As someone who owns a photo-album design business, let me tell you - I have seen a lot of different ways to share and store your photos.
From iCloud to Amazon, Shutterfly to Google, Dropbox to all the different parenting and preschool apps…. there is no shortage of options for what to do with your digital photos these days.
And that can make it overwhelming and confusing when it comes to making a deliberate decision about how to share and manage your personal photo archive.
I see so many of our customers struggle with this issue, and am always happy to make recommendations to help. Because…honestly? Making your life easier and stress-free has been part of our mission from the beginning. And I never get tired of showing you that it doesn’t have to be so hard.
Over time, we’ve found there are two main scenarios when it comes to how you use your digital photos:
1) Sharing individual moments with family and friends in your day-to-day life.
2) Storing and organizing your entire digital photo collection.
Let’s start with #1. Note: these recommendations are geared towards iPhone users, but stick around Android-ers, you’ll find they apply to you, too.
1) The best ways to share individual moments with family and friends.
Let’s say you snap a cute photo of your baby eating sweet potatoes for the first time, and her adorable face is covered in an orange mess. You immediately want to send this to your spouse or a grandparent, right? And probably add a little note describing the cuteness? You might even decide it’s worthy of sharing with your larger group of family and friends online.
The answer here is a personal choice, based on your preferences re: privacy and user interface, but my recommendations for iPhone users are:
iCloud shared album
Private app such as Tinybeans
With iCloud, social media, and private apps, you can easily go back later to reminisce and review your interactions. And it’s simple to share them with a service like ours, or pull them into an automatic photo book maker, so that your favorite images and any text you shared can be included in a printed album.
But text messages? Emails? The unfortunate reality is that those interactions are going to eventually be lost. Either you’ll hit a storage limit on your phone or email one day and need to delete the images, or you’ll get a new phone, or you just won’t have the ability or patience to scroll back several years through a text conversation… And you are definitely not going to feel like forwarding or printing 100s of separate emails.
I know it’s easy in the moment to send a text or email, but resist the urge. Take the extra 15 seconds to open up iCloud, social media, or your app of choice so that these moments can become a part of your saved history.
2) The Best Way to store and organize your entire digital photo collection.
After some time has passed, you start thinking about all the photos you’ve accumulated on your phone. In our experience, it’s not uncommon for active parents to have hundreds or thousands of photos from each year swallowing up their phone storage space.
Granted, it’s very convenient to have the most recent months and years of memories at your fingertips in the iPhone Photos app, but what to do with all these images long-term? You’re not going to have that phone forever, and what if the memory accidentally gets wiped? (We’ve seen it happen.)
Leaving your photos solely on your iPhone is not a solution. And sharing 1,000s of photos via iCloud can be a hassle.
My #1 recommendation to iPhone users is to use Google Photos as their go-to storage backup.
I’ve tried Dropbox, Shutterfly, Amazon Photos….but in my opinion Google Photos is the way to go. Here’s why:
Convenience: It backs up your photos in the background, so you don’t have to keep opening the Google Photos app to make sure your images are being saved.
App & Web Version: The app version is easy enough, but once my phone photos are backed up, I actually prefer managing those photos in the laptop/desktop browser version of Google Photos. I’ve found it’s a bit quicker to scroll and select your photos there. Plus the larger screen to view your images can make it easy to pinpoint the exact photos you’re looking for.
Interface: The way the photos are arranged, how you can filter them, and quickly scroll through a timeline to find the images you are looking for, is very user-friendly.
Sharing: It’s extremely easy to select and share a group of photos via email or direct link. Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to create a 2017 family album, and you need to share your photos from that year with us (or whoever!). You just click the first photo from the year, then shift+click the last photo photo from the year, and all the ones in between get selected. Click to add them to a new Google Photos album, then send us the shareable link to that album. You can do this in 30 seconds. No one else makes it this easy. (At least not yet.) Plus you can share a link with anyone - no login required to view (which is not always the case with other services).
Desktop: Have photos from your real camera saved on your computer? You can download a desktop app from Google called “Backup & Sync” that will automatically upload your camera photos to Google Photos.
Cost: The basic version of Google Photos is free and will work for most. Personally I’ve chosen to spend the $1.99/month for 100 MB of storage and the ability to save original hi-resolution versions of my images. Up to you.
Bottom Line: In my experience, using your iPhone to enjoy your recent photos, combined with Google Photos to manage your entire digital photo archive, is the way to go.
What do you think?
Disclosure - the recommendations above are my own personal and professional opinion. If you disagree, I would truly love for you to leave a comment on the post to let me know what you’ve struggled with, and what solutions you’ve found. We all will benefit from your experiences!
Thinking about finally getting your photos off your phone and into print?
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Coralee Dixon is the founder of Shortcake Albums. She lives with her family in NJ, and is the mother of two awesome little girls. She does not have it all, but she does have just enough.
Shortcake Albums is a custom photo album design service. Connect your digital photos or social media accounts, and our team of professional album designers will do all the work - sorting and organizing your images and text, selecting the best photos, and laying them out into a custom book of your most special memories and moments.
From premium wedding albums to family yearbooks, baby albums, and more - share and enjoy your family memories again. Order your album at www.shortcakealbums.com.