Using Online Image Companies

Storing your images at one of the online image companies is a great way to backup your images and saves you from buying costly external hard drives or taking the time to create CD-ROMs or DVDs as backups of your images.  Also, with off-site storage, you don’t have to worry about the safety of your images in case of a fire or a natural disaster, such as a flood or tornado.

Online image companies break down into basically two different types – free and paid membership. Free sites usually offer limited storage, contain advertisements and offer some type of revenue-producing items, such as photo printing or photo gifts. Many of the paid membership sites offer unlimited uploading and storage, no advertising and may or may not offer photo printing or a photo gifts service.

Started in the mid-1990s as online photo finishing sites, many sites have expanded their offering to include online storage and sharing. Now, most sites offer some type of photo organization, access control and management.  Some sites also feature integrated photo-editing software allowing users to crop, remove red-eye, re-size and perform other common image-editing functions.

Some of the more popular free and paid membership sites are:

Photoworks -

Owned by American Greetings, Photoworks offers a free membership with unlimited storage of your photos in your online account. Photoworks began its history over 30 years ago as Seattle Film Works, and has earned a reputation for excellent service and services. In order to keep your account active you need to place one order per year. Their recently redesigned website is user friendly and they offer a great range of products you can create from your photographs.

Snapfish –

Owned by Hewlett-Packard, Snapfish offers free membership with unlimited photo storage.  Their main service is photo finishing and creating photo gifts. Members can invite others to view their photos or albums, but unlike many other sites, the recipient of the invite must first create a Snapfish account before being allowed to view the online photos.

Flickr –

Owned by Yahoo!, Flickr offers uploading, organizing, editing and sharing via their free account.  Uploading is limited to 100MB per month and users can view only their last 200 images uploaded.  The other photos are still there and any links to them are still active.

Photobucket –

Owned by Fox Interactive Media, Photobucket offers 500 MB storage with their free account. Uploaded images must be 1MB or smaller. Flexible in nature, users can lock their albums thereby keeping them private, allow access via a password or open their albums to the public.

SmugMug –

Owned by Amazon, SmugMug is a membership site offering unlimited image uploading. Their standard $39.95 per month membership, offers users the ability to create albums, slideshows and use the site as a backup for their images.

Images in JPG, GIF and PNG file formats are stored for free.  File formats, such as TIF, PDF, PSD and RAW can be stored at $0.22 per gigabyte per month via their SmugVault program.

Picasa –

A photo-sharing site owned by Google, Picasa Web Albums offers 1GB of image storage for free.  Picasa also offers photo printing, user editing and resizing, and image organization via name tagging and face recognition.

Regardless of which site you use, you can be assured your images are safe. Many people have had their family photos destroyed through some type of disaster; photos that can never be recreated again.  Years of cherished photo memories can be wiped out in a matter of minutes.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Use an online storage company as a safe place to keep your photo memories.

Professional Photographer

Professional Photographer

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