Making sense of all the online photo services can be just as difficult as picking out a camera and lenses. With all the options out there, it’s important to choose the right site for backing up and printing out your precious masterpieces. Whether you’re looking for a photo community, a place to develop your shots, or just a site to share your photos with friends, there are plenty of options to pick from. But choosing the right site to upload your all your photos to is a big decision since you will spend a lot of time and potentially money once you go down a path. So choose your path wisely.
Here’s a comprehensive look at the best of the best for sharing and printing photos on the web:
flickr is made for snap happy photographers. From the simple uploading interface to the Organizr tool, the folks at flickr designed the site for photo sharing. You can easily exhibit all of your photos to the public or control who sees them with convenient privacy settings. You can also track how many people have viewed your pictures. But one of the best aspects of flickr is the community. Like other social networks, flickr allows you to connect to your friends and see their photostreams and see their new pictures whenever they upload them. It also allows friends and visitors to leave comments (and even highlight portions of the picture to leave mouse-over callouts on any photo!). Spend hours looking through tags of photos to find anything and everything a person could take a picture of. Flickr makes it easy for bloggers to add their pictures to their blog (except for Xanga users). It unlike all the photo printing sites, flickr even allows people to download your files which makes it a great tool for archiving files. On top of that, it allows your friends and anyone else to download different sizes of your picture files, including the high-resolution originals! Sharing photos has never been easier since flickr came along. Now you can get prints of your pictures! If you are connected to friends you can also print out their photos as well. There are also a few printing services like Zazzle that you can use.
Shutterfly was one of the original online photo services along with Snapfish and Ofoto. It has continued to stay independent unlike its competitors (Snapfish was owned by District Photo and now is owned by HP; Ofoto was bought by Kodak). Shutterfly has the most user friendly interface of all the online photo printing services and makes organizing and editing photos simple and easy. The desktop uploading tool is a bit buggy, but usually can get the job done. Shutterfly prints come out with relatively accurate colors and pretty good quality. Although the consensus is that Ofoto has better quality prints, comparing them side by side, Shutterfly is comparable. The slideshow feature loads quickly but at lower resolution than the Kodak EasyShare Gallery (Ofoto) does. Shutterfly is a great service for sharing photos online. For new members you get 15 free 4×6 prints.
Ofoto was bought by Kodak which has changed the name to the Kodak EasyShare Gallery. Ofoto quickly became the leading online photo service with high-quality prints and competitive pricing. The Ofoto interface is less intuitive than the Shutterfly interface. Editing and organizing photos is much more complicated on Ofoto. You also have to register and log in to see other peoples photos which can sometimes be a pain. But once you login, the updated slideshow presentation loads quickly (photos are now pre-loaded in the background) and they are at higher resolution than they used to be. But Ofoto’s strength is in the processing. Backed by Kodak, Ofoto has continued to perfect the process of printing digital photos. This is a very compelling reason for DSLR owners who want to print large photos with accurate colors and sharpness to use the Ofoto service. 4×6 prints run for about $0.25 each.
Snapfish started off as an online film processing solution. It was bought by District Photo and recently sold to Hewlett Packard. It has built a similar offering to Shutterfly and Ofoto, but the prints are not quite as good as the big two online printing services. They have tried to differentiate themselves with mobile camera phone photo printing, a service that the others have not quite fully adopted yet. For new Snapfish members you receive 20 free prints. For existing memberships Snapfish pricing is extremely competitive and now offers 4×6 prints for only $0.12 each.
Desktop Photo Slideshows:
Photo Licensing and Selling:
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