Like it or not, the moment is nearly here: Google Photos is ending its free unlimited storage on June 1st. From then on, any photo you upload (including compressed "storage saver" pics) counts toward your Google Drive storage limit unless it comes from a Pixel phone. If you need more space, you'll have to pay for Google One plans that start at $2 per month for 100GB of Drive space and scale to 2TB for $10 per month.
Any photos you upload before June 1st won't count toward the cap, so you'll want to get in one last backup if you can. Google has also made it easier to delete unwanted photos through a tool that finds blurry snapshots, screenshots and other items you can usually remove.
Google explained the move last November as a necessary step to "keep pace" with the demand for storage. It didn't expect 80 percent of Photos users to hit the cap for another three years, although it's more of an issue for people whose free Drive space was already loaded with other content.
You're not completely stuck if you were counting on Google Photos as a backup for your image library. If you need a free service, you can use the no-cost tiers for services like Dropbox or Flickr if you have a modest collection. And there's a real chance another paid service you use might offer cloud storage of its own. An Amazon Prime subscription provides free unlimited photo storage (plus 5GB of video), while a Microsoft 365 membership offers 1TB of OneDrive space per person. Apple's iCloud can also help if you're an iOS or Mac user, although that's more of a sync service than full storage.