Gone are the days of dusty photo albums that sit on the coffee table or filing cabinets full of scratched photos. These days, our way of storing and sharing photos is entirely digital. We are stepping further away from physical storage, such as hard drives. Instead, we are choosing to store our photos online.
Whether you want to share photos with family, friends or the world, which platform you choose is important to ensure those memories are safe and accessible. Key things to look out for include storage space. Ensure you aren’t paying too much for sufficient amounts of storage space.
The quality of your photos is also important. You should avoid any sites that compress your photos, as this decreases their high-resolution quality. If you wish to print out a physical copy, the compression will become evident straight away as your photo will be blurry and pixelated. A good photo site will allow you to share photos easily on other media platforms and amongst friends and colleagues. Try to find a site that suits you and doesn’t overcomplicate your sharing and storing desires. Automatic syncing is something to look out for because it cuts out a lot of time. This is useful if you are an avid photographer and need to upload lots of photos at a time.
Of course, Facebook is one of the most popular options for uploading and sharing photos. As so many people use it for socialising, the platform guarantees an audience. Facebook is easy to use and good tagging features via face recognition save a lot of time. Privacy settings are simple to control, allowing only certain people access to your photos or no one at all. The major drawback of Facebook is that is doesn’t keep the original image that you upload. It reduces its size even if you upload it with the ‘high quality’ setting. Therefore Facebook is great amongst friends to keep people updated with what you’re doing, however it is not the place for serious photographers.
The Yahoo-owned site is user-friendly and has a huge photography community. You receive a whopping 1 terabyte of space for free, although with adverts. Images are uploaded and stored at full resolution and you can organize them into ‘collections’ and ‘sub-collections’. If you don't have time for this, you can give friends and family permission to organize for you. They can add comments, notes, and tags to the photos you upload.
For photographers in search of a bit more income, you can sell photos with various levels of license use. The site is also great for keyword searches in order to find what you need amongst the 13 billion photos that Flickr has.
A logical step after Facebook is Instagram for your photos. It is free and easy to use, with a simple newsfeed type interface to keep you up to date. If you are an amateur photographer yourself, you can get involved in the vast community of artists and creatives. You can also use it only amongst friends if you wish to keep things private,. However, it does require others to have an account in order to see yours.
Photos are uploaded at full-resolution but not displayed as such. The site also prevents the viewer from saving photos. This could be a problem if your main audience is curious family members, especially if they’re not familiar with the smartphone.
If like many others you already acquire a Google account, Google Photos could be the option for you. By enabling backup and location, Google organises your photos in sets it deems related. They can also be organised by destination. This means you can easily find photos from places such as your hometown or a specific holiday you went on.
Google provides 15 GB of storage, which seems a lot but includes not just your photos but also your documents and emails. You can upgrade to 100 GB for $1.99 a month. Google Photos is good at syncing and backing up your photos from numerous devices so you don’t have to do it manually. Although the editing tools are limited, photo sharing is incredibly easy so all the family can get involved.
If you are someone who likes to print their photos regularly then Shutterfly is for you. It offers a large array of products you can print your photos onto. Also photo books are available at reasonable prices.
The printing services are Shutterfly’s forte. It also allows you to share photos with friends and family with free unlimited storage. There’s the option to create a Share Site, which is essentially its own micro-site. Group members can share photos and projects or access it through the URL.
Essentially an online gallery space, SmugMug gives you an URL when subscribing. The site requires a monthly payment of $3.99 for a basic membership. This gives you a customizable website where you can select themes, layouts and logos. The photos are presented as very high-quality and professional. As this is a paid site, it is recommended more for the serious photographer who either can use it to sell work or use it as an online portfolio.
This sleek site targets the serious photographer. Instead of family holiday snaps, you’ll find stand out landscapes and portraits. This is a platform for photographers to show off their work without being bogged down by baby photos. It even sells licenses for photos. The interface is minimal, letting the photos speak for themselves. If you want to share photos with other photography fanatics, then this is the place for you.
We have countless sites available to us for photo sharing. And they all have their pros and cons. Ultimately, what’s vital is to know who your audience is. This tells you what sharing platform will suit you most in order to communicate your photos to the viewers you want.