Back up your photos in the cloud: Flickr or Picasaweb?

May 25, 2010

Photography is one of my passions. I have with some nice photos that I don’t actually update very often just because it requires and effort of, opening Lightroom in my mac, connect to the photo folder in my media centre, edit those that I think can go to the web, export them to 800px upload them… bla bla…

It is a petty because I have tons of photos. It is a petty also that those that I have in norai I have not a full size copy of them as I just did it for the web…

I have a very peculiar workflow for photos. My media server with 2x2Tb HDs has about 150Gb of Jpegs and 150Gb of Raws.

When I take a photo with my nikon d300 I take it in Raw (only for the past couple of years), then I save it in a Photos Raw folder with the date-event folder. Then I process them with DxO which generates a Jpeg with the corrected noise, lens distortion and so. I move the jpgs to a folder named the same in a Photos folder.

Picasa is the program I use in the media centre to  see the photos.

On the other hand, the photos I take with my iPhone are in my Mac using iPhoto. I don’t know why… but I take a lot of photos with the iPhone.

Up to now I used to upload the Jpgs to my servers downstairs where I have Gallery2 from menalto. It is good, but videos are not great and again it is here and I am trying to move away from depending on my server.

Now I was considering to have an offsite copy of all my photos. I could go for something like backblaze (or mozy, though I prefere the first), pay $5 per month and forget, or go for an online cloud gallery. This backup solutions are good. Backblaze lets you back up usb drives connected to a machine, even if they are not always connected. I have the Media server with 2Tb and then it has 1Tb USB drive and a 500Mb one… so it would be a good option… but the stuff I really need is in my mac (320Gb) which backs up to a TimeMachine in the Linux Server….

The two major players are Flickr and Picasaweb. Sure you have Smugmug which is the one that looks the best and others such as expono, snapixel.

For me the ideal would be picasaweb basically because I don’t care about the community (where flickr is strong) and it is just a switch in picasa to have everything sync with the web. If I work on the face tags or locations, everything is happily synchronised. In addition to this I like the fact that I can keep my folder structure in the media server and picasa will just be a layer to display it and synchronise it with the web.

So what is wrong?

Google sells space. Basically 20Gb for $5 per year or 200Gb for $50. I have 150Gb of Jpgs. Unfortunately there is NO SERVICE that would allow me to upload my NEF (raw files) and they will create the Jpgs or something.

This is expensive. I would have to go for 200Gb so $50 per year.

Another problem is that there is no good iphone app to upload from the iPhone your photos and videos to picasaweb (hello!!).

Then we have Flickr. Flickr is cheap. $25 per year for unlimited space. If I just want a backup then why not go for flickr?

I don’t like it. I know the community is the best one, so if you want to promote your photos then it is far better. If you want to make profit by selling them then smugmug pro is the winner ($150 year).

Flickr has not desktop app. They don’t respect my folder structure. If I choose flickr and I have 150Gb to upload, I would love to keep my folder structure in sets (this is what flickr considers folders) but the flickr uploadr doesn’t allow that. So I would end up with 50.000 photos in a bucket and then do the job online to classify them on sets, collections do the map thing (which sucks compared to google map) and faces… (again!!).

So here I am. On one side the winner is google, but I think they are expensive and I don’t know how fast my storage demands will grow, but for me today is twice the price of flickr.

On the other side, everybody use flickr. I guess you get use to it, but the sycn and the process of uploading the photos… for that I continue with gallery2 in my servers, I copy everything to an external HD, I plug it in my mums and I rsync it once in a while. But then what do I do with the videos I take with the phone? Put them all in youtube?


Anybody went to this hard choice?


  1. Comment by dani

    dani Reply May 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Maybe the solution is flickr and backblaze: Two backups of my jpgs, on backup (on backblaze) of my raw, and a online gallery with videos and photos to use from now onwards (so I don’t have to do the sets faces and so…
    This solution would be 75$ a year… mmm….
    I still don’t know.

  2. Comment by Matt S

    Matt S Reply June 6, 2010 at 8:26 am

    I use PicasaWeb to backup my 5 gigs of photos. I found a Python script online that uploaded all of the photos at once, from the Apple command line.

    But I am a little worried. I recently noticed that one of the albums, of several dozen, was missing. I tried this from multiple computers (and an iPhone), both logged in, logged out, and with the browsers cache and cookies reset. The album just wasn’t there.

    Then I found that I had emailed a link to the album to my parents. I clicked on that link and — voila — the album magically reappeared.

    I think they had some data consistency error– where the album and photos were still there, but somehow wasn’t linked to whatever database controls the main page. And that viewing the album directly somehow relinked it to the main page.

    But anyways, I am no longer confident that PicasaWeb, by itself, is a perfect backup. I don’t know if it lost any other album, or if this one time was just a fluke. If I hadn’t noticed it missing and didn’t have the direct link to it it would have been gone.

    So I am looking for a second web album to serve as a true backup.


  3. Comment by dani

    dani Reply June 6, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I gave a try a try to flickr. SInce the 26th May I am uploading photos.
    I have to say I regret it a bit, the reason being that it is like if I am dropping all my photos to a bucket, which will be impossible to sort.
    For the time being I just want to finish the upload, but I have the feeling that flickr will only be useful for me from now onwards where when uploading I can create sets and tag and classify stuff.
    For my 150Gb of photos… I still don’t know how I’m going to manage.
    I am testing a mac program called flickery but pages, like in flickr are only containing few photos. I would love to have a single page with all of them…

    Regarding @Matt’s issues with PicasaWeb if you use the picasa software, and you choose picasa as your default instead of iPhoto, removing the photos from where iPhoto is saving them, then you will see each album/event has a sync switch. Then is easy, you can just sync the web with your picasa.
    Problems of doing this?
    Well, iPhoto is completly integrated in the Mac OS… when uploading photos to an email, or selecting photo types… while picasa is not. I don’t know if I would be ready for this sacrifice.

  4. Comment by nfarina

    nfarina Reply October 13, 2010 at 12:48 am

    I chose Picasaweb for this purpose because of the iPhone app “Web Albums” which lets you post to Picasaweb straight from your iPhone really easily. My writeup:

  5. Comment by dani

    dani Reply October 13, 2010 at 8:48 am

    @nfarina. Great app! Thanks for the plug.
    Petty that iPhoto (mac) does not have a sync with Picasa web. It does for flickr though…

    • Comment by numanoids

      numanoids Reply November 7, 2010 at 2:27 pm

      Picasa Web Albums can integrate with iphoto

      Its not a sync switch as per Picasa application, but you can export from iPhoto into web albums – also I discovered you can use iPhoto without storing all pictures in a single Library file.

  6. Comment by Puregsr

    Puregsr Reply February 6, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I gotta say, I’m in the same boat as you, except I’m already waist deep invested in Flickr. I use Lightroom for all my work flow, Picasa to view, and Flickr to share and store. I don’t like the fact that I can’t sync any changes with Flickr since I’m constantly adding and editing tags. Any changes I make to the pictures, I must painstakingly go through my entire work flow to locate the specific pictures, which is prone to mistakes. Also, I don’t like Flickr changing the filenames of my pictures. It’s not a true backup copy of my photos since I can’t restore the exact structure of my organization.
    The most ideal would prob be an integration of Lightroom and Picasa for instant sync and share.

    • Comment by Zarch

      Zarch Reply February 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Exactly the same boat there. Got 40gb of old JPG all in Picasa, but just started shooting RAW on new camera.

      Need to process them through Lightroom, but seems a faff having to do all these steps

      Import into LR (and convert NEF to DNG)
      Output to JPG
      Import into Picasa on PC
      Sync albums

      I suppose as Picasa can handle DNG I could do something with those rather than converting to JPG?

      Don’t know….. Stuck how to move forward….

      • Comment by dani

        dani Reply February 16, 2011 at 3:03 pm

        @zarch if you starting to shot RAW now space required is going to be multiplied by 2.5 so you should start looking for an unlimited space offer.
        That is why I chose flickr, but I still don’t like it (not keeping the folder structure I have in my computer).

        -I shot RAW and I keep it.
        -In parallel, I create JPEG using DxO (which corrects lenses defaults).
        Now I have two identical trees of photos, one RAW one JPEG.
        -Then a third tree with Ligthroom modification (this is just a selection).

        In flicker I upload the DxO JPEGs (more than 150Gb now…).

        Ideally I would love to use Picasa, and just switch the sync button… but when you have a lot of photos space becomes expensive.

        Now, where do you back up the RAW… good question.

        Since last November I am using crashplan. It back all my computers (all of them) including my RAW files.
        So far I have uploaded 450Gb. Still a lot to be done. It is a question of months…

        Sometimes I think I would be better with a NAS synology DS1511+ and an offsite back up with a second unit… but it is expensive…

        • Comment by stefano

          stefano Reply October 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm

          I use smugmug, 40$/year but it’s a great professional service…
          and you can store (backup) raw files (for an added though low fee) and they’ll associate it with the corresponding jpg (if any)

          please use my referral link !

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