Online Photo Storage Options

Well, I started getting back into photography again, now that I’ve purchased my new Digital Camera (a Canon 5D in case you care) and decided I’d like to have an “off site” storage for my images.

Now, I know I can burn off DVD’s and keep them over at a friends or family members place. However, as a form of additional storage that doubles up as a place to show off some of them and share with friends and family, an online option sounds good.

So, who are the options?

In my mind there’s two potential contenders. The established Flickr or the up and coming Picasa.

I know there are others, and to be honest, just don’t have the time to explore them, but if you have, drop a comment and share!

Google’s venture into this space is with Picasa. While still in beta, it has the potential to be big. The interface is clean and uncluttered with gadgets, ads or general crapola.

I like the fact that all your images are placed into an album, thus eliminating the need for a great big pool of photos. However, this also means that if you have a photo that could be part of two albums, you have to upload it twice. I also like that the Picasa client makes it very easy to upload files, with the best feature for me being that I can upload a set directly from my raw images and that the client will automatically convert them to high quality JPEG’s on the fly.
Perhaps because it’s still in beta, there are some additional functionality features that I’d like to see, to make it worth dropping some hard cash onto the product to upgrade the storage (250mb is offered as part of the free account, and you can upgrade to 6Gb of storage for $US 25.00/yr).

I suppose the first functionality I’d like to see added is greater ACL control. At the moment, you have a choice of public or private albums. Yeop, that’s it. However, even the private album isn’t private … if I knew that “username1” had an album called “dirtypics” and was marked private, I could still see it by appending /username1/dirtypics to the picasaweb url. So, I’d like to see some real ACL’s in there – preferably an ability to lock down images to users or groups. Perhaps the ability to create more than just a friends and family group?

I’d also like to see the integration of a creative commons or other form of copyright license information into the albums.

Finally, the ability to upload a photo once and link it between albums would be nice.

I’m sure there are more suggestions … what are yours?


While flickr has been around for a while (it’s now in “gamma”) and has a huge following, it has it’s own issues. The interface is a little too busy for my taste, there’s a lot of gadgets, and of course, a heavy yahoo feel has entered the site since they took over. I had to recreate my account as I was “inactive for over 90 days” (… well, two years actually, but who’s counting?) so it had been deleted. Anyhow, back to the main thread.
While Flickr do offer “sets”, all the photos are in a great big pool and linked to each set. This is great in that one image can be linked to multiple albums (err, sets) and even to group pools, it does give it a cluttery feel.

On the positive side, the ACL’s are slightly better – with the ability to give each photo a “public”, “private”, “friend” or “family” tag to allow for restricted or selected viewing of the images.

A creative commons license integration is already included, you can choose to have a “standard” license for all of your photos, and still change to a different license for specific shots.

The pricing is different with Flickr as well – based on uploads more than storage. The free account allows you to upload 20 MB monthly, have up to 3 photosets, allow people to only see your last 200 most recent photos and will only store small resized versions of your photos. Meanwhile upgrading to the “pro” account ($US 24.95/yr) provides you with a 2 GB monthly upload limit, unlimited storage/bandwidth/photosets, permanent archiving of the high-resolution images you upload and the ability to replace a photo.

Flickr also provides you with an interface for groups. The groups vary in topic and membership, and while there are a few great people, there are also the “myspace” types who use the system to prowl and socialise. As with any group type system, you have to use your own discretion and try to get your own worth out of it. Having said that, some of the groups have allowed me to expand my skills and appreciation of photography. So, keep an open mind.

So, I’ll keep both open for now … but I think (as I’ve hit my cap on my flickr acct already!) I might end up getting a pro account soon.

How about you? What other sites have you explored? What are your feelings and findings? Share in the comments!

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