with varying levels of free and paid plans, we explore and explain pricing in-depth, while we also test out and discuss any additional tools or features offered by the service.

Across our comprehensive reviews of each cloud storage platform, we also compare each service to its competitors, specifically in terms of pricing and key features. We undertake all of this during testing so that you, the consumer, can benefit from as much information about each service as possible before you choose.

Read more on our testing methodology.

Next steps with cloud storage

Follow our cloud storage checklist when looking for a provider of online storage, and learn top tips for data backup and recovery

If you're looking for storage beyond just photos, or have a tighter budget, take a look at our other buying guides that evaluate the best free cloud storage, the best personal cloud storage, and the best cloud storage for business.

Richard Sutherland

Richard is a technology writer with over 20 years experience in website development, marketing, and SEO. A graduate in Computer Science, he has lectured in Java programming and built software for companies including Samsung and Walmart. Richard writes for TechRadar, IT Pro, Tom's Guide, and PC Gamer.

With contributions from
  • PhantomPowered
    Do any of these services read EXIF or other metadata as a means of searching and organizing? I’ve looked into them before and was surprised that none even recognized it.
    Reply
  • RoyalScam
    I think you need to revise the Google Drive/Photos portion of the article. You state “free unlimited photo storage for photos under 16 megapixels.” That was true for a long time, but is no longer true for all users. I believe you’re now limited to the 15 GB in your Google Drive account, period, regardless of photo size.
    Reply
  • rogerh99
    I'd be interested to see self-hosting included in the mix, e.g. on a NAS (such as with Synology Photos) or on shared hosting with a script like Piwigo or Coppermine.
    Reply
  • ForteF
    I am an iDrive customer for my device backup but the Photos app is simply terrible and the support is abysmal.

    I have c15000 photos on my iPhone however not all photos are uploaded and others are duplicated. The viewing interface is also rather poor and a considerable step down from the capabilities of the native apple app.

    With regards support I have been attempting to ascertain which is the target folder for the Photos App search and upload procedure to try and resolve my issue with missed / duplicated photos, however nobody at iDrive is able to answer this.

    Comments have ranged from "Camera Roll" - which was retired with iOS 13 and "Your default camera folder" - which is no help if you are importing photos. I rather think it is the "Recents" folder but as yet nobody at iDrive has been able to confirm which folder their app targets for uploads....

    I really cannot fathom the review from Tom here as I rather think he has been using a different app to the one that I have tried to use....
    Reply
  • 5p0ng3b0b
    Might want to mention:

    Amazon photos app. You have unlimited photo storage and 5Gb of video for prime members.

    NextCloud is best if you have a NAS/Pi or hosted webspace. For example you can get 100Gb hosting with OVH and install Nextcloud on a subdomain for £2/month. Far cheaper and than paid cloud storage.

    A mega cloud account will give you 50Gb free and it will sync photos with PC/phone/NAS.
    Reply
  • InPadure
    I just subscribed to iDrive Photos yesterday. There is a dedicated backup plan with 0.99 USD for the first year. This is amazing, given the unlimited storage, with full resolution.

    I allowed 3 phones (my phone and 2 family members) to sync their pictures into the cloud, and here is my finding:

    I can see duplicated photos (most likely original photo taken by one of the phones followed by the photo being shared via WhatsApp). In the Photos gallery of the web interface in iDrive there is NO way you can differentiate the original (max resolution) from it's duplicates having reduced size by WhatsApp.

    This sort of features are NOT described in ANY review I read about before subscribing for the plan. Maybe I should have to start writing my own reviews...

    I thought I need a cost efficient photo backup, but it seems after just one day that I was wrong. I have canceled my iDrive photos account and got my 0.99 USD back in minutes. I'll be looking at more advanced cloud backup photo services to allow an easier way I can pick and select photos for my yearly photo album that I send for printing every January.
    Reply