Yesterday I logged on to my Photoshop.com site, which I hadn’t updated basically since the first day I setup my account. A colleague of mine sent me a link to his pictures from an event that we attended and I thought “oh yeah, I have a few galleries on here too!” So needless to say I did a little house cleaning and updated the pics I had up there.
Later in the evening I uploaded a new pic to my Flickr account only to receive a message stating that my “Flickr Pro” account had expired and that now my account would only display my most recent 200 images. I thought to myself, “do I even have 200 images on here?” I had never paid for a Flickr Pro account in the first place. Apparently it came as part of one of my other internet hosting packages and I guess now it’s no longer included. Then I checked to see what a Flickr Pro account actually costs and while $25/year certainly isn’t going to break the bank, I paused and said “do I really need this?”
How many photo sharing sites do we need?
I’ve got a Photoshop.com, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, NAPP, MobileMe, MPIX, Shutterfly, Kodak, and a few other accounts I’m not thinking of at the moment. I have photos on all of these different services that I have shared with family, friends and colleagues. How many services do I really need? Is one better than the rest? Unfortunately, I haven’t found one that really does EVERYTHING I’d want. However, Flickr is pretty darn close. I like the fact that Flickr will automatically detect the metadata and geotag information of the shots I upload and place them on a map. However, most of my friends and family are on Facebook. Photoshop.com and MobileMe seem to have the slickest slideshow/presentation features. If I upload to Shutterfly or Kodak, then my friends/family can order their own prints. Arggghhhhhh!
I was testing a new blogging app for the iPhone and in order to get pictures into the blog they had to be uploaded to a Picasa account. Just what I need, yet another service. There is both a Flickr and Facebook upload/output plugin for Lightroom! Since all my photos are in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, this makes it easy to share! However, if I want certain photos on my iPhone or Apple TV, I export them from Lightroom to iPhoto just for the sake of convenience. The new iPhoto can also upload/sync to Facebook and Flickr, but not Photoshop.com or any of the others (besides MobileMe).
The bottom line is that all of these services offer similar features, but in most cases each service offers one or two things that the others don’t. If I had to settle on just ONE, it probably would be Flickr because it has the most features that I’m looking for. I can upload to Flickr directly from Lightroom. I can mark pictures as private or share with friends or family or both. You can order prints if need be. They do the metadata detection and geotagging that I really like. They also have several options for organizing your photos. There is also some integration with Facebook via various apps. The site is also geared towards setting up communities to share photos with. This way several members can contribute their favorite photos to the group. There’s even a really cool iPhone app called Mobile Fotos that uploads to and views your Flickr pics.
Even though Flickr seems to be the logical choice for me in that it has just about everything I’m looking for. It seems that I spent most of last week at Photoshop World uploading pics to Twitter/Facebook for quick sharing! Twitter and Facebook have the advantage that your friends are already there monitoring each other’s status and new pics just show up. No need to announce anything or send a link. However, this means that those friends and family members out there that don’t have either Twitter or Facebook accounts would never see my pics. Of course there’s also this blog and my website. I could post photos in either of those two spots too. Lightroom can also export a web gallery and ftp it up directly to my website. However, no one is going to know it’s there unless I announce it. The ultimate would be to have ONE site that I could post to that would feed everything else!
Is anyone else feeling my pain? Is there just one service that is king? What do you guys use and why? How do you use it? Meaning what’s your workflow? Hit me back in the comments below and also vote in the poll on the left hand side of this post!