Choosing Web Based Photo Storage Service

As digital cameras replace film, more and more users are turning to web based photo storage services to manage their photo archives. There are a dizzying array of sites, all offering different services at different prices. Choosing a storage service can be a confusing process, particularly when you are choosing a company to entrust with your precious family photos. Here are some things to look for when you're choosing a photo storage service.

First, take a look at the interface. How easy or difficult is it to upload photos to the site? Most of the major photo storage sites offer the ability to download software that will let you upload batches of photos, but some sites still rely on web interfaces that are slower and more clumsy.

Once you've checked out the interface, investigate the pricing structure of the site. Compare costs carefully using a standard print size, such as 4x6 for comparison. The difference in printing costs can vary wildly from one site to another, from as little as 12 cents at one site to as much as 29 cents at another. Don't forget to consider traditional sources of photo-processing like drug stores. These companies are making it easier to place photo orders over the web by offering storage and customization of photos and frequently cost less than dedicated photo storage services.

Continue to investigate pricing. For example, is there a cap on the number of photos you can upload for free? How much does it cost beyond that? Compare priced for specialty items like calendars, greeting cards and enlargements. Finally, compare shipping and handling costs, which are often a hidden source of profit for many companies.

Of less importance than cost, but still an important consideration, is whether a photo storage service allows you to create custom items. Almost all sites allow the user to customize items like greeting cards, but some offer a wider array of products than others. If this is important to you, compare the number of products offered and the interface used to create custom items.

Finally, be sure you completely understand how long a photo storage service will host your photos. Some have a set time limit, tied to the last time a user logged in to their system. Never completely rely on an online photo storage system to store your photos. Always keep a backup copy of your photos on external media in case of problems.

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