Apple has successfully made it as annoying and monotonous as possible to retrieve photos from iCloud.
It’s obviously so you’d rather pay to upgrade your storage rather than download each photo one by one, but cmon. If you google how to do it, there used to be a bunch of ways to download all your photos at once, and even when the Windows iCloud application was introduced you were able to download all your photos. Now it only downloads the new ones… I know they know what they’re doing but it’s in extremely poor taste I find. Not sure how you guys feel about it but I went and disabled it and will just be downloading my files to an external cloud service whenever my phone fills up. Sorry for the rant.