I started taking pictures back in 2007 when I was in my early college days and like most people, I only used a point-and-shoot digital camera to take photos. Back then, I would store the photos on my hard drive and then upload it on Friendster. Technology has evolved and from Friendster, I started uploading them to Multiply, then Facebook and then now Instagram.
Looking back I realized that not much has changed really. At least for me, the change was mostly on the sites I’m uploading pictures to. And I find that normal because these photos are majorly tied to the “in” social network which has changed quite a bit in the last 5-7 years. What changed on my end is my interest in the subject of photography. No I didn’t own a lot of cameras during the period but I became more obsessed with taking better photos and investing on better equipment.
What usually happens is I would take pictures using my entry level Sony Nex 6 camera. I would make sure I take good pictures (note I’m still a novice in this area though) and then once it’s done I would store it on my hard drive but then upload either on my personal Facebook page or Instagram. As we all know, both of those services decrease the overall quality of the pictures. But still who cares? I have my original source on my hard drive right?
Well, not until now. I realized that I need to take a look at a service where I can upload my best shots. Maybe not really just the best ones but every photos that I’d like. A major requirement for the service is that it would not (majorly) alter the photos and eventually decrease the quality.
No I’m not building some kind of a image portfolio here but it’s my personal desire to have a place online where I or my friends can look at photos that I took and hopefully those aren’t too bad for them to feel bad. And so that is why I started searching for the services.
I actually have a Flickr account and this is where I realized that I have been taking photos for quite some time now. I like the service a lot but it functions as a social network itself which can be a problem. That might take away the focus of me just uploading photos to finding friends, commenting on their photos, browsing other people’s pictures and etc. That’s not a big problem though.
I haven’t used Flickr in years but I remember that you can’t really use the service to upload pictures continuously as they have a limit for free accounts. They also compress your photos (not as bad as Facebook though) and that would only go away if you fork out some money and pay for a subscription.
But maybe it has changed and I’ll just have to take a closer look at the service again.
Photobucket is an equally popular service however I kind of view them more as a casual image uploading site as oppose to something that has a more personal feel to it like Flickr. Nonetheless, Photobucket seems to be as good as Flickr but it has its own limitations for a free account.
I’m personally not too high on Photobucket for some biased reasons but I know I’ll take a look of this service again and see where it fits.
Picasa is a popular photo sharing service owned by Google. Doing a quick look at it, it seems they have their own share of features that are not available on other platforms. I read that they accept more file formats (including RAW) and they are of course very much integrated to other Google services.
I should take a look at Picasa because I’m pretty much a Google person like most people. I use a lot of Google services but I’m not sure I have any use for the Picasa integration at all (what? integrate to G+? meh!).
The website of this service strikes me as a a photo and card printing service rather than an photo sharing site but it seems like the latter part is a very good service on its own.
Shutterfly doesn’t have any limitations for uploading pictures and unlike others, they actually store the images in full resolutions and uncompressed. Like other services, they also offer some basic photo editing tools and integration to social networks. And of course, they have this tied neatly to their printing services in case you want to get a hard copy of your photos.
I haven’t reached the point yet where I’m nit-picky with the features that a service comes with so I think I would do fine with all the services I found above. However, I can’t really use all of them and upload to each every time as that would be very silly. It’s also worth-noting that me picking a service doesn’t change the fact that I would still upload photos on Facebook and Instagram since both are services that I heavily use for other purposes.
Overall, I would say Flickr has an advantage as I’m already an existing user there. Unless Flickr has a deal-breaker kind of limitation on their service, then it would be tough for other services to win me unless of course they offer something that is so good that I’m willing to switch and start over from scratch. But who knows?
I’d like to hear your thoughts here. Feel free to suggest other services as well.