You may be a professional photographer starting an online business, or maybe you just want to share your snaps with some friends. Either way, with the internet now mainstream and used by almost everyone, it’s simple and convenient to present your photos online.
But what steps does one need to take to get one’s photos from camera to net?
First you will need a digital camera that interfaces to your home computer. Most modern day cameras offer this as a standard option, but some older cameras don’t. Once your photos are on your computer, you’ll need a place to store and publish them online.
You are probably wondering what to next? We’ll take a look and the different options and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each one.
If you already have web hosting and the right technical skills, you can use your current hosting space for your photo albums. There are several free open-source solutions like Gallery 2 and Jalbum that will do the job nicely, but before choosing this option, ensure your web hosting plan grants you enough disk storage space and bandwidth and that you are not violating their terms.
Digital photos tend to take up a lot of storage space and bandwidth which some web hosting companies do not look kindly upon. If your hosting plan doesn’t work out, don’t despair, for there are tons of online photo sharing companies that can help.
A photo sharing website is a website that will store your digital photos, enabling you to share your latest pictures with friends, customers or the public in general. Most photo sharing services have security features, allowing only your close friends access if that’s what you want and offer multiple ways of viewing collections such as thumbnail and slideshow view, the ability to “tag” individual photos, allowing them to be found more easily in search and free software.
Photo sharing services fall into two basic categories in terms of pricing: Free and paid.
If you are on a tight budget or your collection is of a personal nature, a free photo sharing service might be a cheap and convenient solution. Free photo sharing sites are usually either advertising supported or offer paid services such as photo finishing in addition to general photo sharing.
Paid services are typically subscription-based and dispense with advertising and selling you other products. You are paying for the service and they will go to great lengths to ensure it is top-notch. This option tends to suit serious photographers with large collections.
When comparing photo sharing services, it helps, to try their trial versions first, to ensure you are happy with the user interface and features.
When making your choice consider what’s important to you. Sharing services tend to differ in the following areas.
Some Popular Choices
There are photo sharing services for all levels of photographers and graphics enthusiasts. Chances are you will not have to look far to find one that you like, but to get you started here are a few of the more popular ones.
Photobucket is an image and video hosting service featuring photo albums, built-in organizer to keep photos organized neatly into albums, built-in free photo editor, scrapbook builder, album themes and slideshow creator. Photobucket also features a built-in online photo gifts and prints store. The service allows private or public access and offers 1 GB of storage in their free plan, with the option to upgrade.
Flickr allows you to organize images and videos into sets which may be grouped into collections which may be further grouped. Tagging of images is also supported allowing efficient searching of certain topics and the service provides an in-built image editor that can get rid of red eye, crop a photo or add fonts and effects. Flickr offers a limited free license that allows up to 100mb of storage and a paid pro option that offers unlimited storage and bandwidth.
Google offer a free software application called Picasa which allows you to organize and edit your digital photos. The software features automated file importing and tracking features and other features for organizing photo collections such as tags and collection. Basic photo editing functions are included as well as slideshow viewing, printing and image time-lines. Picasa allows you to easily publish your photos on their photo-sharing website,
. The service offers a free account that can store 1 GB of photos with paid upgrade options available.
Smugmug is a premium photo sharing website geared towards professional photographers. Offering a strikingly attractive user-friendly interface, there are three levels of membership (standard, power and pro), but no free account. There is a 14-day free trial period however that users can use to get a feel for it. Users can upload an unlimited number of photos with all account types. Power level membership adds video sharing, a unique domain name and further customization, while pro level users can also share high definition video and mark up their prints for sale, the photographer gets 80% of the markup over the base photo price.
On the internet today, there are more ways than ever to host your photos online. While storing them on your hosting account is one way, also consider one of the many free and premium photo-sharing services available.