Share Full-Res Photos Through Google+ Using Google Drive


Many photographers are uncomfortable sharing their work at higher resolutions online, preferring instead to share smaller (and perhaps watermarked) photographs. If that doesn’t describe you, then you might be happy to know that you can now share full-resolution photographs with your followers, friends, and family on Google+.

Photographer Trey Ratcliff writes that he welcomes this new ability since he shares his images with a Creative Commons Noncommercial license. Prior to this development, the largest size Google+ would share was 2048 pixels across — still quite large, but far from the full-res sizes of 7140×4768 he has been uploading.

Now, sharing full-res images through Google+ isn’t yet a straightforward process. It’s a bit of a hack that’s a result of different Google services becoming more integrated with one another. More specifically, you’ll need to have a Google Drive account.

Upload your photographs to Google Drive to have the full-res versions stored through that service.


Next, hop onto Google+ and click the little camera icon to share a photograph. You’ll see “From Google Drive” as one of the options.


Find your photo on Drive, share it, and voila! A full-res image on Google+!


Ratcliff writes that there’s another handy trick: check out this image URL for a photograph uploaded to Google:

Notice how there’s a “s1161″ in that URL? The ‘s’ likely stands for “size”. Click the link, and you’ll see a photo that’s 1161 pixels in width. Google’s image URLs actually dynamically serve photographs at any size you’d like. Thus, changing the ‘1161’ to ‘800’ results in a photograph that’s 800px wide:

To snag the full-resolution version of the photo, simply change it to ‘s0′:

This can be useful for hotlinking the photos elsewhere at a suitable resolution and using Google+/Google Drive as a photo hosting service.

Now let’s sit back and see whether or not other major services (e.g. Facebook) start offering full-resolution hosting for free as well.

  • Hynee

    I know you can download images from Facebook through their interface, but I don’t know what size they max out at. You can get them pretty large though.
    Good tip on the image size hack for G+ images.

  • lidocaineus

    I’m not sure if Flickr is lumped into this category, but they’ve been allowing full res up/downloads for Pro members forever for people that make them available. Nice of G+ to allow it for free though.

  • lidocaineus

    Facebook doesn’t store photos even close to full res. They also do some weird processing to anything you upload and kill all your metadata.

  • Damien RouĂ©

    Is Google+ marking photos as Creative Commons ? I don’t think so, so Trey Ratcliff is posting them in the wild there I guess. Let me know if I missed something.

  • korafotomorgana

    if you are going to store full res photos on your google drive then you need to pay for extra space, google drive shares cloud space with google+, any pictures you upload that are over 2048×2048 will count against your free 5gb storage and as it was mentioned in the comments, flickr offers that for a fee as well…without limit cap… trey is a great guy, but can we please do a little homework before we spread his word as gospel? very disappointing work pp…

  • polkm123

    I agree, Google wants the high res photos so they can do what they want with them, sell them, use them in advertising, it is all in the TOS.

    “When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services.

  • vivanteco

    You can actually upload RAWs into Google Drive and use them as you would JPEGs. I’ve been using Google Drive to store my RAWs to free up space on my laptop SSD. Works a treat!

  • Daniel Nahabedian

    Nowhere in that article it says that “Google owns your files”.
    They just grant themselves a licence to use your images, which is pretty common. Now check EVERY SINGLE service/platform on internet and pick the one that DOESN’T have the same terms.
    Go ahead, and good luck.
    (If you don’t want to grant anyone a right to use your images, don’t use Internet).