What’s the Best Way to Share Photos Online?

Jul 2011

Why do you put your photos online?  Is it to promote your cause or charity, share with friends or increase your business?  Whatever your reason for putting photos online there are a number of different services that can make it easier, cost effective or produce the most traffic.

Before deciding on what service you’ll be using online it would behoove you to ask yourself why you’re posting them online.  If you’ll be putting them online for highest image quality, that may lead you to a different service than the one that allows for the most uploads. 

Flickr and Photobucket

If you’ve heard of sites that just post pictures the odds are that you heard about it through one of these sites.  Both Flickr and Photobucket have many similarities in that they are free to sign up with and allow you a similar number of free photos to post.  After that maximum number of photos both sites will charge you a minimal annual fee, around $30 to post unlimited photos. 

The image quality on both sites is good.  However, after looking at a couple of accounts on both of them you can notice that the pictures are sharper and crisper on Flickr.  Photobucket also has advertisements and is more cumbersome when you want to comment on somebody’s photos.  Flickr is also easier to share photos, has a larger community of free image in their “Common Space” and uses Yahoo as one of their partners.

So why would somebody use Photobucket?  The initial layout of Photobucket is easier to navigate than Flickr.  However, once you get used to using Flickr, it’s much easier than Photobucket to use.  Combine that with how easy it is to find friends on Flickr and you understand why it’s the most commonly used photo sharing site. 

SmugMug and Phanfare

For the photo enthusiast you may want to go visit either SmugMug or Phanfare.  Both of these sites have a free trial, but their appearance, features and options let you know that they have high quality images.  Neither site is snooty about their good images; it’s obvious from the front page of both when you compare them to any other photo sharing site.

Once you sign up for either site they allow for unlimited file storage.  SmugMug has an image limit size of 12 MB or less while Phanfare has a bigger limit size of 20 MB.  Both sites have display customization to a point, but SmugMug goes a step forward and allows for custom CSS and JavaScript.

So if you’re a photographer who takes their images seriously which one should you use?  That all depends on you and thankfully both SmugMug and Phanfare offer free trials so you can test drive the layout and see which one works best for you.

Don’t forget about Facebook

You’re already using Facebook.  Now start posting more photos on Facebook.  Post those photos on your business page, more photos when you go to a convention, seminar or class.  The lower image quality that Facebook has when compared to any of the aforementioned sites is a non issue when compared to the traffic that Facebook will bring.  If you’re on the fence because some of your issues are more artistic then post them on a higher quality site in addition to Facebook, that way it’s win/win.

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