I collect a lot of travel photos. In fact, I’ve taken over 60,000 photos in the last 3 years! I have a solid system for backing up my travel photos already, and I wanted to expand on how useful Amazon Prime Photos can be for you!
Amazon Prime Photos is available on your existing Amazon Prime membership. It provides web, desktop and mobile access to all of your photos. With your Prime membership, you get unlimited photo storage and 5GB of video storage. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, sign up for free.
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How does Amazon Prime Photos work?
There are three main plans that you can choose from.
Free with Prime. Like I mentioned above, you’ll be able to store all of your photos, for free!
100GB of storage for $1.99/month. This wouldn’t work for me. My photo catalog is pushing a few TB and I would fill up 100GB in a weekend.
1TB of storage for $6.99/month. I would consider this as an option if I didn’t already have another cloud storage plan. This will be good for most people, as you can store a good number of photos with this plan.
When you subscribe to Prime photos (through Amazon Prime), you’re able to access your files through a mobile app, a web app and a desktop app. Aside from being able to back up your photos, you can also use Amazon Photos to search for common things within your photos like food, dogs or trees. It can recognize people, too!
Backing up your photos with Amazon Prime Photos
Aside from the storage plans, let’s go a little deeper on how you can use Amazon Prime photos today. But first, let’s briefly talk about backing up your photos in general.
Photo backups are an important part of your workflow if you want to keep your photos safe. I (and most of the internet) will recommend backing up your photos in at least two additional places.
It’s a good idea to have a copy of your photo library on your local hard drive, to have a backup on an external hard drive and to have a backup somewhere in the cloud.
Now that we’ve covered backing up your photos, let’s review how to back up your photos using Amazon Prime Photos.
Amazon Photos Web app
From the web client, you can go to Add > Upload Photos in the top navigation bar.
From there, you’ll find your Amazon Drive folders where you can add your photos. Personally, I like to categorize all of my photos by year.
Amazon Photos Desktop app
As an alternative to the web client, you can use the desktop app as well. I do all of my photo work on a Mac, so I don’t have any experience working with the Windows version.
An older version of this app wasn’t very good and limited uploads to four at a time. Uploading RAW files took forever (it almost took a month when I first started uploading!) because it could only process four large files at once. The updated app is decent and now supports eight concurrent uploads!
After a shoot, I’ll queue up an upload. I find that keeping my uploads small, it’s manageable for the app to handle.
You can set up the app to schedule backups or do a one-time backup. I prefer doing a one-time backup because I constantly move files around, as my local hard drive fills up quickly.
Amazon Photos Mobile app
While the mobile app exists on iPhone and Android, I don’t use it. I use Amazon Prime Photos as a backup and not as a place to view my photos.
Benefits of using Amazon Photos
I’ve had a hard drive fail before and I’m glad that I had my photo files backed up. Without that backup, I would have lost a few years worth of work. When you use Prime Photos, you can ensure that your photos are safe! As an added benefit, you’re able to browse photos on your phone and computer and share with friends and family. You’re also able to order prints.
In addition to the features of the platform, it’s free! Well, kind of. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you get Amazon Prime Photos for free. There’s no additional cost to you. You can upgrade your plan if you want to increase your video storage.
Once per year, Amazon has Amazon Prime Day which has some of the best deals all year around. Check out our guide where we handpick some of our favorite Amazon Prime Day deals for travelers.
Limitations of using Amazon Photos
Amazon photos will stop supporting Amazon Drive starting on December 31, 2023. This doesn’t mean your photos will disappear. This means that any files that you uploaded via drive won’t be able to be accessed anymore. This also means that you won’t be able to organize your photos in folders.
When new image formats come out, sometimes Amazon doesn’t recognize them as “images.” Because of this, it eats away at your low 5GB-storage cap of other files. I had this happen to me when I was testing a new camera that had a brand new RAW file type.
This isn’t an issue for most people and you can see the supported image formats to confirm that your images are supported. If they aren’t supported, you can convert those unsupported RAW files to DNG files.
I’ve found the uploader to be buggy at times, and I found that the upload speeds aren’t as good with some other image backup services. Amazon is always improving its software, so this might not be the case for much longer.
Alternatives to Amazon Drive
If you are an Amazon Drive user, and looking for something else, check out some of my recommendations! These recommendations are trying to solve the problem of where to host your photos, while keeping a folder structure.
For the price, there aren’t too many other cloud storage services that come close to competing with the amount of space that Amazon Drive gives out.
You can look into cold storage, but it’s not very user friendly. I believe Amazon Glacier is the cheapest option. I estimated that 5TB of photo storage would be under $20/mo.
The next best cloud storage that I found is SmugMug. They have public photo galleries, which are nice. In this case, it would be similar(ish) to what Amazon Photos provides. SmugMug is a much stronger gallery platform.
SmugMug has this product, that offers $5/TB per month for RAW photo storage. Depending on the size of your catalog, this might be an option.
The last thing, and is mostly what I do these days, is keep everything on a 10TB hard drive. And I backup the hard drive to Backblaze. If the hard drive fails (which I feel like it might any day now!) I can request a download from Backblaze and recover the data.
I’ve been watching the price of solid state drives and in the next few years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 5 or even 10TB solid state USB-C hard drive eventually. When that happens, I’ll probably upgrade and migrate my current hard drive to a solid state. Until then, the 1TB or 4TB options might fit your needs.
I think I’ve come to terms that I can’t hold on to my RAW files forever, and if something catastrophic happens to my hard drive and Backblaze, I still have exported photos that I store in Adobe’s cloud, my Mac and Google Drive.
Can you print photos with Amazon Prime Photos?
Yes! In fact, Amazon makes it easy to print your photos. They have a large selection of different products, like canvas prints, metal prints, photo books, calendars and so much more. Amazon Prime members get free shipping.
How to get Amazon Prime Photos
If you don’t have Amazon Prime, then sign up! Amazon Prime has a lot of good benefits like fast shipping for products and access to other video and music services.
If you already have Amazon Prime, then you’re good to go. Visit the sign in page to start uploading. If you don’t want Amazon Prime, you can still sign up for Amazon Photos based on the price points above.
I hope you were able to learn something about photo backups and more information about one of the many excellent resources out there for keeping your photos safe.
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Last updated on November 1st, 2022