There are two problems with photo storage for a professional photographer. First is to store a lot of photographs economically, and second is to put them where customers can see them , select them and order them over the web. So Ideal storage of images needs to include unlimited photo storage, unlimited downloads , with images visible to customers, and all of that for a few dollars per year.
It sounds too good to be true, but we were surprised to discover, it can be done!
First, let us look at alternatives:
PHOTOGRAPHERS NEED LARGE AND GROWING AMOUNTS OF PHOTO STORAGE
Digital cameras and the amounts of storage now available on camera allow almost unlimited numbers of shots. As a result Professionals and good amateurs use massive and increasing photo storage space. If you are a keen photographer you keep thousands, even tens of thousands of images, and as resolutions of pictures are growing that often means storing hundreds of gigabytes or terrabytes even.
Every photographer now needs to be thinking of at least 1TB storage and probably more, but we will use that as the benchmark.
OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR PHOTO STORAGE
Images can, of course, be housed on your own disks. It gives several serious problems. Not least the fact that even a raid array is vulnerable to theft, and fire, and with still a potential for corruption it is still possible to “lose it all” That storage costs hundreds of dollars to buy, and if multiple devices are used there is then the problem of cataloguing and finding the images, so that probably involves software too.
For professionals, there is an additional problem: In addition to the image storage, the other problem is selection by and delivery to customers. Customers need to be able to choose then access the files or print them. To do that, most of the photos need to be online.
FREE PHOTO SHARING SITES? – NOT FOR PROFESSIONALS
For sure there are free places to put images online. The problem with photo sharing sites, is people will then share them and/or steal them!) it is hard to protect what you put out in the public domain. Customers also need a secure area to see private catalogues. So there is also free photo storage advertised but check the terms and conditions. Free generally means personal use only . Professionals cannot or should not use them. It is dangerous to risk finding your account vanish if and when they find out? It also fails as secure online photo strorage.
ONLINE DISK BACKUP SERVICES USED FOR PHOTO STORAGE
There are resources such as dropbox that allow images on remote servers to appear as local resident disks as the operating systems is concerned. But that only solve one of the problems. Which is storage and backup, it is awkward to put them where customers can see them by sharing the remote servers with them. For enterprise use they are not cheap either, generally hundred per month.
STORING PHOTOS ON YOUR OWN WEBSITE SERVER
Many professionals use their own website as a storage /catalogue and display vehicle.
If done using one of the many website scripts available , the restrictions are then on the server. Look at the specifications even for high end VPS servers costing $hundreds of dollars a month, and you still only have several hundred gigabytes. Don’t believe “unlimited” when you see shared hosting plans offered for a few dollars a month. For sure the companies that offer them will shut you down if you use too many resources, and you are still cannot get to a terrabyte.
Beyond that there are massive cloud sever accounts. “rackspace” for example offer hosting at $0.15c per gigabyte. But that still translates to $150 a month to have 1TB online. And you still have not paid for the site that hosts the “online photo storage”, only the hosting space. The big daddy of all of these is amazon S3 – cheap as chips, and ultra reliable yes you can host images on amazon servers. And whilst it is the cheapest in the market, it is still $0.11c per Gbyte. You still need scripts to extract them, to pay for traffic. And until you get to tens of terrabytes, the rates do not fall far either down to 0.5c per Gb per month.
So what to do? It turns out there is away round all of this. Choose the right commerce provider! For the present let us consider one.
UNLIMITED CHEAP STORAGE – ECOMMERCE STORES FOR PHOTO STORAGE
We were quite surprised by the terms! Get a website with Zenfolio a for a simple flat rate a year, and they will host unlimited images, with no further pament for all downloads. The only thing is they charge a percentage of the price you sell the images. But then, you are not forced to use the one site for all of your operational uses.
So all we suggest is check it out!
Cheap unlimited storage online via a Zenfolio account could save you hundreds of dollars a month!
So there it is. Unlimited cheap photo storage online for just a few tens of dollars a year. And for us that is a candidate for the best photo storage online!
So how do you store a lot of photos? Look at our survey and take part here!