I’ve been pondering the “which photosharing site is best?” question a lot recently. All of the ones that I’ve tried have their advantages and their drawbacks, and I’ve tried quite a few of them.
Rather than take you through the list of all of the sites that I’ve gone through, I figured I’d list the sites that I like the most and why I like them.
You could argue that flickr is the grand daddy of all photo sharing sites. The thing that I like about Flickr, is that it has SEO juice and that it lets you create sets of your photos. It has some neat social features, but the site navigation is a bit clunky, and I don’t think that Yahoo! has spent any time or money working on the UI of the site since they bought it way back when.
Pros: It’s probably the oldest and biggest photosharing site. It’s well integrated with other services like Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Tumblr, etc. You can get stats on your views and no ads when you surf the site if you go pro for $25 for the year.
Cons: Clunky UI, clunky navigation, no special effects added to the photos, ho hum site design.
Probably has the prettiest photoviewer you’ll come across. They have taken great pains and invested a lot of money into making the way that your photos display on their site look the best they possibly can. The thing that I dislike the most about SmugMug, is that their site navigation is seriously clunky. It takes a lot of getting used to and you’ll spend a lot of time trying to remember how you got from one screen to another. My other favorite feature, is that SmugMug lets you sell your prints directly from your SmugMug site.
Pros: Great photo viewer, option to automatically watermark pictures as you upload them, lets you sell your prints directly through your SmugMug site and they handle the printing/shipping/billing for you for a nominal fee.
Cons: Clunky, clunky, clunky back end site navigation, expensive, not well integrated with other services.
Has some of the coolest effects aka filters, that you can add to your photos. Some people argue that the effects make the pictures ugly, but I think that’s just a matter of taste. Instagram allows you to follow other photographers, I should say iPhoneographers and is really well integrated with other sharing sites (like Flickr), but you can’t surf the Instagram site itself to find other photographers to follow. You can only find other people to follow on your iPhone. I should also mention, that their app only works on the iPhone, running iOS 3+. Instagram is currently free to use.
Pros: Free, great filters that you can apply to your photos, seemless integration with Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Drop Box etc. Saves a copy of the edited picture to your iPhone photo library.
Cons: Can’t navigate the instagram site itself to find people to follow, need to use third party services for printing, navigation, etc. Only works on the iPhone.
Picplz is no longer in business. (edited 12/20/2012)
Picplz, addresses most of the shortcomings of Instagram. You can navigate the picplz site from your computer which makes it really easy to find other photographers to follow. Picplz also has filters and other effects that you can apply to your photos, but they’re not as cool as the ones on Instagram. Like the other sites, picplz lets you share your photos with Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Drop Box and a few others.
Pros: Site is easy to navigate and well organized, has special filter effects that you can apply to your photos, well integrated with other sharing services. Big variety of artistic types and tastes. App works on iPhone, Android and even Blackberry phones. Currently free.
Cons: Effect filters aren’t as cool as the ones on Instagram. Because of the wide variety of photography styles, you may encounter some PG-13 and in some cases PG-17 photos on the site. Also, can’t print from the site nor embed your picplz page into another site.
There are many other photosharing sites out there, but these are the sites that I like and use the most.
Flickr is the only site that lets you post directly to your WordPress blog. None of the other sites offer that, although some provide an embed code that lets you embed your photostream into your website.
There are a few WordPress plugins that let you share your photos “auto-magically” from Instagram or Flickr to your blog, but not all plugins are created equal.
Each site has varying degrees of rights management for your photos. However, they all pretty much say something to the effect of you granting the site a perpetual, royalty free license and other scary words that you should talk to an attorney about if you have questions about what the language actually means.
The way that it was explained to me, I understand the language to mean that you give the site permission to display your photos to other users/visitors of the site regardless of what country the user/visitor lives in, regardless of the ISP that they (either the site or the visitor) uses and regardless of whatever other companies the site might contract with in the operation of their business.
Having said all of that, what photo sharing sites do you like?