How Do Professional Photographers Store Their Photos? 5 Ways

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Photographers capture moments and memories that are priceless. These photos are a reflection of their art, creativity, and passion.

But what happens to these pictures once they have been taken?

How do professional photographers store their photos, ensuring they are secure and easy to access?

In this blog, we will dive into professional photographers’ various solutions for photo storage.

Why It’s Important to Secure and Backup Your Photos

It’s essential to secure and back up your photos because they are valuable memories (or business products) that cannot be replaced. 

Losing your photos can be devastating, both emotionally and financially. Here are some reasons why securing and backing up your photos is crucial:

  1. Hardware failure: Hard drives can fail anytime, leaving you with lost data. Even if you have a high-quality drive, there’s always a risk of failure.
  2. Theft or damage: If your laptop or hard drive gets stolen or damaged in a fire or flood, you may lose your precious memories.
  3. Cyber attacks: Photographers are always at risk of cyber attacks, which could lead to compromised accounts, stolen data, or ransomware.
  4. Human error: Accidental deletion or formatting of drives can lead to permanent data loss.

Overall, securing and backing up your photos is vital to preserving your memories, protecting against loss, and defending your creative efforts.

How Do Professional Photographers Store Their Photos?

How Do Professional Photographers Store Their Photos? Laptop and cameramen table

1. Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is a popular option among photographers. This solution allows users to store photos online, making them accessible from any device with an internet connection.

Services like pCloud, Sync, and Google Drive are great options for storing your pictures in the cloud.

Cloud storage also ensures that your photos are always backed up, keeping them safe in case of computer failure or theft.

The amount of cloud storage that professional photographers need will depend on the size and number of their photographic files. Generally, professional photographers require large amounts of cloud storage because high-resolution RAW images can take up a lot of space.

A typical RAW image from a professional camera can range between 20MB to 100MB or more, while a JPEG file can range from 2MB to 20 MB.

Photographers taking hundreds or thousands of photos per session or event can quickly accumulate many image files.

As a general rule of thumb, photographers should look for cloud storage services that offer at least 2TB of storage.

This is usually enough storage space to store many high-resolution images.

However, photographers who shoot more frequently or have a high volume of work may require even more storage space.

It’s always better to have more storage space than less, as it ensures that your photographic files are secure and easily accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.

Overall, professional photographers plan their storage needs based on their volume of work and the size of their photographic files and choose a cloud storage service that meets their storage requirements.

Related: Best Cloud Storage for RAW Photos

2. External Hard Drives (EHD)

External hard drives are a reliable and secure option for storing pictures. Photographers often use this solution as it offers ample storage space and the ability to transfer data quickly.

Moreover, these drives are portable, making it easy to carry them wherever they go. EHDs come in various sizes, from pocket-sized drives to larger desktop models.

3. External Solid-State Drives (SSD)

External solid-state drives are another great option for photo storage. Professional photographers requiring faster transfer speeds use SSDs as their primary storage option.

These drives use flash memory, offering faster-than-average read/write speeds. Moreover, SSDs are more robust and durable than traditional hard drives, making them ideal for photographers who travel frequently.

4. Direct-Attached Storage (DAS) and Network-Attached Storage (NAS)

DAS/NAS systems offer customizable storage options, ensuring users can store vast amounts of data. Network-attached storage solutions are networked storage devices accessible to multiple users and devices in a network.

These often have higher capacity, making them ideal for photographers who handle large-scale photo projects.

On the other hand, Direct-Attached Storage solutions connect directly to a single computer, often used for personal projects.

This type of storage system is usually for large photography studios.

5. Print Photos

Printed photos may seem outdated in the digital age; however, many professional photographers still print their work. Printed photos can last a lifetime, and photographers often create customized albums or books as keepsakes for clients.

Additionally, printed photos can be framed or hung on walls, making them an excellent option for displaying photos in physical form. Mass storage of printed photos can be placed in an archival box.

6. Photographic Film

If you’re a photographer, you know that taking care of your photographic film is crucial. The golden rule for storing your film is to keep it cool, dark, and dry. So, here are a few tips to properly store your photographic film:

  1. Keep it cool: Store your film in a cool place, like a refrigerator or freezer (-18°C / 0°F or lower). This will preserve the film for much longer than if left at room temperature.
  2. Keep it dark: Light can damage photographic film, so keep it in a dark place like a cupboard or drawer. Store your film in its original packaging to protect it from light if possible.
  3. Keep it dry: Moisture is also a significant enemy of photographic film. Avoid storing your film in damp areas like basements or bathrooms, which can cause the film to develop mold or fungus.

Best Free Online Storage Options for Digital Images

As an online researcher, I have compiled a comprehensive list of the most reliable online storage platforms that provide users with 100% free storage options to save their digital images, including photos.

Below is a breakdown of each option, including their free storage capacity, any restrictions on file types, automatic backup options, potential downsides, and negative reviews.

Google Photos

  • Storage capacity: Unlimited but compressed images and videos
  • File type restrictions: None
  • Automatic backup: Yes, with auto-sync enabled in the app
  • Potential downsides: Compression may reduce image quality, and accessible storage is only available for “High Quality” images and videos, not the original resolution
  • Unfavorable reviews: Some users have reported issues with organizing photos

Apple iCloud

  • Storage capacity: 5GB free, up to 2TB paid
  • File type restrictions: None
  • Automatic backup: Yes, with iCloud Photo Library enabled
  • Potential downsides: Limited free storage, only available for Apple devices
  • Unfavorable reviews: Some users have reported syncing issues

Microsoft OneDrive

  • Storage capacity: 5GB free, up to 6TB paid
  • File type restrictions: None
  • Automatic backup: Yes, with the OneDrive app installed
  • Potential downsides: Limited free storage, some users need faster syncing times
  • Unfavorable reviews: None reported


  • Storage capacity: 2GB free, up to 2TB paid
  • File type restrictions: None
  • Automatic backup: Yes, with the Dropbox app installed
  • Potential downsides: Limited free storage may experience slow syncing times.
  • Unfavorable reviews: Some users have reported issues with file syncing

Amazon Photos

  • Storage capacity: 5GB free, unlimited for Prime members
  • File type restrictions: None
  • Automatic backup: Yes, with auto-save enabled
  • Potential downsides: Limited free storage, may require a Prime membership for unlimited storage
  • Unfavorable reviews: Some users have reported difficulty organizing photos

Our Top Recommendation: Google Photos

Despite the potential downsides, we recommend Google Photos as the best option for free online storage of digital images, especially for individuals who take many photos on their phones.

The unlimited storage and automatic backup options make it a reliable choice. However, if you prefer to store your photos at their original resolution, consider a paid option like pCloud or Sync.


The storage solutions for photographers are numerous, and choosing the right option can be daunting. As a photographer, it’s essential to identify your storage needs before choosing the right solution.

While every photographer’s needs may differ, the ultimate goal is to ensure your photos are safe, easily accessible, and backed up. Consider investing in multiple storage options to avoid losing memories and invaluable pictures.

With careful planning and selecting the right tools, you can store your photos securely and with peace of mind.