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The Best Photo Sharing Sites

posted by Suzanne Kantra on July 12, 2011 in Cameras and Photography, Photo / Video Sharing, Guides & Reviews :: 24 comments

There are many ways to share your photos with friends and family today, including social networking sites, photo communities and sites that sell prints and photo crafts. The key is finding a site that suits your photo sharing needs and sticking with it.

If you're only looking to share your images with others online, you should go where your friends are, which often means social networking sites like Facebook. But if you want to archive your photos, make prints or create photo crafts and slideshows, you'll need a different type of photo sharing site. There are a bunch of them out there, so check out our picks to find the one that delivers what you need.

Photo Sharing Communities

If your focus is on sharing your photos with friends and strangers around the world, a community-centric sharing site will be a good place for you. These sites let you contribute your pictures to themed communities or create a space to collaborate with others. They can also function as a central clearinghouse for your photos, offering many different ways to get photos into or out of the site. Don’t get too carried away, though. 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
Flickr has some of the best online tools for organizing your photos, and has partnerships with Getty Images (if you want to sell your photos) and various printing services for getting your images on anything from business cards to coffee mugs. With a free Flickr account, you can upload 300MB 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 and you only have access to low-resolution versions of your files. With a Pro account ($24.95 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 (even ones you uploaded with your free account).

Google Picasa Web Albums
Picasa offers a large database of public images and video that can be searched not only by topic, but by location, whether there are people in the photo, even the camera model used. Add to this public database or share just with family and friends through Picasa Web Albums or Google+ . Free downloadable Picasa software provides editing tools and a great image organizer let you tag photo manually or using face recognition or automatic tagging. Picasa offers full-screen slide shows and HD video support. Free accounts get 1GB of storage and paid accounts start at $5 per year for 20GB (more pricing information here).

Photobucket
With unlimited photo storage, the ability to add fun special effects and competitions, Photobucket is a great place to discover and share photos. Upload from iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices and choose to share with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Windows Messenger. With a pro account ($24.95 per year), you can save high-resolution images and enjoy ad-free albums, among other benefits.

Print and Photo Craft Sites

The big print and photo craft sites are designed to sell you prints, albums, greeting cards, and other merchandise with your images printed on them. 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.

These sites also do a good job of letting you store and share your photos with friends and family. You can even get a customized look and feel on some sites (though you'll still see ads). Your photos here are private, only viewed by those you invite. So if you occasionally want something printed, but also want free online sharing of photos, albums and slideshows, these sites are the way to go.

Shutterfly
If showcasing your photos and videos is important, Shutterfly is the site for you. Its 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. Shutterfly also has one of the best and easiest photo book creation tools. 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 your iPhone, iPhoto or Adobe Photoshop Elements, and order a DVD of your entire account or individual photos (starts at $9.99 for 250 photos). Kodak Gallery also provides a fairly robust photo editing and organizing program for Windows and Macs called Kodak Easyshare. Free storage is limited to 2GB and you must spend $4.99 per year. For accounts over 2GB, the fee is $19.99 to maintain your account.

Snapfish
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. The site also lets you create great custom slideshows set to music, called Snapshows, and establish group albums called Group Rooms. Free photo storage is unlimited, but to maintain your account you must make one purchase per year, which can be as low as $0.09 (for one print). You can also upload unlimited videos for $24.99 per year.

SeeHere
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).

Sites for Photo Enthusiasts

If you’re a photo enthusiast, you’ll want to head over to a paid service that will give you the most control over sharing and storing your photos. There you can create beautiful custom albums with no advertising and a custom Web address. The services have smartphone apps for managing your photos, as well as editing and uploading mobile photos on the fly.

You can use paid sites to reliably back up full resolution versions of your photos. Plus they enable you to allow friends to download the full-resolution version of your images. And if you’re a pro, you can easily create a shop to sell your photos.

SmugMug
With searchable photo galleries, photo contests and communities, SmugMug is geared toward photo enthusiasts who want to showcase their work. Choose from 50 free, templates or step up from a standard membership ($40 per year) to a power membership ($60 per year) for a completely custom look without SmugMug logos and HD video sharing. Beyond the unlimited storage of JPG, GIF and PNG files that are free with your subscription, you can back up any type of file for $0.14 per GB per month.

Phanfare
We love Phanfare’s full-screen slideshows that you can create with your own music from iTunes, the ability to create a drop box for friends to upload photos to add to your albums and the service’s easy integration with FrameChannel, for syncing with digital photo frames, and Eye-Fi, for automatic wireless image transfer. Phanfare provides image editing tools for rotating, cropping and correcting exposure and color issues—and the ability to rollback your changes or even undelete photos. $99 per year for unlimited storage.
 

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Discussion loading

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It should be noted that

From Mike Stenger on July 12, 2011 :: 12:23 pm

It should be noted that photos up to 2048 x 2048 pixels and videos up to 15 minutes won’t count towards your free storage in Picasa.

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You cannot go wrong with

From ClistyB on July 12, 2011 :: 1:55 pm

You cannot go wrong with Smugmug. They have unbeatable customer service ‘heroes’ and they always want to know how to better their service. They even have free monthly photo seminars in many areas for the casual all the way to the pro photogs.
Easy UI.

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Facebook Dominates, But Limited

From Kristy Holch on July 12, 2011 :: 6:12 pm

I’m an avid user of several of these sites, making annual family calendars, sending holiday cards, making prints for keepsakes and gifts, and the occasional photo book. 

But there is a trend afoot, and as an industry watcher, I notice that even I’m part of it: photos are becoming more of a transient in-the-moment experience, versus a high-value archival treasure to preserve.  It is so easy to take and share photos, that we are losing the sense of preciousness for each one.

Which brings up Facebook, as mentioned above. Facebook has catapulted into the leadership position for photo sharing, without even trying to be a photo sharing site.  Only now is Facebook starting to pay attention to photos, which will ultimately be a good thing for consumers.  Currently, it stores only enough resolution to produce a 4x6 print, and makes no promises about storing your photos forever. 

So, just a reminder, Facebook is not to be relied upon as a storage method.  We’ll be watching closely to see if Facebook moves beyond just social sharing of photos, toward stewardship of memories. Not likely anytime soon, but perhaps inevitable, since the photos shared there have value that can be monetized down the road.  And that’s actually a good thing!

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Photobucket Tags

From Rick M. on January 05, 2012 :: 10:56 pm

Even though you can upload an unlimited number of photos you are limited to a total of 3,000 tags at Photobucket. I needed unlimited tags so I’m in the middle of switching to a different site.

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Actually, I have view all

From Wayne on October 28, 2011 :: 11:41 pm

Actually, I have view all of these sites and these are the best from my viewpoint. For viewing, I wouldn’t use high pixels if my photos are art or commercial worthy. Of course, something I have learned recently and most of my collection on facebook are of poor quality or personal like family, friends and pets so I never bother creating a smaller file size duplicate.

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Best Way to Share Full Size Pics for Printing

From Jason on November 23, 2011 :: 10:18 pm

Great info! If you’re looking for an easy way to share full size pics try dropbox. It’s totally free and it let’s you share full size pictures that family and friends can print. All you do is put the pics you want to share in dropbox folder on your computer. Use my link to sign up and you’ll get an extra 250 MB in free storage. Enjoy!
http://db.tt/w7eyfFN6

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No word on customization

From Nick on November 24, 2011 :: 4:56 pm

I am a huge fan of album customization like the use of hemes, styles, colors etc. only few services offer a good level of cusotmization.

My vote goes to what I think are the best customizable services : http:// http://www.smugmug.com, http://www.zenfolio.com and http://www.bluemelon.com

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They all cost money

From Helen on March 31, 2012 :: 4:03 pm

Those 3 you mentioned are not free, I need a free site…

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Gallery2 platform

From steve caturan on December 24, 2011 :: 6:04 pm

I’d like to suggest a volunteer-driven, free service at https://pixi.me/ - we use the open-source Gallery2 platform from http://gallery.sf.net/ - supports full HTTPS, password protection, WebDAV uploading, no ads, hotlinking and much more! We don’t have an fancy mobile app or anything like that, but if you want a basic photo sharing service that works, give us a spin.

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Electronic Sharing

From Connie Buskness on January 22, 2012 :: 11:12 pm

The latest app for electronic sharing is Linea, and I LOVE it!  There is an iPad, iPhone and desktop interface that allows users to add the photos they would like to share.  Then the user invites guest to join the line (album) - amazing mosaic view for telling the story electronically and comments can be attached to each picture.  Also, anyone invited to the line can export the full size photo which is great for families, friends, sports, etc.  I understand this is not a perfect option for a commercial photographer or artist.  I would love anyone’s feedback.  So far, my kids, husband and family love the electronic albums!
Our website, http://www.OrganizedMovingConnection.com

Check out our blog where I have reviewed Linea

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What do you suggest?

From Betho on February 10, 2012 :: 5:45 pm

I’m a new user of photo storage, photo sharing and editing [color correcting, sharpening, etc]. In your opinion, what is the best site that captures all three of these desires?
Thank you!

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Easiest photo sharing

From John on February 29, 2012 :: 11:49 pm

I always use pikture.net because it’s so easy.

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Simple, free and unlimited

From matt6matt on April 22, 2012 :: 1:01 pm

I use http://inmyphotofolder.com – Its very simple and free – and the upload has a ‘smart sync’ – which eliminates the hassle maintaining an online collection of pictures.

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photorankr-another nice one

From scott on May 13, 2012 :: 7:06 pm

Another great one is http://photorankr.com. You can sell photos for free, and buying photos is really easy since you just download them straight from the site, no hassle. You also get to maintain your own copyright. No limits to the storage size or anything either. I think where it kind of beats the others is it is also a social network. You can follow other photographers and everyone has their own “Photostream” to view what is going on around the site.

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Instant / Event Photo Sharing with others from that event

From Scott on July 18, 2012 :: 12:51 am

I am looking for a good photo sharing site for sharing photos/videos with others who were at the same event - weekend trip, evening out, etc. - esentially and on-fly-group that all can post photos/videos with the others in that group being able to view/download items from the others.

I just tried this with http://www.zingzang.com but was notified the next day that they are shutting down the site in a few months.  There is another site http://www.pinweel.com/home I was going to try but wanted to see if anyone had another suggestion for this particular need?

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Scott, did you ever find

From Christina on January 08, 2013 :: 3:02 am

Scott, did you ever find a site to do what you were looking for? I am in a similar situation, have a group of travelers who want to upload full resolution photos to a shared site and be able to download full resolution photos as well of our trip together. Please share what you found.

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Did somebody hear about this photo website?

From Dario on January 17, 2014 :: 8:26 am

I have an account on 500px. I started to use http://www.photocompetitor.com in the last 2 weeks too. Someone is familiar with this page? And can I really obtain actual financial benefits from my photographic portfolio?

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Looks like a bad deal

From Josh Kirschner on January 17, 2014 :: 1:18 pm

First off, you have to pay to be a member of the site in the hope that you may get “points” from voting that will be enough to pay off your membership plus provide cash (which I bet it won’t). In fact it can’t for the majority of members based on how the voting program is set up.

Second, you are giving IP rights to your photos to that site, so they are essentially getting your photos for free (actually, you’re giving them rights and paying them money - a bad combo).

If you have a payment or copyright issue, this site is based in Poland - good luck getting that resolved.

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Re: Looks like a bad deal

From Arthur on January 27, 2014 :: 6:29 am

To Josh Kirschner.
If you knew what measures are required with regards to copyrights in order to be able to operate on an international level and in compliance with law you would not be writing such things. Do you honestly think our Terms and Conditions are so much different to the Terms and Conditions of ie. 500px or Facebook in this regard?

Second of all, why you suggest that we will not pay the earned money. Have you met anyone who we have not paid what they had earned? I recommend you to get familiar with our business model: http://photocompetitor.com/how-it-works and you will realize that we have NO interest in not exchanging points for anyone.

The essence of our portal is not to receive but above all to give. Photocompetitor is not a Perpetuum Mobile. Some of the users will earn money on the portal, others will break even. Some users will however end up as they would on a typical paid portal (if their photos keep receiving worse opinions). But through this-probably the most objective way of assessing-surely everyone will find out how their photos are really perceived by others. You are welcome to test our portal first before you express your biased opinions on this website.

P.S. Of couse, for all of you who are reading this message- feel invited to subscribe for our trial version and create your own opinions about our photographic initiative.

Arthur Malinowski
Photocompetitor.com

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Let me break it down for our readers

From Josh Kirschner on January 27, 2014 :: 1:16 pm

Starting with costs. Your service has a rather significant monthly membership fee. At the cheapest level, annual membership is $130. For that amount, you get a platry upload limit of 50 photos a week, at a maximum size of 1.5MB each. So if you’re looking for photo storage, your site is a bad deal.

As far as making money, each week membership buys 30 “voting points”. However, you need 60 voting points from other members just to get a free week of service and cover your costs, before you can even start to think about earning any real money. So, in aggregate, this will be a money losing proposition for your members. I see parallels here between what you’re doing and penny auction sites. A complicated point system obscures the fact that while it is possible to get a deal, most people won’t.

There’s no bias here. I have nothing personal against your site. I just read your terms and did the analysis.

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Re: Let me break it down for our readers

From Arthur on January 28, 2014 :: 7:09 am

I think you did not understand main idea of this website. As I mentioned earlier, Photocompetitor is not a financial, photographic Perpetuum Mobile. There is not photo storage also. This is a photo community where you can exibit your photos, but every vote cast for a photo has real value. In my opinion it’s the most objective and fair way to evaluate - you consider every vote before actually casting it, and each member of the community votes sensibly.

Photocompetitor is not for everyone. It has been designed for photographers who like to present their works but are also slightly bored with receiving almost meaningless praises or opinions- something quite characteristic of other photo websites. We just noticed that assessing photos with insignificant votes/points which can be distributed without restraint, slowly distorts the concept of photography evaluating.

I’m inviting you honestly, Josh, to check it out. Greetings, Arthur

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Mejuba will be closing down :-(

From Andrea on March 02, 2014 :: 1:18 pm

I just received this email from Mejuba for my account:

Mejuba will be closing down :-(
We have made the decision to discontinue the Mejuba service as of April 1, 2014.
Naturally, we are committed to helping you download all of your content and make the
experience as seamless as possible.
If you are a Mejuba member, you will have until April 1 to download your content before
the web service will be discontinued and won’t be accessible any longer.
If you are an investor or a private person, who want to develop Mejuba further by adding
advertising and subscription payment please contact us here.
To download your content:
•Visit http://www.mejuba.com from your personal computer
•Login to your Mejuba account
•Click Albums, Actions and select Download for download all you files
  or select individual albums
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Perhaps we can spread the word and see if an open source/volunteer initiative could save this platform?

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mejuba has screwed me over

From tropics on September 23, 2014 :: 2:58 pm

According to our tests the site mejuba.com is offline!

site has been down since last weekend. I’ve checked today and is still down. Site screwed me over I had a lot of photos uploaded there.

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I hate mejuba

From Laszlo on September 25, 2014 :: 7:18 am

It is down without any notice. There is no information about it on the net. I had a lot of family photos on it :-( (fortunately most of them available on other sites)

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