There has been a lot of news lately about changes in services that used to want to store your photos. Costco has shut down its photo storage and transferred your photos to Shutterfly; Shutterfly is shutting down its Share Sites on March 25, 2023 and now requires a purchase every 18 months to store your photos. I’m sure others will follow.

What does this mean for you? Watch this video to learn the step by step process:

If you have photos in Shutterfly and are not sure if you also have these photos somewhere else, now is the time to download them for safekeeping. You should always have control over your own photos – you should not be at the mercy of changing policies.

There are two pieces to this:

  1. Photos in your personal Shutterfly account, and
  2. Photos in your Share Sites.

Photos in your personal Shutterfly account:

These photos are “safe” for the time-being. According to Shutterfly’s new policy, as long as you make a purchase of any dollar amount every 18 months, your photos will remain on their site. So you can decide whether you want to download these photos now for safekeeping or kick the can down the road. Just remember to make that purchase within 18 months (Shutterfly will likely remind you…).

Photos in Share Sites:

These photos are NOT safe. As of March 25, 2023 you will no longer have access to them. At all. As in gone. If there are photos in your Share Sites you want to keep, you need to download them immediately. To make matters worse, even if you save photos from a Share Site into your personal account, if the person who originally posted the photos into the Share Sites deletes them, they will be deleted from your personal account. So now is the time to save them out of Shutterfly.

How do you save photos out of Shutterfly?

Download this handout and watch this video for step-by-step instructions.

Is there a free alternative to Shutterfly?

Maybe, but I don’t recommend free photo storage sites.

Even before these changes I counseled my clients not to keep the primary copy of their photos in a free storage site. Why? Because “free” is never really free. If you are not paying for the product, you are the product.

Think about why a company might “give” you “free” storage. I’ll just leave it at that…

“Free” storage sites should only be used to purchase the products they are actually selling. Want to make a photo book, mug, or other gift? Upload the photos you need to make the product. But make sure you have already saved these photos somewhere else. That way you don’t have to worry when the next “free” photo storage site changes its policies or ends its service.

Want to learn more photo tips and tricks? Check out Allison’s blog and follow her on social media:


Author: Allison W. Freedman is the owner of Arrange Wander Focus. Allison is a Certified Photo Manager with a background in anthropology, law, and photography. She has always had an interest in nature photography, taking thousands of photos a year of birds and animals. On the professional side, as an attorney she organized and managed millions of documents looking for the stories they told.

At the end of 2019 she took a step away from the law for a different way of life and started Arrange Wander Focus in 2021. Now she combines her skills in photography and organizing to help individuals and businesses take control of their photos and videos so that they can enjoy their memories again.