Too Many Photo Sites to Choose From

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I have been trying to find an online solution to display my photos that isn’t reliant on hosting the software myself.  If you go to //http://www.janella.com/photography you will see the photo gallery that is hosted on my site.

The software is provided by //Gallery and is a great piece of open source work.  My problem?  For one thing, I am getting a little time crunched on doing any patches that is required from time to time.  The second thing is I can’t upload the original image (due to lack of disk space).  This requires me to spend time resizing images for the web.  It becomes a pain in the butt after a while.

Looking for a Solution

There are many photo sites to choose from.  Most offer a way to make prints, such as //Ofoto, //Shutterfly, and //Snapfish.  These are very good sites, but they lack the customization I’m seeking.

I took at look at four solutions.  Here is how I rank them and their pros and cons – IMHO.

1.  //Flickr

The lowdown:

A free account gives you 20MB upload limit per month with no limit on storage space, but only 200 most recent photos will appear.  Older photos are not deleted they just don’t appear.

For a paid account it’s $24.95 per year.  This gives you 2GB bandwidth a month for uploading and all your photos appear.  This works out to be about $2.08 for unlimited storage!

My view:

The best of the bunch.  You can’t beat the price for a paid service.  The community, if you are seeking comments on photos you have taken or want to make comments on what you see, is very active.  It can get brutal at times, but overall it’s nice to see people interacting online.  I also like the ability to control permissions on a photo level.  The current knock against Flickr is the incredibly awkward way it handles organizing of sets.  The drag and drop UI for this needs to change and subsets need to be implemented.

2. // Zoto

The lowdown:

New kid on the block getting attention.  Free account gives you 2GB of storage with currently no upload limit. Paid accounts are a little pricey at $44.95 per year, so about $4 a month.  At this price it only gives you currently 5GB of storage.

My view:

The big positive for this service is the ability to create photo galleries easily.  Organization of photos is done by keyword (tags) as Flickr, with the mass tagging of photos a little easier than Flickr.  The big knock against this service, besides the price for a paid account,  is site outages in the last several weeks.  Not sure about leaving my photos there for the long run.

3. //Fotki.com

The lowdown:

Community photo site with easy to use tools for organization.  Photos can be organized by albums and subalbums as well as by date.  For a paid account at $50 per year you receive unlimited storage, FTP access to upload photos, and customization to suit your needs.

My view:

FTP was a very nice feature to have.  I found the password protection scheme awkward though.

4. //Smugmug

My view:

No free accounts here, but free to try for 7 days.  All paid accounts (starting at $29.95 to $99.95 a year) offer unlimited space for photos.  You can even order prints of photos from your gallery, as well as allowing friends and family do the same.

My view:

Easy to use interface for anyone. The albums I created were very attractive.  The big point I didn’t not like was that photo albums that I had password protected or private was searchable through Google for some reason.  I’ve read on Smugmug’s message boards that this is a known issue and they are working to remedy this problem.  If they solved this issue, this would rank as my #2 out of the four services I’ve looked at.

So for now it seems //Flickr, in my opinion, is the place to be.

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