Cloud technology has grown by leaps and bounds. With cloud storage services, businesses, professionals, and individuals have gotten access to a safer and better data storage method. Photographers are some of the professionals who have been quick to adopt cloud storage. However, with the slew of cloud storage services available today, choosing which one to use is a challenge.

Whereas a small-scale photographer might be comfortable with a basic cloud service such as Dropbox backup, a photographer with thousands of images to be backed up needs something different. In addition to the amount of data you need to store, you also have to consider security, accessibility and ease of use.

Your choice will depend on a number of factors including your budget, the level of control you need over your data, how secure you need your files to be and the amount of data you upload. Here are a few of the best cloud storage options to consider.

1. Photoshelter

This service initially offered only cloud backup services, but its offering is now far more rich and diverse. Most notably, Photoshelter now gives photographers the opportunity to organize, showcase and even sell their images right in the cloud. You do not need to set up a website to do all this; Photoshelter builds it in. And unlike a lot of other cloud storage services, Photoshelter accepts RAW files.

On the downside, the backup is not automated, so you ll have to do it manually.

2. Carbonite

Carbonite is one of the most popular backup services in the market. It is very convenient in that it runs in the background, automatically backing up your data. By using it you free yourself from the tedious manual upload process.

The service has three plans with varying features and, therefore, varying prices. Carbonite supports RAW file formats in addition to several others.

3. CrashPlan

Similar to Carbonite, CrashPlan automates the backup process through a program that runs in the background on your computer. It offers unlimited online storage for a monthly or annual fee.

CrashPlan has a number of unique backup and restoration services. For one, it stores any data that you delete from your cloud storage, permanently deleting the data only at your request. Second, you can back up a physical hard drive with CrashPlan: For added security and in case of time pressure, CrashPlan will also send you an empty hard drive for you to load up. Then, in case of a major crash, you can call the company to have the hard drive sent to you.

4. SmugMug

This is a cloud storage service dedicated to photos. As with Photoshelter, you can also showcase and sell your work within the cloud storage. The only file formats SmugMug supports are GIF, PNG and JPG, however. SmugMug does not support RAW files.

If you want to back up RAW files with SmugMug, you can use an extension called SmugVault for a fee. With it, you can also store video, PSD, TIFF and PDF files. Regardless, you will need to back up your files manually; you cannot automate the process.

5. Zoolz

Unlike most cloud storage services, Zoolz is geared more toward long-term or lifetime data storage. It offers users unlimited storage for a fee, and you can back up both internal and external hard drives. There are subscription options for one year, two years and five years. Zoolz allows you to back up all of the basic image files such as TIFF, JPG and more. It also accepts RAW files from Canon, Sony and Nikon.

6. Google Drive

At first, Google s foray into cloud storage services was limited. The service, Google Drive, served primarily as a way to store and sync Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. Now, however, Google Drive offers up to 30TB of storage. You can access your backed up files on multiple platforms including your desktop and mobile device.

Google Drive accepts RAW files and takes the extra step of generating image previews.

7. Microsoft OneDrive

A basic cloud storage service suitable for storing and sharing videos and images. Microsoft OneDrive has grown to put itself in direct competition with Google Drive by offering a lower price plan. There are several plans from 1TB down to 15GB. If you set up your camera roll to automatically update to OneDrive, you will also receive an extra 15GB of storage at no additional cost.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Other contenders you may want to check out are JungleDisk, SugarSync and Amazon Web Services.

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