Photo Sharing Sites

March 19, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

As most of you already know, I changed web hosts at the end of the football season this year.  Don't get me wrong, it was good for what it is ... it just was not meeting my needs.  Several of you have asked me about web sites for posting your pictures, so I thought I might give you a lttle bit of a run down. 

There really are four different kinds of web site providers when it comes to photographers:

  1. Sharing with family and friends.  This is simply a place where you put your pictures and anyone who knows where they are pretty much can have full access to them.  If you are mostly interested in keeping gramma up to date with how fast the baby is growing, or sharing bunches of cool vacation pictures with your friends, this is your category.  Sites such as Picasa, Kodak, and snapfish are all pretty good.  Your camera manufacturer may even provide you with some space on the web.  They are mostly free except for any prints you buy.  Those prints are what pay for the website.  It might even just be a gallery on your facebook page! 
  2. Amateur Photographer sharing with friends and neighbors, making occasional sales.  This type of site is great for sharing your work with others, and often includes a possibility of social networking with other shutterbugs.  There often is a free version of the site available to you, and the possibilities look more professional as you pay more.  Usually, these sites are found in the format of www.webhostname.com/yournamehere .  These types of sites can sometimes even brige up to the next level.  Wikipedia has a decent review of the major sites.  Some of the ones that I know do a decent job are:
    1. smugmug.com
    2. flickr.com -- I also have a free account here
    3. fotki.com -- my previous provider, allows unlimited photo storage for $30/year and very easy photo sharing. 
    4. tinypic.com
  3. Serious Amateur / Entry level Professional.  Once you get here, just know that you are going to pay for a few things.  First off, you will be buying your own domain name, then you will be paying someone to host your site.  Since these are specialized, you will find that there are fewer (but still quite enough!) companies that can get you a nice turn-key website.  You'll enjoy features such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), access to professionally designed page templates,  ability to use your own domain name, photographer specialized tools (such as photo protection), private galleries, ability to sell prints (and sometimes even more than prints), access to several professional quality print labs and original products, optimization for mobile devices, and possibly even host a blog. This is where I currently am, and many professional photographers are quite satisfied with this level of service.  Here are a few reputable providers:
    1. Zenfolio.com -- that is the host that this site is on.  If you want to set up an account with them, use my reference code Z8X-U4Y-SEZ to save a few dollars, depending on the type of account you choose. 
    2. Photobucket.com
    3. Photoshelter.com
    4. Photobiz.com
  4. Advanced Professional.  These guys design thier own web sites from the ground up, and are able to include very specialized features.  It costs a bit to get started because you will need a graphic artist for layout and design ( or learn to wrtite your own!), a web hosting company to host your site, specialized software for selling, and the ability to print your own orders or have a lab that you partner with.  The details of this type of site are way beyond the scope of this article, and I assume that if you are at this level, you already have more information than I could provide. 

Well, that's it!  I hope that clears up a few questions for you.  See you on the field!


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