How do I store my photos on Amazon Prime?
You can store your photos on Amazon Prime Photos or Amazon Cloud Drive. Both platforms are included within your Prime subscription and offer incredible value for photographers looking to back-up a significant archive.
How much storage do I get with Amazon Prime?
With Amazon Prime you get unlimited photo storage across both the Prime Photos and Cloud Drive platforms.
In the age of 4K video and 50-megapixel images, having a proper photo storage platform for your image archive is more important than ever. Photographers have flirted with numerous cloud storage options over the years, but buyouts and changes in the marketplace have made it difficult to know where to store your photos. Once you build your archive up somewhere and craft a taxonomy, you don’t want to move it.
Originally a bookseller, Amazon is now invading nearly every facet of our lives these days, from its smart speakers to original television content. But one of Amazon’s many services that doesn’t often get the hype it should is its photo storage capability.
Amazon Prime offers many benefits, but for photographers its unlimited photo storage – which comes free with a Prime membership – is unrivalled in the marketplace. Even Flickr caps its users’ storage at a terabyte.
What is the difference between Amazon Prime Photos and Amazon Cloud Drive?
There are two ways of using Amazon Prime for photo storage: Prime Photos and Amazon Drive. To understand the difference, try thinking about it terms of a website. Amazon Drive is like the content management system, or CMS – the back end where you upload and manage files. Prime Photos is the front end, the public-facing site where you see the fruits of your labour in all their glory.
Also, Prime Photos will display your images. But Amazon Drive can also store your music files, Word documents, PDFs and anything else. Drive is more of an asset management platform. Prime Photos is more of a gallery.
Both Prime Photos and Amazon Cloud Drive offer the same unlimited photo storage. However, for all other files – including videos – you’re limited to 5GB. Once you exceed that number you’ll need to purchase more storage for those files.
Is Prime Photos free for Prime members?
Yes, Prime Photos is ‘free’ if you subscribe to Amazon Prime. But of course you’re paying £7.99 / $12.99, so free really means ‘within the terms of your subscription’.
Uploading images to Prime Photos and Amazon Drive
Amazon makes backing up your images very easy for photographers. You can upload to Prime Photos and Drive via desktop clients for both Mac and Windows machines.
There are also upload clients for iOS and Android devices, as well as Amazon’s own Fire devices.
Uploading to Prime Photos and Amazon Drive can be done via drag-and-drop.
It’s worth noting that Amazon’s photo upload clients don’t offer syncing or automated backups. However, there are now apps such as Syncovery that offer Amazon Cloud Drive as an option for automated file synchronisation.
Prime Photos Metadata
Amazon Prime Photos populates your images with some metadata, but not much. From your images’ EXIF data it will display the camera name, the shutter speed and aperture, date and time the photo was take, the file name, file size and resolution.
Other platforms might provide a deeper list of EXIF data, such as ISO and White Balance values, but for basic photo storage and archive management, what Prime Photos provides is pretty sufficient.
Amazon Prime members get unlimited photo storage, 5 GB of storage for videos, document, and other files for themselves. They can also invite up to five friends or family members to receive unlimited photo storage, and collect photos together in the Family Vault.
To display an image’s metadata, click the little i icon in the top right.
Sharing images from Prime Photos
You can share your images from Prime Photos, but the scope is somewhat limited. However, for photographers simply looking to back up their archive, you’ll find all the sharing capabilities you’ll need.
You share Prime Photos via Facebook, email or direct link to the image. You can also share photos to Family Vaults or create groups of other Prime users and invite them to see your images.
What happens to my photos when I cancel Amazon Prime?
This is the big caveat to the boon of having unlimited photo storage. Once you cancel your Amazon Prime subscription or allow it to expire, you revert back to the free plan which only gives you 5GB of space. Amazon says:
If you exceed your Service Plan’s storage limit, including by downgrading or not renewing your Service Plan or no longer qualifying for an Additional Benefit, we may delete or restrict access to Your Files. We may impose other restrictions on use of the Service.
This implies that Amazon may delete your files or restrict your access to them. Most likely, Amazon will offer you the chance to return to Prime and regain access, rather than simply delete them the second you miss a Prime payment.
But if you someday realise Prime isn’t for you and wish to relocate your archive, it’s worth downloading your photos and other files before simply canceling your membership.
Using Prime Photos professionally
Can Amazon Prime Photos and Amazon Cloud Drive be used by professional photographers? Yes and no. As a photo storage platform and archival management tool, it’s simple-to-use and fantastic value with its unlimited image storage.
But if you’re looking to rely on Amazon Prime for more than photo storage you might need to think twice. Professional photographers might look for an asset management platform that allows them to share images with clients, or even sell photos directly as 500px has just enabled.
Amazon Prime doesn’t allow this. Buried in the terms Amazon makes clear that your files are intended for personal use and should not be used for commercial purposes.
Now, will Amazon actually know if you are sending a link to a Prime Photos gallery to a client vs your mother? Probably not. But the point is, there’s no easy way for your client to purchase directly from Amazon Cloud Drive or Prime Photos.
Clients would need to give you file names and send a PayPal payment, which is all a bit cumbersome and not very professional. So if your intent is to sell images directly from your archive, Prime Photos and Amazon Cloud Drive might not be the best solution for you.