Do you have a 1000+ photos of your child’s first birthday or your family holiday to Hawaii? Managing, storing, printing, and sharing them can be overwhelming, but photographer Matthew Huang gives us the low-down on how digital photo sites differ and which one may be the most useful in creating some order to your digital photo chaos.
Flickr is the 800-pound gorilla, and for good reason. In my experience, it’s the best if you have a “pro” account (about $20 a year). It provides loads of space, great “in the cloud” (or Internet-based) editing tools, and excellent tools for sharing your images. It offers a great deal and works exceedingly well for those who learn it. It’s owned by Yahoo, so it’s reputable and can be linked to a Yahoo or a Gmail account (though not as seamlessly as with Picasa).
Shutterfly is similar to Flickr, but its focus is on printing and sharing with small groups, as opposed to social media. They make their money from the prints that you make rather than the services that you use on their site. As such, the services aren’t as good as Flickr’s, which empowers its paying users with excellent tools. (Editor’s Note: Snapfish and Kodakgallery operate in a similar manner to Shutterfly.)
Picasa is a third approach, which uses elements of the first two. It provides a powerful photo-editing tool that is especially good considering it’s free. It’s a local application, rather than Internet-based, like Flickr. Picasa is good if you take the time to learn it. There’s an online component as well, which provides some of the Shutterfly-like sharing and printing tools. But that’s more of a hobby for Picasa than a primary business. Owned by Google, it links right to your Gmail/Google account. It’s free, unless you need extra storage, which you can purchase for a nominal fee.
All told, I prefer Flickr: it makes sharing photos easy and has the best “in the cloud” tools – that’s the direction that the whole computing world is headed. It’s worth getting the pro account for $20 to get the most out of the site.
Matt Huang is a photographer of things, writer of emails, consumer of media, failed tweeter and internal communicator who lives and works in New York City. Matt has a track record of success in sharing information through print, web, the spoken word, still images and the moving picture; with less successful at communicating through the mediums of both song and dance. His interests includes photography, college football, the genesizing and propagation of jargon, and travel. Matt’s photo blog can be found at www.matthewhuang.com.