Photo Web sites online: do any win out as the best?

Where do you store your photos online? I’ve used at least five different services and currently have three active accounts and can’t say I’m sold on any of them.

Read my thoughts and share your own. Am I missing out on the go-to place to store, save and share photographs?


Flickr, it seems to me, is the It choice. All the serious photographers I know – not including me in that distinction, though I do have a Flickr account – actively use the Yahoo photo service.

For a professional photographer, like the friends of mine who use Flickr most actively, paying for a premium account makes sense. They get unlimited storage capacity and easy use of Picknik, the very cool online photo editing application, within Flickr.

For a free, basic account, like me, my limit is 100 mega-bytes per month, which is a sizable increase since 2006 but can be easily tapped, anyway. (I exceeded my limit by uploading 50 photos last month, mostly taken with this camera, on the heels of my European backpacking trip).

What’s more and, really, let’s put it out there, I don’t want a Yahoo e-mail account. I had a wonderful ride with cwink32 [at], but all but abandoned it in 2005 when the spam got overwhelming and Gmail was ready to offer everything you could pay for on Yahoo Premium. (I should note my second e-mail address ever was mj23superman [at], only slightly after veryhotmale32 [at]

So I had to go and create a new Yahoo account when I wanted to join Flickr, and, yeah, I haven’t opened that e-mail account since. I can think of at least three friends who won’t use Flickr just for this reason. Lame.

Still I have a Flickr account and, because of the upload quota, tend to put only better photographs. Without a quota or even a larger one and no Yahoo-e-mail requirement, Flickr would be an all-go for me.


Slide, no seriously. OK, mostly because there is no upload quota, I use Slide to host photos, so I don’t have to upload photos to this Web site. But I also find their photo slideshows to be the easiest to create and post online – yeah, that’s why every fourteen-year-old girl with a MySpace page, and me, has a Slide slideshow there.

However, there is no easy editing application like Flickr, the site is janky and since a recent revision, it’s a pain for me to find my slideshows. I also would think if Slide brands itself as a slideshow market leader, should be a way for me to review all of my photos – like Flickr’s photostream – and more easily reorganize them into a new slideshow without having to completely re-upload them.

Obviously Flickr and others are worlds ahead of Slide with options but then, I suppose that’s why it can be so darn easy and cost-free. So I have a Slide account, where I dump all other photos I want online, either to share or just to host so I can post here or elsewhere online.

If Slide offered any general catch of all my photos and worked with Picknik or something similar, perhaps Slide could be my one-stop for photos – though I would have to overcome its stigma and lame, lame slideshow themes (like red carpet photo shoot photo filters! and Avril Lavigne music options!).


Google purchased Picasa in 2004. I don’t know a lick about why Google didn’t work on its own photo site to add to its growing cluster of Google applications, and I really don’t care. It isn’t in the same stratosphere as Google’s other online aps, if you ask me, though I do have an account.

Its best asset is integration with Gmail, which is why I gave it a chance, but I don’t think the integration has happened to the degree it ought to. If someone e-mails me a photo, I want the options to directly upload it to my Picasaweb in a particular album, with text, a new title and more. Like Slide, from what I know, there isn’t an in-service editing application. I also don’t think Picasa can display photos with any degree of artistic integrity; Flickr is best for this, and even Slide slideshows are displayed on a nice-looking black background.

I have a Picasa account, but only because I use Gmail and have hopes for it. If it offered better Gmail integration – or made it easier to find if it is – and some editing option, I’d likely move to it as my only photo-hosting site.


There are others that I’ve messed with in slightly different capacities. Shutterfly and have older audiences, for being relatively easy to upload and offering the popular ease to print a photo book (These and other sites were rated in that capacity by Slate in 2006 – though it makes no mention of Blurb, about which I’ve heard good things).

But for our purposes, both do offer hosting and sharing opportunities, though I haven’t much used them. They do have editing options, though they don’t have the social networking devices of Flickr.

I know Photobucket and Webshots attract a crowd of younger folks with digital cameras, but I’ve never tried them, nor been drawn to do so.

So, what’s a guy like me to do.

Any thoughts or advice? Any I’m missing or should explore? Have I given your choice a bad name? Let me know below.

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3 thoughts on “Photo Web sites online: do any win out as the best?”

  1. Wink,

    Webshots was one of the early photo sharing services, big about 4-5 years ago. As you pointed out, it certainly is of the point-and-shoot set, if you will. I’ve used it, but I’m not thrilled with it. The problem with Webshots is in its distribution. It’s not that convenient to navigate, and it looks cluttered, in my opinion. HP also offered a product called Snapfish, designed to be an online viewing and printing service for your photos. It never gained widespread appeal.

    You would also be amiss to not mention social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace, which have become THE photo loading site for many casual users. The interface is simple, uploads are relatively fast, and the sites are frequented by younger users. Tagging also makes it appealing: it’s cool to see what your friends are doing. The largest downfall is that you often must be a member of the service to view the files. Facebook provides static URLs for photo albums, but they are automatically generated and are long strings of alphanumeric characters. Not convenient in conversation.

    For more serious and tech-savvy users, there is a “none of the above” option. It is possible for people to create their own web sharing service. Adobe Photoshop CS3 has a menu option to create a photo web site, complete with navigation, comments, and sharing links. All the user has to do is say what photos to use, what the site should look like, and press go. Advantage: ultimate control. A user with his or her own domain can decide how the end site will look and feel. Downside: Not for the casual user. Photoshop creates the website. The user is responsible for web space to store the site.

    Something else the user should consider is uploading. Services like Picasa and Flickr have applications a person can download onto their computer. Uploading photos can be as easy as double-clicking the files on your computer. Many sites have a web-based console that makes uploading easy, a far cry from the original one-pic-at-a-time method (which is still used for small uploads).

    All things considered, I’m with you: unless you’re willing to pay someone to design a site and solution for you, there is no “great” solution. Of the free services, I’d recommend Flickr, but again, I’m not a huge fan.


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