A few years ago, I heard someone say Digital Cameras are great but they never see the pictures that people take like they did when they had prints. When I thought about this I realized that it was true.
I take a lot of digital photos myself and in the past have been publishing to my own web sites and displaying them using server software called Gallery 2. But what if you don’t have your own web site?
I use three public sites for publishing and sharing my photos now. Picasaweb, Flickr and Smugmug. Here is some info on these three Photo sharing sites
Picasaweb http://picasaweb.google.com. Picasaweb is a free Photo sharing site from Google. You can make your Albums and photos public or private. They give you 1 GB of free storage space and you have the option to buy more (1 GB equates to around 4000 pictures). You can also download Picasa photo software which allows you to organize edit and post all pictures in your collections.
One of the things I don’t like about Picasaweb however is the way albums are displayed. All of the public albums are displayed on a single page so if you have lots of albums it can take a while to load the page.
You can see my picasaweb gallery at http://picasaweb.google.com/srkennedy.
Flickr http://www.flickr.com. Flickr is a free photo sharing site brought to you by Yahoo. Flickr has gotten very popular over the last few years. They offer both free accounts and Pro accounts. Free accounts do have some limits, there is advertising, as well as a 100MB upload limit per month. You are also limited in creating collections and sets. A Pro account that has all of the limits and advertising removed costs 25.00 USD per year (well worth it in my opinion).
Again you can control who has access to your photos, add keyword tags to make your photos searchable, edit your photos online and your visitors can view the photos in a variety of photo sizes. Visitors can also add comments to your photos.
Something fairly new with Flickr is that Pro users can now also upload short videos to the site.
Flickr is a considered to be a community site. You can add your friends sites to your account and see whenever they upload new photos, as well there are thousands of groups that you can join that have photo pools where you can add your photos and discussion groups where you can ask questions related to the group and photos.
Uploading photos is easy as you can use the free Flickr uploader software or many photo editing software packages will allow you to upload directly to Flickr from the application. I have a free plug in for Adobe Lightroom 1.3 and greater that allows me to upload directly to Flickr.
One of the problems that I have run into with Flickr is that images can easily be used by others. When you upload a photo you can choose the type of license that the photo is uploaded with. This license can be private, public or using creative commons you can select different licensing terms. However there is no real way (other than making images private) that you can protect your images. I have used Flickr to find photos for my kids school projects and downloaded them (yes I only selected public images). With this shortfall Flickr is not a good choice for professional photographers.
Flickr also offers stats so you can see how many times your photos are viewed.
All in all I really like Flickr and will continue with my own Pro account for a while. If you want to see my photos please visit http://www.flickr.com/sysguy
Smugmug http://www.smugmug.com . I found Smugmug via the discussion groups on Flickr. It is a site that a lot of professional photographers use to display images for their clients as well as to sell their photographs. Smugmug does not have any free accounts but they do offer three levels of accounts, Standard, Poweruser and Pro however they do offer a two week free trial. One of the big reasons I like Smugmug is the way that they display photographs for your visitors. When you upload photos they create a flash based web gallery with thumbnails of your images and when your visitor moves through the thumbnails the selected photo appears in a larger window beside the gallery. Your visitor can also click on the photo and choose several sizes of the photo to view. As with the other sites your visitors can also view a slideshow of your photos (or you can control what and how they see).
The Standard accounts offer unlimited storage, the ability to order backup DVDs, your visitors can order prints, personalization of your galleries, the ability to hide your galleries and more. A Standard account costs 39.95 USD per year. Power Users accounts (what I have) for 59.95 USD/year, give the same features as the standard accounts, plus the ability to customize more using headers and footers, add DVD quality videos, use your own domain names and right click protect your images so they can’t be downloaded if you choose. Pro accounts (149.95 USD/year) include all of the features of the Standard and Pro Accounts as well as the ability to set your own pricing for your prints (make some money), sell digital downloads, watermark your images, create guest upload passwords and offer more protection features. If you are interested in getting a Smugmug account you can save 5.00 using my coupon code (XUgaKlvXVMo0Y), just enter this in the referred by field in the sign up. Alternatively you can add use my email address if you know it.
There are also other specials, if you are a Flickr user you can save 50% on the first year by moving your account over as well.
Smugmug gives you the ability to add keywords and captions to your photos and edit them on line. Your visitors can add comments and rate your photos as well as order prints and gifts.
Again Smugmug has all kids of tools that you can use to upload your photos and you can upload directly from several photo editing applications. I have a plug in that I use from Adobe Lightroom 1.3 to upload directly.
Privacy is very easy on Smugmug as you can create Smugislands that protect your galleries from search engines and other users stumbling across it. In addition you can password protect your galleries as well. This is one of the reasons I chose Smugmug as I have an assignment coming up that will allow me to post the images privately in an unlisted gallery (the viewers will need the exact url to see the gallery) and I can also password protect the gallery.
Smugmug also is a community based site so you can add friends or families accounts. Your visitors can also get an RSS feed of your galleries and they can view any uploaded photos in their RSS reader.
Smugmug’s stats can show you how often an image has been viewed and in what sizes.
At first I found Smugmug a little difficult to figure out, but after playing a little bit I am getting more comfortable with it.
If you want to see what I have dome with Smugmug visit my site at http://www.sysguyphotography.com
If you are interested in becoming a Smugmugger please be sure to use my coupon code, XUgaKlvXVMo0Y to save 5.00 off your account.