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Aside from random low-res images shared on now mostly defunct social networks, Flickr was the place I called my online photo home. It's where I shared some of my photos with the online community, both personally and professionally. I paid for the Pro account for a time, but eventually moved over to the 1TB free Flickr option. Now that option is being taken away and we're left scrambling for free Flickr alternatives.

Well, maybe scrambling isn't the right word. But before we get there, let's back track a step or two. Flickr, which was acquired by SmugMug from Yahoo earlier this year, is making changes to its free accounts. Instead of providing 1TB of free online storage, they now let you store up to 1,000 images total.

If you're anything like me, chances are that you have more than 1,000 photos on there. If that's the case, your newest 1,000 images get to stay, but anything older will get deleted unless you pay up for an unlimited Flickr Pro account. This restriction kicks in on January 8, 2019. Flickr Pro costs $49.99 a year, for the record.

So, where can you go from here?

  • Google Photos: If you're willing to accept "high quality" instead of "original," you can get unlimited storage with Google. The added perk of all that AI machine learning automagic is a bonus.
  • 500px: You could say this site is geared a little more toward the professional end of the spectrum. The challenge is that the free account is limited to 20 uploads a week, which means it'll take you forever to migrate your thousands of photos over.
  • Imgur: The good news? Imgur really is free to use and you can enjoy unlimited storage. The platform feels a lot more like a place to share memes, but at least you've got organization options like tags and topics.
  • Facebook: If you're worried about data mining and Big Brother and all that, Zuck's place might not be the place for you. But that'd be true of Google Photos too. Facebook allows for unlimited uploads, though you do lose the original quality. Sharing is easy though.
  • Amazon Photos: All Amazon customers get 5GB of storage, whereas Prime members get unlimited photo storage and 5GB of video storage. Enjoy shared albums, automatic organization, and easy personalized gifts.
  • DeviantArt: The site is focused more toward digital art rather than photographs, but you can store just about whatever images you want. There's a built in community too. Free accounts are limited to just 2GB of storage, however.
  • Photobucket: At one time, you could have said that Photobucket was one of the de facto standards for online photo sharing. These days, you get up to 2GB of storage for free.

In some ways, you could say it's the end of an era. In other ways, we had to figure this was inevitable. Of the viable free Flickr alternatives, which one makes the most sense to you? Or will you be upgrading to Flickr Pro?

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