Pho­to: thehungryjpeg.com

There used to be piles of neg­a­tives, now there are giga­bytes of orig­i­nals. Both need to be stored some­where. So that neat­ly, con­ve­nient­ly and reli­ably. And a com­put­er is not an option: the more often you shoot, the faster RAW pho­tos will com­plete­ly clog mem­o­ry. There are only two alter­na­tives: an exter­nal hard dri­ve or the cloud. We will look at them today. And at the same time we will find out what is bet­ter.


Now almost every axis, major sys­tem or provider offers cloud ser­vices. You can store all your files on exter­nal servers, which can be con­nect­ed via the Inter­net, and accessed any­time, any­where. Of course, in the pres­ence of the noto­ri­ous Inter­net.

Advantages of cloud services

No addi­tion­al devices are need­ed to access the cloud. Pho­to: appdevelopermagazine.com

Access from anywhere in the world

The cloud got its name for a rea­son. On the sur­face, it may seem that your doc­u­ments and pho­tographs are tak­en from nowhere. It is not nec­es­sary to store them on the com­put­er, fill­ing up the mem­o­ry. But you can open it any­where. If you work, for exam­ple, from a lap­top with 500 GB of inter­nal mem­o­ry, you can store all your pho­tos in the cloud. Whether you need to edit an old pho­to or choose from a port­fo­lio, you can do it even while relax­ing on the beach. All you need is an inter­net con­nec­tion.

Storage space

The cloud is not lim­it­ed by phys­i­cal media lim­its. There is enough stor­age space, so any user can freely choose how much space they need. If space runs out, ser­vices always offer expan­sion options.

Also, it does not mat­ter how many and what kind of files you plan to store, the cloud pro­vides such an oppor­tu­ni­ty. There­fore, if you are deal­ing with big data and pre­fer to work remote­ly, cloud ser­vices are very con­ve­nient.

Disadvantages of cloud services

Cloud ser­vices con­nect mobile and sta­tion­ary devices. Pho­to: bytesbin.com

Data security

When you agree to store your data in a third par­ty ser­vice, you auto­mat­i­cal­ly accept the terms, both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive. For exam­ple, in the event of a serv­er fail­ure, you will not be able to access your own infor­ma­tion. And if there is a hack or leak, then all the data will be out of your con­trol. This has already hap­pened sev­er­al times and, despite the fact that well-known users have become the main vic­tims of attacks, no one is immune from leak­age.

Of course, cloud ser­vice providers try to main­tain the sys­tem and secu­ri­ty set­tings in the prop­er form. So the cas­es are rare.

Internet addiction

Now you can access the Inter­net from almost any­where, but still there are places where the con­nec­tion is not of suf­fi­cient qual­i­ty. Data from the cloud is only avail­able when con­nect­ed to the net­work. So, if you are on vaca­tion in a dense for­est or on a wild beach, then you will not be able to get to your files. But net­work prob­lems are not uncom­mon. There­fore, when choos­ing cloud ser­vices for stor­ing pho­tos, keep in mind that force majeure can always affect dead­lines or oppor­tu­ni­ties.

You can even access the cloud from your smart­phone. Pho­to: businessinsider.com

The service is paid

Cloud ser­vices work on a sub­scrip­tion basis. That is, while you need to store files, you will have to reg­u­lar­ly pay for the ser­vice. And if you miss a pay­ment, then there is a chance of los­ing not only time, but also data.

Even using the cloud, you should always keep back­ups of your data. Oth­er­wise, there is no guar­an­tee that you will be able to access the pho­tos at the right time.

cloud services

There are sev­er­al com­mon ser­vices that can be used to store pho­tos. Google dri­ve, Yan­dex disk, iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive and oth­ers. Most of them are best used togeth­er with the ecosys­tem. Google is the most con­ve­nient for Android + Win­dows users, OneDrive and Yan­dex are also suit­able for this. And iCloud is per­fect for Apple users.

External hard drive

An exter­nal hard dri­ve is a portable stor­age device. Depend­ing on the type, HDD or SSD, it is either slight­ly faster and small­er (SSD), or large and slow (HDD). The vol­ume varies from 1 TB and above.


The hard dri­ve is con­ve­nient for work­ing out­side the home or office. Pho­to: gameingnow.com

Data security

The main advan­tage of your own dri­ve is com­plete con­trol over the files that are stored on it. Their arrange­ment, the qual­i­ty of uploaded images and oth­er para­me­ters can be cus­tomized accord­ing to your own require­ments. A hard dri­ve works on the same prin­ci­ple as a flash dri­ve, just con­nect it to the device you are work­ing on and you can make changes right in the doc­u­ment.

If you’re par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned about the secu­ri­ty of your pho­tos, you can set a pass­word direct­ly on the fold­ers. Then access from any device will be open only to those who know the pass­word.

Independent file access

In order to work with a hard dri­ve, you do not need any­thing extra. It is not nec­es­sary to have a sta­ble Inter­net con­nec­tion, you can edit pic­tures from any­where. The main thing is that the disk itself is at hand. Oth­er­wise, you don’t depend on any­thing.

Exter­nal SSD dri­ves are com­pact and fast. Pho­to: thegadgetflow.com

Ability to store any data

Some cloud ser­vices lim­it the type of files that can be saved. The hard dri­ve is more free in this regard: graph­ic doc­u­ments, text files, disk images and almost any data coex­ist on it. So it can be used for more than just pho­tog­ra­phy. A rea­son­able orga­ni­za­tion of space will make it easy to nav­i­gate the data.

Free use

The hard dri­ve only requires a one-time pay­ment, the moment you buy it. The rest of the time you can use it for free and not wor­ry that your data will be lost some­where or some­one else will get access to it.


The more data, the more disks you need. Pho­to: arstechnica.com

Limited space

The main dis­ad­van­tage of a hard dri­ve is its vol­ume. No mat­ter how big a dri­ve you buy, soon­er or lat­er you will run out of space on it and you will have to decide what to delete and what to keep. It is impos­si­ble to expand the amount of mem­o­ry on the disk, so you have to oper­ate exclu­sive­ly with what is already there. This is not always con­ve­nient, espe­cial­ly for pho­tog­ra­phers. It often hap­pens that one per­son has sev­er­al disks with pho­to archives at once, and many of them will nev­er come in handy.

HDD hard dri­ves can be quite heavy and incon­ve­nient to trans­port. And you need to han­dle them care­ful­ly. Pho­to: promotionaldrives.com

Physical form

The disk can only be used when the user has it with him. If you for­get, lose or break your hard dri­ve, then the files stored on it will be lost. In some cas­es, with­out the pos­si­bil­i­ty of recov­ery. So you have to not only con­stant­ly remem­ber to take the disc, but also make sure that you fol­low the rules for stor­ing and using it.

No access from all devices

Pho­tos uploaded to the cloud can be uploaded from a com­put­er and viewed on a phone. But with a hard dri­ve, such a num­ber will not work. They sim­ply can­not be con­nect­ed to a smart­phone or tablet, so this type of device seems out­dat­ed for mod­ern mobile tech­nol­o­gy.


So what to choose: an exter­nal hard dri­ve or a cloud? Always con­sid­er which of the para­me­ters is more impor­tant to you. If the main thing is access from any­where, then it is bet­ter to choose a hard dri­ve. In terms of con­ve­nience, it is still more prof­itable.

But if you are ready to reg­u­lar­ly pay for a cloud ser­vice, and do not wor­ry about the secu­ri­ty of your files, then it is much eas­i­er to use it.

Pho­tos will be avail­able to you, and you can send them links to oth­ers.