Shutterfly vs Google Photos vs Flickr: Best Photo Storage Solution
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Shutterfly vs Google Photos vs Flickr: Best Photo Storage Solution

Shutterfly will work best if you want to turn your digital photo uploads into physical pictures or sell them online. Google Photos has synergy with the Android mobile devices and works best there. Flickr is largely for sharing photos online or with your desktop, especially since they offer more of a no-strings storage solution at 1 TB.
Covered in this report
Shutterfly — Best Features
Unlimited photo storage for purchased photos with no deletion date.
Sell images directly from your account to people online.
Best for: Those looking to occasionally create physical versions of stored photos.
Best deal: Free Shipping on All Purchases - [activate coupon]
Google Photos — Best Features
Unlimited photo back up for your devices.
AutoAwesome tool automatically backs up and organizes up your photos into albums.
Best for: Android enthusiasts that want a lot of backup automation for photos.
Flickr — Best Features
Desktop auto-uploadr available for photo automation beyond mobile.
1 GB of storage with no restrictions on resolution or concern about hard selling.
Best for: Those looking to use photo uploading options on non-mobile devices.
Review

It’s now the case that remote storage for photos can be far more effective than any physical media version. After all, you tend to have fewer limitations that way, and you can then access the photos and show them to whoever you want no matter where you are if you use cloud storage instead of SD cards, CDs, or some other physical media. Here are some examples of photo storage sites that you can use to solve this problem.

Shutterfly

Shutterfly focuses on making physical prints of photos, which is known as their “digital photo printing service.” Other physical and digital photo options are also available.

Features

  • Unlimited Photo Storage for Purchased Photos-The unlimited photo storage on Shutterfly only applies to photos that you purchase through the site. They won’t ever be deleted, however.
  • No Deletion Limits-If you’re signed up with the service, you won’t have to worry about them deleting your photos.
  • Sell Photos-You can sell photos through the site using their Pro or Premier plans, that do have a monthly cost. This will lower the cost of the prints you purchase that are shared on the storage, however.
  • Automatic Photo Flagging for Problems-If you plan on using your cloud-stored photos for printings, the service at Shutterfly will automatically inform you if there’s some issue that you need to handle such as with the format of the photo or with the text you plan on adding.

Google Photos

Google Photos is something you get automatically just with a Google account. You get 15 GB of storage to start, though you have to use it with all of your Google accounts including, Drive, Gmail, and Photos.

Features

  • Unlimited Photo Storage with Resolution Caps-You can only store photos with an upper limit of 16 MP or 1080p for videos. These can still be stored, but you will definitely be capped.
  • AutoAwesome-This is a feature that helps with backing up, organizing, and touching up photos. You can get the images into albums, GIF pictures, collages, or whatever else you want generally.
  • Google Drive Synergy-Google Photos essentially works with and within Google Drive. So, if you don’t like one of the limitations of Google Photos, you can use your free storage from Google Drive instead.

Flickr

Flickr is definitely a bit different than the other options for photo uploading.This is because it’s highly famous on the Internet in terms of allowing for communities to upload and share pictures freely between one another.

Features

  • PicBackMan-This feature allows you to backup accounts automatically by telling the feature where your photos are. All in all, it appears a bit less automated than the Google Photo version.
  • Desktop Auto-Uploadr-Automatically upload photos that appear on your desktop computer to your Flickr account. This feature is only something you can get through a Pro account, however.
  • Keep EXIF and Other Data-This is a file type that's used by many digital cameras such as smartphones. Many photo uploading sites pitch this data in order to save space. But there’s info in there that you might want such as data about exactly how the picture was taken. Flickr allows you to keep this data during upload, and it also allows you to keep other relevant data such as Geotags.
  • Community-There’s not as much of a singular community for Google Photos or Shutterfly specifically, at least not as much of one as there is for Flickr according to reviews such as the one from Cnet. You can get a lot of help regarding photo editing and other related data from this community, which can be a big help for beginners.

Head to Head

Pricing

You get free photo storage on Shutterfly, but it appears they do a lot of hard selling for the photos so that you’ll purchase them through the site. It is true that these will never be deleted, however. This service seems to change around. You can sometimes get away with uploading all of your photos automatically without buying anything and without incurring any fees depending on the current promotion. This is definitely dependent on circumstances though, as it appears that they do have an annual fee of $100 for 5GB of hosting if you plan on selling your images, or $200 for Premier account type. The Premier type is what supposedly gives you unlimited image hosting. The commission here is at 15% for both.

Google Photo is essentially a part of Google Drive. They give you 15 GB for free, and then after that it’s $2 for 100 GB per month, 1 TB for $10 per month, and so on. Google Photos itself, specifically gives you free and unlimited photos if you don’t go higher than 16 megapixels or a video resolution of 1080p. If you awnt higher resolution than that, you go up against the Google Drive maximum quota. This is contrasted with Shutterfly that doesn’t appear to have an upper limit on resolution, but they seem to use your pictures differently as they are constantly trying to sell you.

The Flickr pricing goes for $6 per month if you want some extras like saving on Lightroom or Creative Cloud, or getting ad-free experiences on the site. Otherwise, Flickr is completely free to use, complete with the 1 GB of free storage at any resolution. You can also get an account for $50 a year. This isn’t to say that you can’t get along just fine without paying anything if this fits your purposes. It’s a reasonable site for those focusing on free options. This is especially the case due to the vibrant community that exists on Flickr in general. You don’t have to rely so much on paid technical support for services that have a community that are happy to answer your questions even if you’re just using the free version.

Overall, it’s true that Shutterfly doesn’t charge for technically unlimited photo storage, but they do push you to turn the photos into prints. Cost can also come into play if you plan on selling the photos through the site to the tune of $100 per year or so just for starters. So, essentially, it largely just comes down to what you plan on using the photo storage for in general. Flickr is more upfront about how much space they give you for free, with that being 1 TB, which is a lot for photos by all accounts.They also have one of the cheaper pro account options since it’s only $6 per month as opposed to the one from Shutterfly which costs a lot more than that.

Features

Shutterfly’s unlimited photo storage applies to purchased photos only, and it doesn’t look like you can just store whatever you want on the site indefinitely. You can decide to sell images online with a Pro account for $100 per year which gives you deals on prints at 34 cents for the 4X6, for example. The main point is that Shutterfly has some flexibility in terms of what you want to use it for considering the features that it has.

The main features with noting on Google Photos for storage include all of the automation for starters. The app will organize your photos into folders for you automatically. The type of organization can vary of course, but generally this is done by month, year, and day. This makes it easy to figure out where personal photos are based on when you took them with your phone. This is why Google Photos tends to be a more personal approach to photo storage than something like Shutterfly. Essentially, it’s often all tied to your phone or other device.

Compared to the others, Flickr has some strong limitations when it comes to storage. For example, you can only upload files as big as around 200 MB, though this is obviously subject to change. You can also only upload photos that are no more than a bit over 31 times wider than they are tall. There’s also definitely file restrictions such as only supporting JPG, GIF and PNG. Google and Shutterfly don’t have these kinds of restrictions generally. You can also only upload videos of up to 1 GB, plus you only get 3 minutes of playback. Other features to going pro include eliminating advertisements and getting discount son various software, largely from Adobe.

Overall, the photo storage site with the best features will depend on what exactly you want. For example, Shutterfly has more of an all-inclusive unlimited photo uploading option, but there is usually more pressure to make sure that you convert those photos into paid physical prints. With Google Photo, everything is more synced up and automated, plus Google isn’t really in the business of prints to the degree that Shuterfly is. Yet, they do have that limit of 16 MP. Plus, videos seem to often get disincluded from the unlimited option, since so many of them shoot better than 1080p these days. And video can take up a ton of space.

Reviews

Shutterfly gets a 4.7 out of 10 from the Google Surveys site with over 38,000 reviews available. The reviews are especially positive about the prices on the site, with the ratings lowest for returns and shipping as well as customization.  There’s also TrustPilot reviews which number around 6000 and come in at 8.1 out of 10. Most of the complaints on the site focus on having a bad experience with a customer service representative or some issue with shipping. PCMag also gives the service an “excellent” rating with 4.5 out of 5. The review here talks about how you have a fair amount of customization possible through the site. Apparently, the preview section once you transfer photos from your storage is also useful since it automatically flags possible issues that might arise.

The Internet is generally fairly impressed with Google Photos. Examples of this are the 4 out of 5 reviews that the service gets either in its Apple or Android incarnation for both Cnet and PcMag. Good Housekeeping also gives it a 5, and it has 4.5 or higher on the actual Android or iTunes pages. Complaints on places like Cnet include that you end up with considerable photo compression if you’re trying to take photos higher than 16 MB. There are also apparently stability issues with the apps and the website sometimes.

Flickr reviews point out some of the stark differences between Flickr and the other options, such as being restricted to 1 GB of storage space, though you do get no restrictions on resolution, unlike what happens with Google Photos. This means if you have a really high volume of photos, you should really go with one of the options that have unlimited backup space such as Google Photos or Shutterfly.Lifehacker has a balanced approach to comparing Flickr and Google Photos, for example. Other reviews of the site include a 4.5 out of 5 from PcMag and a 4 out of 5 from Cnet. The Cnet review is mostly negative about the ads you get in free accounts and that you can’t really customize the page in your profile. They are highly enthusiastic about the categorization automation, the 1 TB free storage, the community, geo-tagging options, the online editor, the fact that you can track traffic to your images and extras like keeping EXIF data.

Overall, reviews of the uploading sites reveal how specialized a lot of them are. For example, reviews from Cnet reveal how Flickr tends to be specifically useful for more serious users with its editing tools, full data preservation options, full traffic stats, vibrant community and so on. The exception is also revealed in the reviews, however, since you can see that Shutterfly may be a better option for selling due to the fact that it’s well setup for that and you can pay for a subscription that gives you a bunch of extras and directly facilitates online photo selling.Google Photos had positive reviews especially from the app pages directly, showing that they are definitely a bit better if you’re using it specifically for your iPhone or Android phone.

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