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The Many Options in Storing and Enjoying Photos

Smartphones have made photos impulsive. What used to be an activity that required careful curation of moments has been made so convenient that our current problem is finding ways to store and sync our albums. Whether the value of each individual photo has decreased with volume, the increased accessibility of simply more collections has made photo management and permanence a bigger problem for more aspiring photographers.

Flickr was one of the first popular services that built a service to store photos online, and really, cornered the small market for professionals to share their work. With the explosion of camera pictures however, companies have taken the opportunity of falling storage costs to provide their own photo management services, typically centered around syncing collections to the cloud.

I’ve tried a bunch of them to try to find that perfect combination of cheap/free storage, mobile integration, and desktop tooling[1]. Reliability and speed are a given, and while sharing options are a nice bonus, there are plenty of social and chat networks that have figured out the importance of sharing media.

Some of the products I’ve tried:

With all these services, a final consideration is one of choice and connectivity: it’ll take time to consolidate photos to one place, and it’ll likely be harder to move it elsewhere in the future. For now, I’m sticking with Lyve – despite the cost, having close to full control over the storage and management of the photos is attractive, and I’m currently trying to mitigate against hardware failure by regularly backing up on both Flickr and my Synology personal NAS. As the landscape for photo management continues to shift, I’m hoping for a clear leader; if nothing else, it’d save me from this paradox of choice.

Footnotes    (↑ returns to text)
  1. As much as the pictures are taken on phones, I still have a Micro-4/3rds camera that I keep for special occasions, and pictures captured on dedicated cameras is still best managed on desktops.
  2. The argument for reliability here doesn’t work, but there’s something to be said about privacy and retaining data after services discontinue or change their terms of service.