UPDATE: GOOGLE PHOTOS ONLY PROVIDES 15GB FREE SPACE NOW, AS OF JUNE 2021.
“How do you organise your photos and how do you share your photos privately?” Asked a friend of mine when we sat down for a coffee. I stopped sipping the coffee for a brief moment.
That was a basic, yet, interesting question — there can be hundreds of good answers: Floppy disks. Magnetic tapes. Morse codes. Letters.
Or pigeons. 🕊
Yes there are too many options, it’s insane — but here’s how I currently do that:
- Photos from a professional photoshoot: Google Drive
- Photos from photowalks / events with friends: Google Photos
Let’s go through both, one at a time.
I used to use Dropbox back in 2011. Dropbox was a breakthrough; it was very simple to use, and I could selectively share files with my friends easily. I also loved the automatic file syncing capabilities. Just drop files on a folder, and voila!
However, since I used my Android phone more and more, and since Google Drive became very easy to use on my phone, I switched and never looked back.
Also here’s why I like Google Drive:
- It provides generous free space by default – 15GB
- Sharing files / folders to multiple people only requires a few clicks
- The mobile app works really well in both iOS and Android. iCloud doesn’t have an official app in Android.
- The web app is very easy to use regardless of your device / browser. I mostly use this interface for uploading.
- People are familiar with it.
Now let’s talk about how I organise photos in Google Drive.
Every single event / photoshoot / travel will have its own folder. If a travel photo album spans multiple places or days, then I will make subfolders for each place or each set of days.
I name the folders using YYYYMMDD – TITLE format. It makes it really easy to access either the newest or oldest albums — there’s a sort button for that. It also makes the date of the album visual and helps me quickly find the album I want.
Then whenever I want to share photos from a particular album with friends or clients, I just do a right click and click Share, or Get shareable link. Easy.
However. It’s not exactly cheap to have lots of storage in Google Drive. I am settling with a 100 GB and I am paying $2 a month, or $24 a year.
Again, it’s not exactly cheap if you think about it. However, I live in Denmark — so the amount is like what I would spend hanging out on a weekend. 💁🏽
“If everything seems good, why not keep doing that?” you might ask.
At one point, I noticed that I was using 70 GBs of my Google Drive capacity, SOMEHOW 🙈. I couldn’t believe it until I saw that my photos took around 30 GBs.
I wanted to know why.
I found out that most of my albums are the non-professional ones — the ones whose photos I took for fun and shared with friends. I think I need a place to store and share them cheaply.
Enter Google Photos.
It has a simple and beautiful user interface. Photos are automatically sorted and grouped by date. You can create and customise your albums. You can create collages or movies. It has a good grouping and search function too.
When organising a set of photos, I simply put them in an album and make sure the dates in the photos are correct to ease searching. If an album needs to be shared, then I will just hit the share button. Easy.
I would say, for storing, viewing, and organising photos, I prefer this to Google Drive. Also, with Google Photos, you are allowed to store photos with good enough resolution for free.
Wait, what does it mean by good enough resolution? Well it’s 16 MegaPixels, or 4920 x 3264 pixels to be exact.
And yes, that’s good enough. In fact, it fits well with my requirements.
So far it sounds good, but what is the catch? Google can’t be that kind. There is no free lunch. And as the famous quote says: If you are not being charged for a product, you are the product.
I investigated a bit and found the catch.
According to Google’s terms and conditions, I am letting them use the pictures for improving their services — which I assume primarily machine learning model training and ads. The terms don’t mention anything about sharing my pictures to a 3rd party without my consent — I can give them the benefit of doubt there.
So, is it that bad?
Well, to some who are pretty sensitive to privacy, yes. I can live with that, as long as Google doesn’t share my personal pictures to a 3rd party. I can live as long I don’t get charged for putting GBs of my photos.
How do you organise and share your photos? Leave comments below.