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Best Google Photos alternatives 2021

best Google Photos alternatives
(Image credit: Photo by Headway on Unsplash)

While it's one of the best photo storage and sharing sites, those looking for one of the best Google Photos alternatives have plenty of options. Whether you are an amateur photographer or a seasoned pro using the latest mirrorless cameras, a secure and convenient cloud storage solution is essential. 

With Google Photos changing its storage conditions from June 1, 2021 (from free unlimited storage to 15GB that is shared across Gmail, Drive and Photos), alternative services are becoming more competitive. Of course, you can pay for extra storage with Google Photos, but you may prefer the features and pricing of other providers.

The best Google Photos alternatives provide easy-to-use storage spaces enabling you to back up images from any device. Many allow users to tag and collate images, creating organized photo databases where pics can be searched through by date, type, subject, location, and more. 

What are the best Google Photos alternatives? 

For general users, the best Google Photos alternatives are Flickr and Amazon Photos. Flickr is one of the largest cloud-based photo storage services and caters to a wide variety of amateur to professional users. Its simple interface, collation options, and sharing features are similar to those of Google Photos, without the smart tagging or AI options. 

Amazon Photos is similar to Google Photos in its interface, utility, cost, and even name. It is clear that Amazon and Google have been watching each other, mimicking each other’s features and usability through their respective platforms. Amazon Photos is perfect for those who are already Prime members, as storage is unlimited.

More serious photo cloud storage alternatives include Adobe Portfolio, Piwigo, and 500px, which will all appeal to professional photographers. These services have advanced photo editing features and greater community integration through forums, tutorials, and competitions. They also provide many more options to showcase your work and even explore commercial opportunities within their public galleries.

The best Google Photos alternatives in 2021

best Google Photos alternatives

The Flickr platform showcases stunning imagery (Image credit: Flickr)

1. Flickr

The best general photo storage service

Free subscription: Up to 1000 images | Flickr Pro Subscription: From $60/year

In-app photo editing
Uncompressed photos
Subscription includes unlimited storage plus discounts through Adobe, Blurb, and Prime
Free accounts only include 1,000 images
Lacks the AI-based tools of Google Photos

Flickr has operated for over 16 years and remains one of the most trusted cloud-based photo storage services. With the addition of social media exposure and insights through the Flickr public platform, this company has cemented its place as a go-to solution for serious photographers. 

The simple and well-designed interface makes Flickr an attractive alternative to Google Photos. Users can tag and share images, as well as download them in multiple sizes and resolutions. The 1,000-photo limit for free accounts will only be enough for casual users, with the image limit equating to roughly 2–3GB. 

Pro accounts (from $6/month) provide unlimited storage, ad-free browsing, and access to analytics for images displayed across the Flickr platform. This is an appealing feature for photographers looking to have their work noticed by a wider community across the world. 

These accounts also come with discounts on Adobe (two months free on the Creative Cloud Photography plan), Blurb (photo book coupons), and Priime (20% off Priime Lightroom preset bundle). Another benefit is a Pixsy plan that helps combat image theft by searching for improper use of your images and advocating on your behalf.

best Google Photos alternatives

Powerful photo storage for members (Image credit: Amazon)

2. Amazon Photos

Best option for Amazon Prime members

Free subscription: 5GB for non-Prime Amazon customers (users with an Amazon account) | Amazon Photo Subscription: Unlimited (Prime members), from $20/year for 100GB (non-Prime members)

Interface and usability similar to Google Photos
Unlimited storage for Prime members
AI, editing, and sharing features
Only 5GB for non-Prime users
Not as user-friendly as Google Photos

Amazon Photos is a cloud service for free Amazon account and paid Prime account members, and is available on iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows. Features offered compare favourably to Google Photos, including facial recognition and metadata reading for smart tagging and easy searchability. 

Although Amazon only provides 5GB for non-Prime members (much less than the 15GB for Google Photos or the 1000 images for Flickr), this is a good option for casual users. Adding 100GB of space to a free account is only $20/year, which compares well to Google Photos ($24/year for an extra 100GB). 

However, those who are Prime members get unlimited storage, photo editing, smart collation through metadata, and secure family sharing through the Family Vault—an absolute steal if you’re also taking advantage of other Prime benefits.

Finally, the Amazon ecosystem surrounding Photos allows for easy-to-order, super-fast delivery of many types of prints (photos, cards, albums, calendars), a handy feature that many will appreciate.

best Google Photos alternatives

OneDrive is an excellent cloud service for Microsoft users (Image credit: Microsoft)

3. Microsoft OneDrive

General cloud storage with photo support

Free subscription: 5GB | Microsoft 365 Subscription: From $60/year

App-based photo editing
Auto-sync to Windows desktop
Secure storage through Personal Vault
Not dedicated to photo storage
Most suitable for those on Windows-based systems

Microsoft’s OneDrive is a powerful, general cloud-based storage solution. The limited features for photo storage (photo editing, smart tagging) are made up for by the account size and ability to upload almost any file type. High usability for Windows-based customers, options for file organization, strong layers of file protection, and auto categorization features are useful as well. 

Pricing for OneDrive is comparable to Google Photos, with 5GB of storage for free accounts and $24/year for a 100GB tier. Where OneDrive shines is in its 1TB tier, which is $60/year as compared to Google Photos at $120/year. The 1TB OneDrive Tier also includes the Windows 10 suite, productivity tools (multi-page scans and offline folders), and free bonuses through Skype. 

For Microsoft users who already subscribe to Microsoft 365, OneDrive is an easy decision for photo storage, as it costs nothing extra.

For non-Microsoft users, it is less compelling, but there are advantages over other services in terms of the price of large storage tiers and the inbuilt security, which means you can store photos in a secure space (Personal Vault).

Read our full Microsoft OneDrive review 

best Google Photos alternatives

The powerful and industry standard offerings of Adobe Cloud Storage (Image credit: Adobe)

4. Adobe Creative Cloud

Photo storage with the power of Adobe’s creative suite

Free subscription: No free plans (free trials available) | Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription: From $120/year

Plans include access to Adobe Creative Suite programs
Cloud storage dedicated to photography
Access to group libraries and shared folders
Expensive plans and no free options
Applications may offer more than casual users require

If you are serious about photography or photo storage, then Adobe is one of the best alternatives to Google Photos. Here, users will find packaged photo storage solutions that include access to Lightroom and Photoshop, with program selections and storage capacities dependent on pricing tiers. 

Each plan comes with Lightroom (Adobe’s editing, organizing, and storage program), Spark (online and mobile design app), and Portfolio (website building). The Lightroom Plan and Photography Plan both cost $120/year. The former comes with 1TB of storage and is the most comparable to Google Photos in terms of usability, while the latter provides only 20GB of storage but includes access to Lightroom and Photoshop (Adobe’s graphics/photo editor). Upgrading the Photography Plan to 1TB storage will double its price to $240/year. 

Although pricey, Adobe works hard to provide a system that is easy to use, with programs that are industry standard. There is integration with Gmail and apps for Windows, iOS, macOS, and Android. Adobe supports a wide range of formats, including RAW files, and users can take advantage of the Adobe Behance social media platform to showcase their creative works (similar to Flickr’s platform). 

What makes Adobe Creative Cloud stand out as one of the top Google Photos alternatives is that it offers the best features of every service outlined in this article, and delivers it in one professional package. This comes at a price, but is well worth considering if you’re serious about photography.

best Google Photos alternatives

Piwigo offering alternative photo storage solutions (Image credit: Piwigo)

5. Piwigo

An open-source alternative with customization features

Free subscription: Open-source program is free to download and host | Piwigo Individual Subscription: €38/year ($48 approx)

Free open-source program to manage photos through user’s web hosting (piwigo.org)
Low cost (piwigo.com)
End-to-end encryption
Open-source software is more vulnerable against malware attacks
Lacks the AI features of other services

Piwigo is an open-source software package (piwigo.org) that will appeal more to professional photographers and organizations, and is a great option if you need a photo management program for your website. Piwigo also offers its own cloud-based photo storage (piwigo.com). This is an easy-to-use and cost-effective Google Photos alternative providing unlimited photo storage for €38/year ($48 approx), which is an incredible deal. The only other Google Photos alternative with unlimited storage is Flickr, at $60/year. 

The appeal of unlimited storage is far greater for professional photographers. However, if you are a family whose members have many photos, unlimited storage can also be very useful. Organization by metadata makes searching and collating images easy, and you have the ability to geolocate and batch manage images. Similar to other services, users can manage the privacy of photos and viewing permissions for individuals, groups, and organizations. 

Piwigo has also created an easy-to-import system for files from editing and organizational applications such as Shotwell, digiKam, and Lightroom. This is not a perfect replacement for Google Photos but is one of the best alternatives due to the cost, storage amount, and organizational possibilities.

best Google Photos alternatives

Professional and visually pleasing 500px services (Image credit: 500px)

6. 500px

Professional photo storage, sharing, and industry exposure

Free subscription: 2,000 images | Awesome Subscription: $60/year

Well-designed themes
Exposure to industry and access to insights on your work
Unlimited uploads for subscription tier accounts
Not as relevant for casual users
Advertising appears on free accounts

For photographers looking to showcase their work and potentially licence images online, 500px is an appealing platform. This service is all about commerce and community, of furthering your work and gaining a valuable audience. Here, users will find resources on photography education (free and paid), as well as community interaction (photo quest competitions). 

Free accounts are allowed up to 2,000 images (minimum 3GB file size recommended at 3000px resolution) , with up to seven new photo uploads/week. Each image is recommended to be over 3MB with a resolution of 3000px. People with free accounts can also contribute to 500px groups, create and share galleries, and licence work online. 

There are two paid subscription tiers: Awesome and Pro. Awesome subscriptions are $60/year and include add-on access to Luminar 4 (photo editing), as well as a dedicated online profile, ad-free browsing, statistics on uploaded images, and unlimited storage space. The Pro account is $120/year and includes everything in the Awesome tier as well as profile customization, priority directory listing, professional resume displays, and the ability to add resources to the Resource Hub as an additional income. This is a unique feature for Pro users who can create photography tutorials through both videos and documents. These are available on 500px for free or at a cost (the uploader decides), offering income through community education.

The power of 500px comes through the presentation and industry exposure of users' work, with a showcase directed towards licensing, recognition, and career-building. If as a pro or semi pro photographer you were using Google Photos due to its unlimited capacity, 500px will be a useful consideration to not only store important photographs but also take advantage of commercial opportunities.

For the commercial possibilities and flattering gallery themes, there are very few competitors to 500px. Casual and amateur users will find some great features, especially if they follow photography, but some of the key features will be less relevant to them.

best Google Photos alternatives

Cloud storage for every purpose through Dropbox  (Image credit: Dropbox)

7. Dropbox

Large capacity cloud-based storage with photo-specific features

Free subscription: 2GB | Individual Plus Subscription: $120/year (2TB)

Generous storage space
Easy to use
Stores all file types, including RAW
Expensive compared to other Google Photo competitors
No photo-editing features

Dropbox has been an industry favourite since its inception in 2008. Like Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox does not cater directly to photo storage users but offers a limited selection of features with some appealing advantages in terms of shareability and storage space. Free accounts (Basic) only include 2GB and are more suited to documents than albums of photos. However, they do have sharing and collaboration features as well as secure settings and apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. 

The greatest difference between the Basic account and Individual Plus subscription tier ($120/year) is in the account storage size. There are additional features in security (Vault, passwords, remote device wipe), sharing (Basic includes up to 100 MB/transfer, Plus is 2GB/transfer), and access (Plus includes smart sync and mobile offline folders). With the standard 2TB capacity on Individual Plus accounts, Dropbox compares favourably with other best Google Photos alternatives such as OneDrive (2TB at $180/year). 

Dropbox can auto-sync photos from your devices to the cloud and integrates with third-party apps such as photo editor Pixlr. There is also integration with Facebook to download images from the site and with Adobe Creative Cloud for easy transfer. Unlike most photo-specific cloud storage, Dropbox does not feature smart tagging or AI categorization, making the collation of photo albums harder. 

If you already have a Dropbox subscription and want to store many photos as a secure backup, then Dropbox is probably for you. It is unrivalled in the size and versatility of its file storage. But if you’re looking for an intuitive photo-dedicated cloud storage solution, then Dropbox isn’t it.

How to choose the best Google Photos alternative for you

Google Photos is a great all-round cloud storage solution, but users should base their hunt for alternatives on their own unique preferences and needs. These might include price, storage capacity, image collation, or sharing capabilities. 

If you’re after a large storage space for the best price and the largest variety of file types, then Dropbox wins. But if you’re becoming more serious about photography, Adobe’s Creative Cloud offering will be worth the higher price because of its powerful photo editing apps. 

Professional photographers have two great choices in 500px and Flickr (which is also great for general users), with both offering exposure for your work as well as excellent album collation and commercial opportunities. Amazon Prime members would do well to stick with Amazon Photos, which gives them unlimited storage capabilities for no extra cost. But if you want photo-specific storage at the lowest rate, then go for Piwigo.