The way we take, organize and share pictures has drastically changed with the high-tech era and introduction of digital photography. Long gone are the days of snapping a photo, winding your camera, and waiting a few days to find out whether or not the whole family was smiling in the shot you snapped at Mt. Rushmore. But thanks to a number of free photo sharing sites, what you may have noticed also disappearing are the old, comfortable, and charming rituals of leafing through a stack of photos or turning the pages of an old photo album as well.
In fact, because digital cameras make photos so easy to take and view, many of us now take multiple shots of the same image just to make sure we get the right one. However, just as it is important (and easier than ever) to grab the perfect picture, so too is it vital to keep in mind the needs of those who will eventually view your photos. As we share photos with friends and family online, the result is often albums with hundreds if not thousands of pictures that even your own mother might not have the patience to sit through. Thankfully, a number of online solutions can help with cataloguing, organizing and distributing images over the Internet, making it simpler than ever to sift through towering virtual stacks of snapshots.
Choosing the right service can make the process of organizing and sharing your photos simple, quick and easy – and make viewing them a pleasurable experience for friends and family alike. Here’s a look at five of the best free photo sharing sites that you won’t want to miss.
Popular service Flickr lets you upload pictures nearly any way you can think of, whether by phone, e-mail, web browser or app on your computer. Flickr then provides the tools to let the pictures tell a story, whether it’s by adding notes, commenting on specific parts of the picture, or even adding photos to a map. Organizing photos is as simple as dragging and dropping them where you want them, and sharing can be done easily with family and friends, even if they don’t have a Flickr account. One cool feature for photo-lovers is Flickr’s ability to let users explore photos from others, sorted by subject, group, location and more.
Photobucket allows for storage of unlimited photos and up to 500 videos, and also lets users easily share their work with friends and family via social networks or e-mail links. Photobucket also allows for some cool editing features, letting you do perform standard operations like cropping and adding special effects, but further provides the ability to easily add captions and more. The service additionally lets you track stats on your photo views so you can see which was popular.
Shutterfly is geared towards those who want to not only share their prints, but also offer real-life versions of them – and in eye-catching formats. The online service offers easy to build albums and websites, which can be e-mailed to friends and family, but also specializes in making it simple to order real-life prints or photobooks so you can have physical versions of your photos as well. It’s a great source to turn to if you’re looking for collectible keepsakes.
Snapfish also makes it easy to upload, edit and organize photos, and share them freely via what the creators call a “group room,” which allows multiple users to share photos of a certain event, such as a school recital or a wedding. In addition to prints, Snapfish also offers a number of ways to print out your photo on items that range from the obvious, such as customized growth charts, to the not-so-obvious, like blankets. It provides a veritable smorgasbord of ways to bring digital images to life.
The world’s most popular social networking site is also its most popular photo sharing site. With the ability for users to easily upload photos and videos for families and friends to enjoy and receive comments on them, Facebook continues to be the de facto leader for sharing just about anything – multimedia included. Facebook sharing is at the forefront of many privacy concerns, however, so even if you have all your security and privacy settings locked down, be careful when sending a link to your album to others. Even with privacy settings set to “friends only,” anyone who gains access to that link can view your photos.