Beating the post summer blues is tricky. The tan starts to fade, the work inbox starts to fill up and frankly, your last holiday seems like a lifetime ago, already! So, as you sit at your desk and mourn this sorry state of affairs – you thumb through your photos from your happy summer. At least that was how it was in the 90s.
Now, most of us log onto facebook and click through our photos and everybody else’s photo albums in a final bid at escaping the ennui of daily routine. Sharing photos is one of the key reasosn that the social networking sites really took off. However, lots of my friends have resisted the facebook revolution and I still like to share photos with them. And, as with everything, the initial adoration of FB has begun to tarnish and increasingly I am hearing grumbles about the lack of privacy and especially the “tagging” in photos. So if you want to “detag” from the facebook phenomenon but still share you photos, what options are there? Plenty.
I have spent quite a lot of this week creating new accounts on photosharing websites to give you the lowdown. My ultimate requirements have been that the site is free (most have pro options, but I think if you have got that far then you probably don’t need my advice), simple to upload and simple to share photos. These are my favourites:
The joy of Picasa, is the sheer simplicity of it. I think I could teach Great Aunt Mabel how to make her very own web album in under five minutes. It really does take the faf out of photosharing. The site runs you through the upload and then you simply enter the email addresses of the people you want to receive the photos. They don’t have to sign up or anything – simply share the photos and the happy memories.
1 GB of free storage.
Photobucket, is not the prettiest of websites. However, its functionality is great. You can simply email photographs to your photobucket account and they will be uploaded, from my experience really, really quickly. This is brilliant! So if you simple send an email with attachments they are automatically added to a web album. Photobucket also enables you to upload your photos and then share them via facebook ( you can’t escape it completely!), blogsites, email or twitter. The options are endless. There is a chance that the other sites also offer this level of functionality – but if they do, it wasn’t obvious to me!
Flikr was one of the first photo sharing sites. Created in 2002 by Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield, it is really popular. You will likely be able to hook up with some of your friends who are already on there. The public photos you can find on Flickr are second to none and the sheer creativity is mindboggling. However, the sharing aspect is more complicated. You cannot simply send an email; people have to sign up to Flickr if they want to see your photos, or they can log onto a public “photostream” , or on a blog, but that means there is no privacy at all. This is a huge drawback – I want to click and send or, vice versa, click and receive.
That said, the privacy settings, once you are signed in, are simple (public, family, friends or no one). I don’t feel a the barrage of advertising that I do on some sites – so, I do like the feel of flickr.
2 videos and 100MB of photos per calendar month.
You can send a link to a slide show of your photos to your family and friends or even embed a slide show from photo box in your blog. Once you have sent the link to family and friends they can easily order their own prints. Perfect. However, a total of 200MB for sharing is really not very much and won’t keep the snappy happy amongst us happy for very long. There are others like Photobox, that focus more on the selling of products (ranging from prints, to photobooks to aprons and mugs etc.). My experience has only been uploading and sharing images so the prices and the quality of these other sites varies but so you can explore yourself, some other options are: Mypix, Snapfish
200MB for sharing but seemingly unlimited for printing
Extrafilm was great but not because it made sharing the photos particularly easy. It appears you can only share your images with people who also have an extrafilm account. However, the photos were really simple to upload and once uploaded they were really easy to edit (only basic editing: rotate, crop, get rid of red-eye, change the colour). This for me was a great feature, because that is the kind of tedious correction I will never get round to doing unless someone hands it to me on a plate – and Extrafilm does just that!
There is no obvious limit on the site.
There is a reason why I have prioritised the photo sharing facility in my look at the websites. This is because to really, really be sure that you keep you photographs safe, you should back them up on your computer and on an external hard drive. These sites are businesses and like all businesses their future can be uncertain. For example I logged onto “Bubbleshare” to be told that the site will close november 2009.
It is a competitive market out there, selling everything from prints to pinnies with pictures on them – and not all of the sites will survive. So keep you photos safe on your computer in digital form – or use one of these sites to get cheap prints and then you can thumb through you holiday snaps just like you did in the 90s.