man taking a picture over the cityIf a picture is worth a thousand words, digital photography has enabled all of us to surpass the output of even the world’s most prolific novelists. It’s amazing to think that so many snapshots of moments that make up our lives can be stored on a card that fits between our thumb and forefinger.

Now that we can store this unimaginable number of photos, how do we go about picking the best ones and sharing them with the most important people? In this post, we’ll go beyond basic storage and look at strategies and services that help you organize and process your photos.

Social Media

Social media is the most convenient way to store and organize your photos, but it comes with its drawbacks.

Let’s start with the pros:

  • It’s one stop shopping. You upload the photo where you’re going to share it.
  • You can easily tag your friends and relatives. You can control access to the pictures.
  • Services like Instagram and Google+ allow you to handle filtering and processing.
  • Your photos can be put in albums and storage is essentially unlimited.

Storage on social media does have its downsides, though:

  • Because of the high volume of photos stored on social media, the file size tends to be compressed, which leads to a downgrade in quality.
  • The default privacy settings on social sites change often, so you have to stay on top of that.

Flickr

The first big pro of Flickr is its storage capabilities. Flickr will let you store up to 1 terabyte (TB) of full resolution photos for free. There’s photo tagging. It’s also very social in that you can upload and browse photos while controlling their copyright restrictions so people can see what they can and can’t do with your collection.

Flickr also lets you order prints and other custom objects based around your photos.

If you need more than a terabyte, though, you might want to look elsewhere.

Google Photos

Google’s photo service launched recently and has some definite advantages. It allows photo and video storage up to 1080 pixels, and pictures up to 16 megapixels can be stored for free on an unlimited basis.

Even at these file sizes, the file will be compressed and you’ll sacrifice some image and video quality. However, you can choose not to have them go through this process if you’re willing to have it count toward the storage limit associated with your Google account, and you can always buy more storage. You’ll need to use this storage to avoid compressing your pictures if you shoot highly detailed photos or 4K resolution video. Otherwise, the files will be downsized.

This photo app really shines in its features around organization and processing. If it finds the same face in multiple pictures, it will put those photos together so you can search by faces. It also leverages Google’s mapping technology to show you the location a photo was taken if you have the geo-tagging on. (If this isn’t something you want, see the next section.)

You can also do some color and brightness corrections and there are a number of preset filters to enhance your photos.

Removing Geo-Tagging

If you don’t want your camera showing everywhere you’ve taken a picture, you can turn off the GPS settings on your phone or camera.

On iOS, navigate to Settings, Privacy and then Location Services. On an Android or Windows Phone, go to Settings then Location.

For pictures that are already taken, you’ll have to remove the exchangeable image file format (EXIF) data. On Windows, right click the photo and go to Properties. On a Mac, right-click (control click on a one-button mouse) and go to Get Info.

Photo Ordering Services

There are a couple of services that offer photo storage in addition to other services.

Shutterfly offers free, unlimited storage in hopes that you’ll order photos and other custom creations. Smug Mug has tiered payment plans that allow you to store photos and print customized projects. There’s even a platform where you can sell your own photos if you want.

If you don’t want to put your photos up on the cloud where they can be accessed over the Internet, this post has some options for those looking for a physical backup.

Have you tried any photo sharing services? Which ones have you used and what do you like about them? Let us know in the comments.

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