As a mother, I always love to take photos and videos of my kids so I can keep all the memory of their childhood. I always love to watch their silly videos and photos every time I’m alone or sad. Even in some free time we all watch it together because it’s fun.
In the past, people record these memories and print them or burn them to a cd or tapes. But those days are gone for real.
Everyone now uses their phones to record and use their storage for keeping photos and videos. But because of improving cameras on devices and resolutions, the file sizes of videos and photos are getting larger as well.
Because of that, we tend to delete some photos to be able to capture new ones or delete apps or do whatever just to expand our limits in capturing moments that we don’t wanna miss.
The end of Google Photos unlimited storage
I know it’s quite late for me to discuss this because Google ended the unlimited storage for Google Photos for quite a while now but I feel like writing about it still.
In my older blog post, I mentioned how I love to use Google Photos because of its unlimited storage, automated edits to slideshows, GIFs, collage, and more.
They even have face recognition features that allow the user to filter the gallery by searching the person and the ability to search keywords that relate to the photo you are finding.
But now that the unlimited storage is gone, I did try different alternatives and stuck to a few to be able to store the best moments of our lives.
Google Photos Alternatives?
There’s nothing better than Google Photos because of the features I have mentioned earlier. Even Apple Photos are trying to mimic the features it still hasn’t beaten Google Photos. That’s why even many Apple users are backing up their photos on Google.
The only thing that was gone is really the unlimited storage for high-quality compressed backups but everything is the same. I wish that they just added a subscription for unlimited photos instead of removing it together.
But the first option you can have is really Google Photos as well.
They have a very low price for data storage plans that also include Google Drive. The pricing is below:
It’s okay to start without plans since you can still use the option to save your media to reduced quality so that it will take up a little portion of your storage.
As you can see on the screenshot above the pricing of Google Photos is much more expensive when paid thru the Apple App Store, so I suggest you get it on their website instead.
This one is the one and only free option for Google Photos Alternative.
Surprisingly a lot of iPhone users are not much aware that they could have unlimited photo storage with this old-school trick that we’ve been doing since the beginning of time LOL jk.
But yeah there’s a well-known workaround to store unlimited photos with iCloud and that is with the use of Shared Albums. Although shared albums compress your images a bit it’s not counted to your iCloud Storage at all.
The limitation is that you can add 5000 (as far as I know) per shared album. But you can share the album with your family that uses iPhone or Mac or publish a public link.
The good thing about iCloud Photos and its shared albums is that it’s easier to share your backed-up photos on social media. Unlike with other apps like Google Photos, you first need to save the photo on the device manually before you can share it on Facebook or other social media platform. Unlike iCloud Photos, it lives within the Photos(gallery) app as a cached image, and if you want to share it you can do it directly by pressing the share button and it will seamlessly download the original file to post.
This option is more popular with photographers who are into selling their photos online.
This site/app is paid with a variety of options from simply having a place to back up all your photos to building a photographer’s portfolio and doing business with it.
Take note that this paid service allows you to back up your photos in their maximum resolution and for an additional cost, you can even store, organize and protect your RAW files.
For videos of course there’s always a drawback since these services focus on photos, not videos. At the same time, videos are darn good at maxing out storage. But they allow it only with this condition: “Videos can be uploaded with any SmugMug plan, up to 20 minutes in length and in full HD (1920×1080). The maximum file size allowed for any video is 3 GB.”
Fair enough for me. For personal and home video clips hehe.
For photo upload limitations:
You can upload JPG, PNG, or GIF files up to 50 MB and 100 megapixels apiece and up to 5,000 photos into each gallery and create as many galleries as you want. For HEIF/HEIC files it will be accepted by their apps but will be converted to the highest quality JPEG.
It also has an app for your phone to auto back up your images. I actually like that it has an option to back up only photos, only videos, or both. It’s also by default private just like with other service providers and also the fact that it is categorized by year in folders. They also have a built-in editor.
However unlike the next one, we’ll talk about, I find it quite hard to organize things. Although I hate organizing photos, I have to do it sometimes to include my photos on my blog posts like this.
And what makes it annoying is that I couldn’t change the privacy per photo. It seems that I had to move them in a public gallery first(yes move not copy) before I can even use it for blog posting. Maybe, I just don’t know how to manage it easily but maybe they can do better in making it easy for users as well.
But to be honest, I love it overall it’s just that it wasn’t for me.
Flickr is my all-time favorite Google Photos Alternative
Last but not least, of course, Flickr. I’ve used it since high school. Yes, it’s been a while although I wasn’t using it much back then. I just literally used it not for backups but for hosting images for the web. Right now, this is the best Google Photos alternative for me.
Some of my blog posts actually contain galleries from Flickr and that’s why I’ve started loving their paid service since Google Photos’ unlimited backup was ceased.
Compared with SmugMug, Flickr is not like a folder-based thing. Although their bulk photo management seemed to be very outdated and old-school looking, it’s easier to use than SmugMug. Well at least for me.
Their photo organization system is a camera roll system if it’s called a system. Where all photos are in one stream and these photos can be distributed in different albums without duplicating the photo itself. Unlike with SmugMug where the photo will be moved and I guess you have to upload it again if you need to place it on another folder(I haven’t explored it that much but please4 let me know if this is not the case.), here you can add 1 photo to multiple galleries.
Regarding privacy, it can be applied per photo which I think is ideal rather than per album. I think they made it that way since if a photo is on a public album and the rest of the album is on private it wouldn’t make sense.
It’s also ideal for photographers who wanted to build their portfolio but I don’t see that they have a selling option like what SmugMug offers. But the cool thing is you have the option to copyright your images and you also have different options for privacy and sharing.
I’ve once seen on a Pinterest post I made for a client and there’s a tiny Flickr icon and name for crediting the photographer of that image. I think it can boost some exposure if you share an image with a client and they’ve used it on Pinterest, although I’m still unsure of how it works. I don’t have the reference screenshot for that since it’s quite a while but I really saw one. Maybe I should try someday and add it here hahaha.
For some reason, SmugMug and Flickr are friends. If you subscribe to Flickr pro you may get 50% off on SmugMug. LOL.
They also have upload limitations just like all of the things I’ve mentioned:
- RAW photos are not supported at this time.
- Each photo can be up to 200 MB.
- Images can be no more than 31.25 times wider than they are tall. This might prevent some panoramic images from uploading.
- When uploading HEIF/HEIC images via the app, conversion to JPEG only happens automatically on iOS. For Android, the file must be converted before uploading (either on the device, if supported, or through a conversion app).
- Each video can be up to 1 GB
- Video playback is constrained to the first 3 minutes for Free members, and 10 minutes for Pro members.
- If you’re having trouble uploading a video, try converting the file to a different format.
They may update it one day so you can check it out on their help page.
The only downside that I am not a fan of is that Flickr doesn’t give you much option with auto-upload on mobile just turn on and off.
For desktop users
Actually, all of it works on a desktop. But only iCloud photos give the ability to show the gallery from an app itself. The rest are just apps to auto-upload.
The least enthusiastic is the Google Drive App for desktop, I find it annoying, I’ll discuss it one day.
For Flickr and SmugMug it’s quite okay. You get to choose which folders it will automatically back up but you can’t set where they’d go and to be honest I stopped using them. Screenshots are quite important for me. I love the fact that I could back it up but it’s annoying that it has to go with all the backed-up photos.
What I was hoping for in the future
I know! I’m too hopeful but I just wanted to share.
Hopefully, Google Photos will have unlimited backup plans even it’s paid. Or maybe Flickr or SmugMug gets an AI to detect images like Google Photos where you can search things even without adding tags.
iCloud is simply fine as it is and for sure can never be on other devices aside from Apple devices so let us leave it there.
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