If you’re like most people, you want to know the best on-line photo site to satisfy all of your photo sharing, printing, and product ordering needs. All on-line sites are not created equal and you will see that certain sites might specialize in community forums or social networking with a photography angle while another site might be more geared to professional photographers.
Nearly all of the sites offer some sort of image storage although you might have to purchase either prints or products at least once a year to keep this storage feature active. I would prefer to pay for the ability to archive my images as this helps to ensure that the company hosting my photographs will continue to be a viable business, and I won’t be bombarded with advertisements.
However, even some well-known sites like Yahoo Photos and Sony’s Imagestation have gone out of business. This means you have to take ultimate responsibility for the proper backup of your photographs and not exclusively rely upon any of these sites listed for backup. In order to qualify for this review, each site needed to have the ability to share, print, and create products with your photographs.
While you might have a photographic ink jet printer for some of your printing needs, many photography enthusiasts want to share their images with others – even those images based on specific criteria like photographs of England or photographers who like taking images of trains. Most of the sites listed allow you to join communities, read blogs, and even have your own website (listed under the main online site).
Also, if you have a new addition to your family, (canine, feline, or human), and want to send out 4x6 prints, then it is not cost effective to print all of your images at home or at the office. You will need to employ the services of one of these sites. Many of the sites offer efficient uploading of your images (mostly in JPEG, but a few allow TIFF), vibrant color prints, and excellent turnaround for delivery. Some sites, such as Shutterfly, allow you to pick up your prints at participating Target stores while the Kodak Gallery site enables you to pick up at various pharmacies. Expect to pay as low as nine cents per print on a pre-paid plan and 29 cents if you are going with a more professional lab. One lab, Adorama, hand inspects each print to ensure you ware getting the best color matching and quality.
The Best of the Best online photo sharing, printing and product site is PhotoWorks. They have a robust online photo community, produce excellent prints, and have a wide variety of products such as photo books, panoramic poster cards, and photo appointment books. They even allow you to import images from Flickr and Webshots. If you want a wider variety of products that can incorporate your images, then I suggest looking into Shutterfly or into the Kodak Gallery site.
Remember, you when displaying images in public spaces, you will always want to protect your copyright. You can add a copyright or even a watermark to your images and a few of the sites will allow you to do this online. As you get more involved with any of these online sites, you might notice the quality of your photography improving. Why? Because you are paying attention to your images and how to share, print, and make products with them.