What You Need To Know about Photo Sharing Sites

Choosing a photo-sharing site is an important decision, whether your interest in photography is strictly business, on the level of enthusiast, or limited to uploading pictures from your smartphone. These sites are all capable of providing exposure to your work, and many offer password protection, batch upload services, and enough storage space to keep you snapping. Read on to find out which photo-sharing site is right for you.

Sharing Photos On Your Terms

Privacy is imperative when it comes to posting your photos to the cloud, which is why virtually every photo site offers to password-protect your account so you're the only one who can add or remove images to or from your galleries. Most basic services let you share one image at a time on the social network of your choice or designate galleries as public. Some of the more advanced features you'll come across include the ability to create a Web page or blog for your images. Yahoo!'s Flickr (www.flickr.com) lets you create guest passes for private galleries that expire whenever you designate.

Upload & Download feature of the photo sharing sites

Photo uploading is another basic feature of nearly all photo-sharing sites. Batch uploading, or the ability to upload whole folders of images at a time, can really speed the process. Most services automatically shrink your photos from their original size to conserve space, but some services let you upgrade your plan for a fee to upload images at their original size. Google's Picasa (picasa.google.com) is an example of a free service that lets you upload images at their original size. Alternately, SlickPic (www.slickpic.com) requires a Pro account ($99.95 per year) to upload images at resolutions higher than 2,560 x 1,600, but the Pro account also grants you enhanced privacy options, up to 10GB of RAW file storage, and support for HD (720p) video storage.

Go Ahead, Hoard Photos

A majority of photo-sharing sites let you upload an unlimited number of photos, but many implement size limitations, which will affect professional photographers more than casual shutterbugs. If you plan to upload thousands of photos, it also pays to explore the site's image organization capabilities. Photobucket (photobucket.com) offers free account users unlimited photo uploads, but images must be smaller than 1MB each. Some common options include the ability to make multiple galleries or albums, organize images by date, and even some support geo-tagging data, which displays details about where the photo was taken.

Photo-Printing Services

A nice bonus that many photo-sharing sites offer is the ability to purchase prints. Even better, some let you create memorabilia with your images on them, such as coffee mugs, t-shirts, calendars, canvas prints, mouse pads, photo books, and more. If you're a professional looking to sell prints, SmugMug (www.smugmug .com) lets its Pro users ($150 per year) set prices and make profit, create custom coupons for promotions, sell digital downloads, and collect profits via direct deposit.

Read the fine print before you share your photos

Take caution against regarding a photo sharing site as a means of securely backing up your precious images, unless the service guarantees such a capability in writing. Some photo-sharing sites have been known to delete images if you fail to meet minimum purchase guidelines. Kodak Gallery (www.kodakgallery.com) requires a $4.99 annual purchase for members with images totaling 2GB or less and $19.99 for more than 2GB of images.

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