Learn how to use Google Photos to store and organize your image and video library

Learn more about Google Photos and find out how to use this tool to store and backup your photos and videos

Google Photos: Illustration with the Google Photos symbol, a pinwheel with green, blue, red and yellow curls, on a white circular background with a blue exterior.

Have you ever taken the time to count the number of photos you take every day on your smartphone? A lot! But there’s a problem, how do you organize all of these images?

You can find many tools on the internet to help you with this task, but none compare to Google Photos.

The search engine giant’s solution features many interesting and useful features, such as automatic backup, remote access to files, and smart search.

But many people still haven’t discovered all of the service’s features, or how to use it. And so, we’ve prepared this practical tutorial with everything you need to know to start exploring Google Photos.

Shall we get started?

What is Google Photos and how does it work?

Google Photos is an image sharing and storage service developed by Google. It was launched in May 2015 and is one of the most popular tools of its kind, since it’s installed by default on Android smartphones.

The service stores your photos and videos “in the cloud”. But what does this mean?

In the past, in order to make a copy of a photo or video, you had to connect your smartphone or camera to your computer and transfer all the files manually. And then, transfer everything to an external HD or DVD. Let’s face it; it was boring and time-consuming work.

While it’s great to have several backups of your files, especially the most important ones, storing photos and videos in the cloud is very advantageous. In addition to being easy to use, this type of technology allows you to access your files from any device connected to the internet.

There are several tools of this type on the internet, but Google Photos is one of the most popular for several reasons, such as:

  • Automatic storage and backup of photos and videos;
  • Allows you to organize, share and manage photos and videos in one click;
  • Compatible with several types of devices;
  • Easy to use, with an intuitive interface.Changes to Google Photos backup and storage

Changes to Google Photos backup and storage

In November 2020, Google announced that they’re changing the way photo and video files are counted towards  the storage space of Google Drive user accounts.

The main change affects Google Photos, which will no longer offer unlimited storage of photos and videos in high quality.

Starting June 1, 2021, storage space for new files will be counted in the total free 15 GB available for every google account.

According to the company, this new rule will not affect anyone who backs up high-quality media files until the end of May 2021. Photos and videos uploaded by that time will continue to be available on Google Photos without considering the new storage limit.

However, files sent after June 1, 2021 will count toward your 15 GB limit in the free plan.

To help users, Google offers a tool for users to estimate how long their storage space will probably last in the free plan. 

You can find the tool on this link. It takes into account how often you use Google Photos backup, in addition to doc files, videos and messages in your Gmail.

What are the main features of Google Photos?

Google photos can be used for more than just storing your images and videos. The tool has a series of features that make everyday life easier. Below, you can check the main ones:

Automatic Backup

One of the major advantages of Google Photos is that is automatically makes a copy of all images and videos on the device. So, whenever you have a stable internet connection, the tool will back up your files to the cloud.

Smart Search

Google Photos incorporates Google’s powerful search technology. Thus, you can search your photos by using any keyword. When you search for “food”, for example, the service will display photos of food. If you enter “Rio de Janeiro”, the app will display photos and videos geolocalized in the city.


Another very useful feature of Google Photos is its Assistant. It analyzes your image library searching for photos similar to each other. Then, it compiles the files into albums and collages.

In addition, the feature also helps you delete duplicate files and free up storage space on your device.

Google Lens

Continuing Google’s investments in Artificial Intelligence, Google Photos is integrated with Lens. This feature allows users to photograph an image and receive information about an object highlighted in it, such as the name of a color pattern, a tourist attraction or the species of a plant.

Google Photos Albums

Through advanced image processing and analysis, the Google service automatically groups photos and videos into personalized albums.

People, places, things, collages, animations and movies are some of the types of albums that the tool creates automatically.

Digitalization of old images

Those who grew up before the advent of digital photography, probably have a large collection of analog photos. If this is your case, digitalizing these memories and storing them online is a good idea.

Google Photos has a feature that scans old photos, eliminates glare and distortions, preserving their color and appearance.

Partner Account

Another great advantage of Google Photos is the possibility of sharing media files with specific people, such as the photos and videos of a party to all the guests.

In order to use this feature, just go to settings, select the option of adding a partner account, enter the address and email, and select what will be shared.

Using Google Photos

With all of these amazing features, you probably can’t wait to start using Google Photos to organize your images. But do you know how to do it?

Check out below how to configure and use Google Photos in simple steps:

1. Install Google Photos

The first step is to install the Photos app on your smartphone. The tool is available for Android and iOS.


In addition, Google provides a web version of Photos, where you can upload photos and videos stored on your computer.

2. Select the backup quality level

After the app is installed, you have to select the quality level of the photos and videos stored on the service.

Google Photos provides two options:

  • High quality: photos are resized to a maximum of 16 megapixels and video to 1080p resolution.
  • Original: there is no loss of quality or resolution in the original files.


3. Browse the images

By default, when you open Google Photos you have access to a gallery with all the images and videos organized by date, with the most recent files at the top.


On tablets and smartphones, you can pinch zoom to visualize photos by month, day and individual images. Just perform the opposite movement in order to return to default view.

Google photos pinch zoom

The “Albums” section automatically organizes all of your images and videos into groups of People, Places, Things, Videos, Collages, Animations and Videos.


4. Edit Images

Google Photos also offers a few image and video editing tools.

By touching the edit icon, you can apply predefined filters to the photos, change lighting, color and brightness, in addition to cropping and rotating the image.


Basic adjustments include tools to change lighting (brightness), color and color highlight (contrast). When you touch the arrow next to one of these options, more detailed adjustments and options are displayed.


Google Photos video editing is limited to content cropping, video rotation and image stabilization.

5. Use the “For you” section to access automatic projects

By clicking the “For you” button on the bottom of the app, or on the left in the web version, you will have access to a series of extra tools: Album, Movie (only available on smartphones) Collage and Animation.


You can create these items manually by selecting which photos and videos you want to match. But the Assistant also creates albums, movies, collages and animations automatically.

All of this content will be displayed as cards and you have the option to delete or save each one.

6. Create albums, collages and clips with Google Photos

In addition to the Assistant’s suggestions, you can also create your own personalized content.

Albums, collages and clips are created in the same manner. Just select the photos and videos you want to include. You can also include, delete and rearrange the images.


The process for creating videos is similar, but this feature is only present in mobile apps, since it depends on touch controls. You can select up to 50 images to create the clip by organizing the photos in the desired order and even adding personalized music.

7. Share

Although all content stored on Google Photos is private, you can share a specific photo or video by selecting the share icon on the bottom left of your screen.


This option allows you to share your files with several applications, such as Facebook, Twitter and email. You can also click on the “Create link” button to generate a URL associated with the file, which can be accessed from any device.

Google Photos is a great tool to store and synchronize photos and videos, and it has automatic features that truly make life easier for those who have thousands of media files.

Now that we’ve talked about photo storage and organizing, would you like to learn how to create GIFs? 


This post was originally published in January 2020 and then updated with further information.

Marcos Pereira

Marcos Pereira

Copywriter in love with marketing and SEO, voracious reader and trained artist.

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