There are quite a few photo sharing sites on the Internet these days. But just because some have millions of users, does that make them ideal for easy photo sharing?
It depends on what you want to do. If you want to show your photos to the whole world, then a site that touts open sharing is right for you. However, if you consider your photos to be private between you and your family and friends, then you’ll want to look for a site that is built for easy photo sharing, but allows you to easily restrict who can and cannot see your photos.
Easy photo sharing is more than just transferring or scanning your photos into your computer and uploading them to a sharing site. There are lots of sites that allow you to do that. The thing you need to watch out for is what happens to your photos once they’re on the photo sharing website, and does the site really feature easy photo sharing.
A brief history of easy photo sharing
The very early easy photo sharing sites appeared in the mid to late 1990s, but were mostly created to provide online print ordering. More appeared in the early part of this century, primarily to provide centralized access to photos.
At the same time, desktop photo management systems appeared. These were not Internet based, and still aren’t. They provide a way to manage photos on your computer, and sometimes have links to online storage sites.
A true easy photo sharing site will allow you to easily share your photos across the Internet with the people of your choice. Exposing all your photos for the entire world to see is not really sharing – it’s really more like a neighborhood open house for your photos and lacks the intimacy of sending a photo to a friend or relative.
Getting your photos onto an easy photo sharing site
Of course, photo sharing starts with a camera. Whether it’s a camera phone or a high-end digital Single Lens Reflex camera, you need to take the picture before you can share the picture. You may have some older prints around the house that you’d like to digitize and save to an easy photo sharing site.
With that in mind, a true easy photo sharing site will feature easy one step scanning and whole folder uploads.
With one step scanning, all you do is place your photo on your scanner and push a button. With whole folder uploads, you can upload hundreds of photos all at once, rather than browsing them in one at a time. With these two features, you can get the photos you want online as fast as possible, so you can start sharing them with the people you care about.
Free membership or paid subscription?
Many easy photo sharing sites require membership. But some will allow you to upload as many as 500 photos free, no membership required. If you have a digital camera, you likely already know that you will reach the upper limits of any free membership very quickly.
Some sites also put a limit on the maximum size of the photos you can upload. This is very inconvenient as the upload process will be stopped or paused as photos that are too large are kicked out of the process. Sites that put limits on the size of individual photos cannot be referred to as easy photo sharing sites.
Easy photo sharing means more than just sending an email
Sites that offer printing services are also convenient. Most do, and many offer roughly the same price and quality, so pay particular attention to how easy it is to order the prints, how easy it is to upload your photos, customer service, shipping options, etc. How well a site handles these services is an indication of whether or not it is an easy photo sharing site.
Also, true easy photo sharing sites will allow you to create, print and share photo albums, story books, greeting cards, calendars, and other photo gifts. These items should be easy to create, and feature high quality, both in terms of service and the finished product you receive.