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Choosing the Best Photo Sharing Site

posted by on July 12, 2010 in Cameras and Photography, Photo / Video Sharing :: 20 comments

By Kristy Holch

It’s never been easier to capture beautiful images that will serve as memories for years to come. But, it’s also become increasingly difficult to manage your photos without becoming overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are many online photo sites to help you manage your stockpile more effectively. The key is to select the type of site the best suits your sharing needs. Your choice depends on your priorities. Here are the types of photo sharing services available and our picks for each.

Social Networking

These sites are all about connecting with people, not about printing photos or preserving memories for posterity. Facebook is the leader here, with MySpace not far behind. Photos are not the main feature, just an adjunct to the networking. Don’t go here for archiving memories, printing photos or sharing robust slideshows — this is where you post last night’s party photos! You'll want to pick the site where you have the most "friends."

Prints and Photo Crafts

These sites are set up to get you to buy prints, albums, greeting cards, and other merchandise with your images printed on them–and the pages are laid out accordingly. You'll see lots of ads to entice you to buy photo crafts and buttons to order prints. Ordering is easy online and you can pick up at a local retail chain, or have photos mailed to you.

But don’t let the name fool you, these sites excel at much more than printing. To attract more users to the profit-generating print features, they offer robust free online sharing and album features, and they’re also expanding their capabilities to include aspects of social networking. Most let you send your photos to a Facebook wall, upload photos from a cellphone and add videos.

Sharing online albums with friends and family is free and you can even customize the look and feel on some sites (though you'll still see ads). Your photos here are private, only viewed by those you invite.

Theses sites are the way to go if you occasionally want something printed, but also want free online sharing of photos, albums and slideshows.

If showcasing your photos is important, Shutterfly is the site for you. Its Site Share section lets you create a custom photo sharing site (with its own Web address) where you can upload photos and videos, share photo crafts you've made on the site, share journal entries and family calendar information and create polls, among other features. You can also allow others to add photos and comments, which makes it great for group collaboration and events.There is no minimum annual purchase required for Shutterfly to continue storing your photos and there's unlimited storage.

Kodak Gallery
If you're looking for online photo backup, Kodak Gallery delivers. You can download individual photos at full resolution for free, upload photos from the iPhone and order a CD of your entire account (although, there’s no picking and choosing: $40/1000 photos). Free storage is limited to 2GB and you must spend $5 per year. For accounts over 2GB, the fee is $20 to maintain your account.

The breadth of options for making prints makes this site stand out. In addition to the photos you upload, you can print from your and your friends' Facebook albums with the Snapfish Facebook app and even send in physical film rolls for digital development. Photo storage is unlimited, but but to maintain your account you must make one purchase per year, which can be as low as $0.09 (for one print).

Photo crafters should look no further than SeeHere. Like other sites, there are templates you can choose to create your craft, but SeeHere then gives you the flexibility and tools to change literally every element of the templates so you can create truly one-of-a-kind crafts. Photo storage is unlimited, but to maintain your account you must make one purchase per year, which can be as low as $0.12 (for one print). 


If you’re really into your hobby, whether it’s photography, rock & roll or cross stitch, and you like to share photos with friends and strangers around the world, a Community site is for you. These sites allow you to collaborate with others on collecting and sharing photos.They can also function as a central clearinghouse for your photos, offering many different ways to get photos into or out of the site. By giving each image a unique URL, they let you serve up photos easily to other sites, such eBay, MySpace or Craigslist. Expect total storage and file-size limitations on free memberships–as little as 1MB per file for some, which means you'll have to resize images before you upload them. 

Flickr has some of the best tools for organizing your photos, and has partnerships with Getty Images (if you want to sell your photos) and various printing services (like Moo), for getting your images on anything from business cards to coffee mugs. With a free Flickr account, you can upload 100MB of photos and two videos per month (90 seconds and 150MB for each video), but only the most recent 200 images will appear in your list of photos. With a Pro account ($25 per year), you can upload an unlimited number of photos (up to 20MB each) and HD videos (90 seconds and up to 500MB in size), access all of your files and download full-resolution copies.

Google Picasa Web Albums
Picasa offers searchable public images and full resolution downloads (although full-resolution uploads are not the default). Free downloadable Picasa software provides editing tools and a nifty image organizer on the desktop, including the ability to tag images for easy retrieval later. Picasa offers full-screen slide shows and video support. Free accounts get 1GB of storage and paid accounts start at $5 per year for 20GB (more pricing information here).

Photo Enthusiast

If you want the most control over sharing and storing your photos, head to one of these sites, where your paid membership will be well worth the price. These sites allow you to customize the look of your albums, have no advertising and include custom Web addresses. They also offer links to other sites for prints, merchandise, archive DVDs and many other connections for importing or exporting. Your membership level determines the storage space and customization available. Enthusiast sites are currently the only ones can be reliably used to back up your photos, plus they enable you to allow friends to download the full-resolution version of your images; saving you from having to burn CDs or email packets of images to groups of people from the wedding weekend.

This site takes sharing up a notch with the ability to create slideshows with your own music from iTunes, determine who sees which photos and whether they can download them, create a drop box for friends to upload photos for your approval and upload directly into Flickr and Facebook photo albums. Phanfare also takes care to preserve your original photos, so if you make edits using the Phanfare tools, you can always revert back to the original at any time. $99 per year for unlimited storage.

SmugMug leans toward the photo hobbyist, with communities, searchable galleries and photo contests. You can create a completely custom sharing site that doesn't have SmugMug name on it and is ad-free. And it's also one of the best HD video sharing services out there, with fast uploads and high-quality playback. A standard membership ($40 per year) delivers all the photo features non-pros need. You'll need to step up to the Power level ($60 per year) for HD video sharing.

Discussion loading


I love They

From Jim on July 15, 2010 :: 12:24 pm

I love  They have monthly contests, reviews, weekly newsletters, on line classes, galleries and so much more.



I use flickr but Im

From Zack on July 15, 2010 :: 2:34 pm

I use flickr but Im seriously looking at smugmug right now.

By the way, snapfish is expand into videos with their recent acquisition of motionbox.

and MB’s customers are not happy. just look at their facebook page:



what about a post on

From zhack on July 15, 2010 :: 2:36 pm

what about a post on alternatives to motionbox?



@zhack Good idea. We'll get

From Suzanne Kantra on July 15, 2010 :: 3:50 pm

@zhack Good idea. We’ll get on it. In the meantime, can you tell me what features you found most useful about Motionbox?



I would love it if

From Victor Chung on July 30, 2010 :: 12:12 am

I would love it if your staff reviewed our photo sharing site – We think it is the easiest way to send and share your photos with friends and family. Unlike all the sites listed here, swapMYpix does not require membership, accounts to manage, or software to download. It also allows people to not just view your photos but also download them too. You just select your photos, upload, and send. It’s that easy.

What category would swapMYpix fall under? I think there are people out there that simply want to send their photos to others to view and download. Imagine going on a vacation with several friends and everyone is taking pictures.  Or throwing a celebration and everyone is taking photos.  You will want copies of everyone’s photos. What options are out there?  Email is out of the question when you are talking about a lot of photos.  Social networks resize images. That’s where comes in.  There is no better way to send photos back and forth.  Please check it out and judge for yourself.  Thanks!



Victor,I looked at SwapMyPix and

From Jeff W. on August 03, 2010 :: 3:06 am


I looked at SwapMyPix and found:

“We upload your pictures to a temporary
and secure server for one month (30 days)”

It is a great concept for exchanging photos, but I would like to have space to store photos long term. Maybe that is too much to ask, especially for free. ??




I think Mejuba IS the

From Pete Vachevski on August 04, 2010 :: 4:37 am

I think Mejuba IS the worlds best!
Unlimited storage for both videos and pictures and
it’s completly free. No monthly limits or quotas. You can upload a whooping 1GB PER upload!
Photos and videos are stored in their original formats and sizes and are kept unmodified for backup.
I also like that you can geo-tag your stuff so it shows up on a map. And you can search for stuff on
the map – that’s cool!. Even Google Street View is now implemented - eat that Flickr and Photobucket!!! Already geotagged photos are automatically mapped when uploading.
As the only site i know of it uses a Windows Explorer like navigation with folders – super easy to
use – even has drag and drop!.
It’s free, fast, nice design as SO much better than Flickr and Photobucket.



Thank you for checking out

From Victor Chung on August 04, 2010 :: 8:16 am

Thank you for checking out

We hear your concerns over the storage limitation. Thank you for the feedback.  Since our site does not require membership, a person can keep coming back to upload and send photos as many times as they like. We limited each upload to 250 MB to make sure things are moving fast for the person who is uploading the photos and for those who will be viewing and downloading them. If you have more than 250MB of photos to send and share, you can easily do another upload and share away.

Again, thanks for checking out  We think it is the easiest way to send and share your photos. We are always open to feedback, so feel free to connect with us on our forum - or our Facebook page -!/pages/swapMYpix/174747247961?ref=sgm



I love this unknown (as

From Mehba on August 06, 2010 :: 10:54 am

I love this unknown (as far as I can tell) site

None of my friends have heard it. But I was pleasantly shocked it had two most important things I was looking for:
1) a way to compare the impact of how various camera settings I used had on the pictures—since I am seriously pursuing a career in photography.
2) Annotate the photo graphs with my comments so that I can use it to sharpen [pun intended] my shooting skills.

I didn’t care much for the unlimited storage, or their free prints.

But sharing was easy—especially the option to share where my friends did not have to signup to see them!

When I emailed their support, I was in for another pleasant surprise: that they are going have a iPhone friendly interface by Sept 2010! Wow. I can just upload from my iPhone—although I do not use iPhone for my serious photography. But it helps me later to “manually geo-tag” the photos since my camera does not have a built-in geo-tagging.

One another thing is ads! I know you need to live with it since most sites depend on it to stay in business. But this one DOES NOT serve up ads and does not sneak in ad ware or cookies. That is really important for me. Again, I have no idea if they will continue to be ad free.

Depending on what you need this site may be something you will fall in love too.



I mostly agree with Mehba,

From Keith on August 17, 2010 :: 3:49 pm

I mostly agree with Mehba, but not 100%.

My biggest complains are: there is no way I can order prints from them. Yes, I can store, share, add comments, compare technical aspects of each shot with others, publicize (what they call promote) any album at a click of a button etc.

But, when it comes to ordering print, I had to download the photo(s), or the entire album and send it to my printer (i.e. print service provider).

I loved their slideshow feature—I like how I can increase and decrease the speed of the show and when I move the mouse (because I wanted to spend more time looking at the pictures) the slideshow freezes until couple seconds after I stop moving the mouse.

Also, I like how there is no “close” button when viewing a full size photo. I could click anywhere, and I am back to where I was.

Anyway… does not have ALL I want, but still a good one.



Another free photo sharing site

From Lynn on August 22, 2010 :: 4:28 pm

Another free photo sharing site is  The best thing I like about the site is its privacy settings. I don’t want to share my photos for the whole world to see. It is also a free service and very simple to use. I don’t need any fancy features which only confuses people most of the time anyway.



You might also want to

From Tim on September 05, 2010 :: 3:07 am

You might also want to check out

I am using the free account and am simply loving it!



I think one important feature

From Jennifer Harper on September 10, 2010 :: 10:43 pm

I think one important feature that distinguishes some sites from others is the ability to use an eye fi card to wirelessly upload photos. I do not enjoy having to “manage” my photo collection, so having to plug in my camera to my computer and manually upload photos and then manually upload the photos to a website is a definite deal breaker for me. I know eye fi will continue to make more websites compatible with its cards, but why choose one that doesn’t have that compatibility when there are so many that do?



if you want to try

From steve caturan on October 20, 2010 :: 5:21 am

if you want to try something different from the services mentioned on this article, have a look at – we use Gallery, the open source web based photo album organizer. Have a secondary backup location for all your photos or just have more control/privacy with them using the Gallery. If you have web hosting somewhere, take a peek at your control panel – you’ll mostly likely see a 1-click installer for it.


gravatar - Give it a try

From Chris Nut on March 25, 2011 :: 3:09 pm

I suggest you to try
Everyone has unlimited space, and it’s free!



i use this one

From sara cook on July 12, 2011 :: 8:40 pm

There is one I use for ebay allot and it works well for me here it is



From Laura Patterson on September 23, 2011 :: 9:57 am

I simply love Mejuba the best. From what I know Mejuba ( is THE only site that offers free and unrestricted uploads of videos and pictures without ANY restrictions on file size, video length or monthly traffic. And uploads your originals. No monthly limits or quotas. You can upload 1GB per upload. Pictures and videos are stored in their original formats and are kept unmodified for backup. I also like that you can geo-tag your stuff so it shows up on a map. And you can search for stuff on the map – that’s cool! Even Google Street View is now implemented - eat that Youtube, Vimeo etc!!! As the only site I know of it uses a Windows Explorer like navigation with folders – super easy to use – even has drag and drop! It’s free, fast, nice design as SO much better than the other video sites. Still missing a few features - but I am sure they will be added later.



Dreamy Reflections

From Shawn on March 17, 2012 :: 3:58 pm

Does anyone else have a account? I put a boatload of photos there about 8 months ago and I haven’t been able to load the site for a couple weeks now. I’m beginning to think that it was a fraudulent site. It was free and offered unlimited storage, but it is still an annoying situation. Has anyone else had a similar experience?



Answering Shawn

From Anderson K on May 31, 2012 :: 10:05 pm

Hi Shawn,

I too experienced it a couple of days. When I emailed them, they mentioned they indeed had an issue at their data-storage facility. Ever since, I am able to use it with no issues and the site is super fast as ever.

Are you still seeing the issue? At least I am not, and my friends are not seeing it either.




A GREAT Photo Share site

From matt6matt on August 23, 2012 :: 12:08 am

These sites have great features but are all too busy. I use – It’s free and simple. No limit to number of Photos or Folders. Their PhotoSync application takes care of uploading pictures and folders and it keeps your online Photos in Sync with your Photo collection on your computer. Add new folders, pictures, resize some, delete some, rotate others and the photosync sorts out what needs to be uploaded. The PhotoSync app works on PC and MAC. Add a list of friends e-mail addresses to your account and when you Sync up your photo collection - they will get an e-mail with list of your new Photo Folders.


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