I want to store my 200GB of photos in the cloud. Only in the cloud.
December 23, 2015 1:05 PM   Subscribe

I want to store my 200GB of photos in the cloud. Only in the cloud. Can you please walk me through this like I'm 5? I want to STORE all my photos somewhere in the cloud - not just a backup of pix on my hard drive, but actually have them live there and only there. I'm having trouble working through the various options I might have because I have specific (maybe impossible?) things I do and do not want to do in the process.

I have 200GB of photos. They are *currently* in iPhoto. We use Macs and iPhone/iPads. I don't want to use iCloud. I also hate iPhoto so want to get away from that in terms of the storage process.

I want the photos to LIVE in the cloud, so that everything is in one place, I don't have to worry about backing up, they can be accessed/uploaded by me and my partner from anywhere, and so we can remove them from our various devices to make space for apps and whatever withOUT them being deleted from the cloud.

Every time I think I have a solution, I come to the part where the software "syncs" with my devices and computer - I don't want to sync! I want the pix to stay 100% online after I upload them and not get deleted or whatever if I take them off my phone. NO SYNCING, BRAH.

2 people will be uploading photos so it's even more important for me to get them all in ONE PLACE ONLINE.

I've looked at DropBox - sounds great until I get to the sync feature. I don't want my photos linked to any harddrives.

I've looked at Google Photos - same deal. I don't want to lose pix in the cloud when I dump them off my phone. Don't want to sync.

There *must* be a way to do this, right? I have at least a TB of storage for DropBox and Google, so I have the room just not the method.

Can you either suggest a good way to do what I want to do OR tell me why I can't and what's the next best thing??
posted by tristeza to Computers & Internet (34 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can elect for certain folders not to sync to any specific computer in Dropbox. You'll need to select it for every computer, and then I guess copying the file to that folder on Dropbox might be a pain.
posted by jeather at 1:19 PM on December 23, 2015


You want to use Flickr, with 1000Gb of storage and no syncing.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:25 PM on December 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


I don't see why Google Drive wouldn't work for you. Syncing is optional - just create your own Photos folder and upload to that. Don't use the incorporated Google Photos functionality.
posted by davebush at 1:25 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not backing up seems like a horrible idea. Couldn’t you have the photos on an external drive as backup to your cloud files? Sync to that.

I might trust someone with a few photos, 200G? No way.
posted by bongo_x at 1:26 PM on December 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think my partner uses SmugMug for that.
posted by foxfirefey at 1:27 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I believe that Amazon Photos will retain your photos even if you delete locally, but I would obviously recommend testing that.
posted by selfnoise at 1:27 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Google Drive will work totally fine for this.. Yes sure you'd lose your photos if Google went down. That's an acceptable risk for me.
posted by odinsdream at 2:08 PM on December 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Flickr is good for this. They have a bulk photo uploader app and a 1TB limit.

(I'd personally keep a local backup. It's cheap and you never know.)
posted by neckro23 at 2:16 PM on December 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've looked at Google Photos - same deal. I don't want to lose pix in the cloud when I dump them off my phone.

It looks like this is a manual step with Google Photos and iOS, since it isn't tightly incorporated into the OS like iCloud Photos. Instructions. So it seems pretty straightforward to not do that.
posted by smackfu at 2:18 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the concern is not that Google goes down next week, it’s if you want to see those photos 10-20-30 years from now.
posted by bongo_x at 2:19 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Amazon Cloud has an unlimited photos plan for $12/year. I just checked my account, and anything I've uploaded has remained even after deleting the original file off of my hard drive.

If you'd rather not pay, I'd second the Flickr suggestion.
posted by bonifate at 2:52 PM on December 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, in Google Drive is there any way to *organize* them? I have a bunch there now and it's just a huge list of filenames, I can't do anything with them organization-wise.

Thanks for the answers so far - I appreciate it!!
posted by tristeza at 3:02 PM on December 23, 2015


Flickr is good for this. They have a bulk photo uploader app and a 1TB limit.

I think Flickr is too entwined with iPhoto, right? Like, if I delete a pic from my phone that's already been uploaded to Flickr, it deletes it on Flickr, am I wrong??
posted by tristeza at 3:12 PM on December 23, 2015


I would be... extremely wary of this idea if I were you. If you use a free service like flickr, there's a nonzero chance that the service could shut down and take your data with it. You should at least consider having an external hard drive with the photos as a backup.
posted by zug at 3:59 PM on December 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I will back up to an external hard drive locally. Thank you all for making me realize having stuff only online is dumb. :)
posted by tristeza at 4:21 PM on December 23, 2015


I use google photos for this - it explicitly doesn't remove them from the cloud when you remove them from your phone, unless you tell it to. This is the big sell of it, in fact!

Do beware of services shutting down, though, as pointed out above.
posted by jaymzjulian at 4:42 PM on December 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think Flickr is too entwined with iPhoto, right?

Nope. I use Flickr and have never used it with iPhoto.

Like, if I delete a pic from my phone that's already been uploaded to Flickr, it deletes it on Flickr, am I wrong??

Yep, you are wrong! If you've uploaded it to Flickr, there it is. You can then delete it off of your phone (yet again I must reiterate what others have said; that cloud-only is a horrid idea).
posted by destructive cactus at 4:48 PM on December 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Like, if I delete a pic from my phone that's already been uploaded to Flickr, it deletes it on Flickr, am I wrong??

Wrong, there is no syncing, no connection.

Beyond that: In general, Flickr is intended to be a photo-sharing site, not cloud storage. By default, your photos are publicly accessible. But, in your settings you can make all photos you upload private, which effectively turns it into cloud storage. You get a terabyte for free. There used to be some batch upload limits that you needed the Pro version to get around, but I think those limits are gone and Pro just gets you no ads on the slideshow view format.
posted by beagle at 4:50 PM on December 23, 2015


I can't speak to iPhoto but my phone automatically uploads to Flickr and once it is uploaded it doesn't matter if I delete it from my phone or not. Same thing with Google Photos.

For pictures taken with cameras I have to manually export photos to Flickr from Lightroom on my computer, but once it is there it doesn't matter what happens to my computer. To get my photos onto Google Drive I copy them over the local network to a folder on my NAS that syncs with Google. I let my NAS do the syncing because I upload RAW files to Google and doing it from my computer would tie it up for too long while uploading. I am pretty sure I have the syncing set up on the NAS so that a local deletion doesn't do anything to what is stored online, but would have to check that once I am home. One nice thing about Google is that you can upload RAW files into Drive and they will be visible as photos in Photos. MS Onedrive does this as well. Neither seem to do anything with sidecar files though.

You can make folders in Google Drive and store the photos in them. This can be done in a synced folder, on the web or from an app on your phone/tablet. I make a new folder for each year and then inside it have a directory for all the photos taken on a given day using a folder name like 2015-12-23. In Google Photos you can view the contents of each folder by typing in its name in the search bar. It is a pretty poor way to access the directories in Photos but at least the functionality is there.

After having a near miss with honeymoon photos (my wife knocked over the portable HD they were on as I was transferring them onto my computer once we got back, killing the portable HD and making my backup iPod my primary storage as a result) I make sure to have at least one backup for my backup. I think at this point I have my RAW photos on Google, my NAS, a portable HD at home and a portable HD in my desk at work. Plus jpgs of everything on Flickr.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:04 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


You might consider paying for cloud storage and only cloud storage. I highly recommend rsync.net - they've been around for many years.
posted by PercussivePaul at 5:07 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


News sources say rumors are Flickr is for sale. For Yahoo, their internet services are between worthless and a financial drain. Yahoo's only value is in the stock it owns in other companies. Flickr is too big not to be bought, only question is how will the next owner change it.

You may have to hunt to find how to use any given cloud service without sync. Most users want it, most (all?) cloud services offer it, so their promotional information will feature it.

If you don't want to mess with a local HD backup, or want to supplement it, use 2 cloud services. Once the first service is populated, consider transferring your content using Mover.

Box.com is similiar to Dropbox, but their emphasis is on business customers. Individuals get 100GB free. I've been with them for years without problem or complaint.
posted by Homer42 at 5:20 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've recently put my pics on Flickr and gotten rid of iCloud and Dropbox. It's the best system I've had for mass photo collections in my storing history. They are also backed up on an external hard drive, but for ease of organisation, retrieval, it's the easiest system.
posted by honey-barbara at 5:23 PM on December 23, 2015


Flickr is owned by Yahoo and who knows when they'll just close it up for no reason. Also I find it to be glacially slow to upload to, YUMV

selfnoise: "I believe that Amazon Photos will retain your photos even if you delete locally, but I would obviously recommend testing that."

I use Amazon (unlimited photo storage with Prime) and yes it retains files even if deleted locally. Uploads seem speedy and their client seems trouble free.

Plus on my Android it has this cool feature where it prompts me daily with a review of images taken on that day in years past.
posted by Mitheral at 5:47 PM on December 23, 2015


Oh yea I totally forgot that I've been an rsync.net customer for like over 5 years. They're absolutely excellent. I have lots of data there and only there that I am totally confident isn't going to be lost. I don't think they're the best fit for photos you want to view often and browse through, since unlike Google Drive/Photos there's no web interface with thumbnails, but if you're just looking to park your data somewhere, they can't be beat.
posted by odinsdream at 6:46 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there some reason you're not using iCloud and the new Photos App since you're Mac based? ICloud stores it all online, keeps copies on your harddrive and just works.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:28 PM on December 23, 2015


Also, by using ICloud, it'll store low rez copies on the phone or pad and only download the high res originals when you click on it. No more worrying about deleting photos to manage space. It's great!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:34 PM on December 23, 2015


I'm not going to recommend a brand-new service in beta that's likely to be bought out by a much larger company, but Bertrand Serlet's post-Apple startup UpThere is explicitly doing the "have them live there and only there" thing with cloud storage, and if you sign up, you can play around with the various OS X and iOS clients.
posted by holgate at 7:45 PM on December 23, 2015


You could also check out Room For More, which is built as a place to let you store your photos and remove them from your phone. https://roomformore.com
posted by reddot at 8:05 PM on December 23, 2015


You could also just set up an Amazon S3 account and upload your photos to there for a few pennies a month. It would just be a well-backed- up file store though- nothing fancy organization-wise
posted by rockindata at 8:37 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you are really in love with cloud, use IFTTT to copy new pictures from flickr to google drive (or vise versa). Then you have a cloud backing up your cloud.
posted by 6ATR at 7:20 AM on December 24, 2015


The IFTTT thing only works with public photos so it is fine if you upload everything public by default but you really shouldn't be doing that.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:37 AM on December 24, 2015


Google Drive and Google Photos are an amazing combination. You can upload to Google Drive and elect not to store anything locally; then use Google Photos to manage and share albums, all in the cloud. The interface is beautiful and it blows away any other option out there.
posted by Aanidaani at 10:40 AM on December 24, 2015


We use Dropbox for exactly this. We have three times more content in our Dropbox account than our local hard drive would even be able to hold. You do NOT have to have it sync with any of your machines, it's a setting you can turn on or off at your will. It's also great for video, because it has an inline player in its web interface. Dropbox FTW.
posted by jbickers at 11:32 AM on December 24, 2015


As others have said, Google Drive and Google Photos are an amazing combination. You can turn off sync if you want. You can create Albums to divide up photos. You can do all kinds of stuff. It would be much safer than what you are doing now.
posted by nogero at 8:23 PM on December 26, 2015


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