August 04, 2012, 7:10 AM — Digital photography has made it possible to document nearly every event without spending a fortune on film. But this surfeit of photos presents a challenge, too: Whats the best way to share them all?
Youll find a strong community on Yahoos Flickr, which is home to more than 50 million members. The user-friendly interface is easy for anyone to use, and the basic service is free, albeit with limitations: You can upload 300MB worth of photos a month, with no photo exceeding 30MB; and you can upload two videos a month, each no longer than 90 seconds and no larger than 150MB. (The Pro version of Flickr has no storage limits.) Flickr will compress photos only if they exceed the file-size limits; otherwise, it leaves them alone. Where Flickr feels light is in advanced controls. It lacks a watermarking option, for instance, and you cant specify who can download your photos.
Like Flickr, Photobucket is available in free (ad-supported) and paid (no-ad) versions. The free version of Photobucket lets you upload many more images than the free Flickr does10GB per month. However, youll also see many more ads here than on Flickr. In addition to a persistent banner ad, most pages have at least one pop-up ad. Meanwhile, Photobuckets Java-based bulk uploader tool conveniently re-creates your systems file structure in your browser and displays only upÂÂloadable photos, but its omission of drag-and-drop support is, well, a drag.
Providing a mind-boggling array of features, SmugMug is a serious tool for serious photographers. Its also the right choice if you like money, since it offers the potential to earn cash if you have an eye like Ansel Adams and want to sell your photos on prints, mouse pads, coasters, T-shirts, or other items. Set your price per item, or an overall profit percentage, and watch as SmugMug helps to fatten your wallet.
SmugMug also assists you in sprucing up your photos with color effects, watermarks, and basic editing tools. You can display your photostream in many different ways, and exert fine control over who can download your snapshots and which image sizes are available to viewers. The catch? SmugMug is a subscription-only service (starting at $40 per year).
SmugMugs passion for photography shows in its wealth of options, including tools for selling images. But Photobucket reigns as the most intuitive iPad tool.