Saturday, November 1, 2008

Request for online photo hosting/sharing suggestions and opinions

I'm looking for a good online photo sharing/backup solution. The three options I'm considering at the moment are SmugMug, Flickr and Picasaweb. None seem to be quite up to my requirements, so I'm hoping someone can suggest something better or how to use one of these services better. I'm leaning toward SmugMug, but I'm not entirely happy with it.

I want:
  • Reasonably priced for a large amount of storage. I have over 40G of photos and don't want to pay >$100 a year. This seems to eliminate Picasaweb.
  • Access control. I actually like SmugMug's access model, but would prefer finer grained (per photo control) rather than having to move photos around between albums to change access. The three tiers of public/unlisted/password-protected work well for me.
  • Automatic/easy upload from iPhoto, iPhone and Android. Most seem to do fine in this regard, but opinions are welcome.
  • Decent file management. I want to be able to search browse and share all my photos at once, not have to go fiddle in dozens or hundreds of albums. I don't want to have to keep track of what I've uploaded and what I haven't. I don't want it to end up with bunch of duplicate uploads. All of them, including SmugMug seem to have issues here.
  • Reliable. I'm want this in substantial part as a backup solution.
  • Good temporal organization/photo finding. I think of my photos as organized by time, not by "album" and none of the sites seem to do well with this model.
In all, the main reason I'm not so sure about SmugMug is that it doesn't deal well with things like duplicates, it seems very locked in to the whole "album" metaphor (as do the others), and their site is a bit slow.

Thoughts, experiences, suggestions, ideas?

Update: I think I'm going to go with flickr. Easy browsing by time, good price, and it's fast.


  1. I was very hesitant to join Flickr, for no particular reason other than a general uneasy feeling about it (and about Yahoo generally), but I've been pleasantly surprised at how well it's suited my needs so far. I bought a "pro" account for $24.95 a year, which gives you unlimited storage. You can specify per photo who can view it: only you, friends, family, or everyone. (You can mark each of your contacts as friend, family, both, or neither.) The Flickr API seems quite extensive, using either REST, SOAP, or XML-RPC, and there are plenty of third-party apps for uploading and organizing. It also seems to have a lot of integration with other sites, e.g. generates a special tag that I can set on my photos taken at a concert so that it will link them to the event page for that concert (and vice versa). And the "your archives" page lets you view photos either by date taken (using EXIF info) or by date posted to Flickr.

  2. Yeah, I had the same undirected hesitance, but looking at it, it seems it matches my requirements a lot better. Any flickr-detractors?

  3. Scrabblette loves phanfare, but I don't have any experience with it myself except browsing the photos, and that seems to work :-).

  4. I'm from SmugMug. Just making sure you are aware that there's 'hide photo' which does give you photo-level security. Not sure what you mean about 'duplicates' but if you mean, that you want one photo in more than one gallery, you want 'virtual galleries; we hear ya and we're working on some stuff along those lines :) Holler for us at our help desk if you have any more questions!

  5. Hi Matthew,
    A relatively new site to check out is Its from some of the founders of Blackboard (an elearning platform to Higher Education).

    Kadoo gives every user 10 FREE Gigs of space to store, manage and share all their Photos, Videos, Documents, Bookmarks and more!

    Especially great for parents and families, users can privately share inside of Kadoo, publish to over 40+ Social Network communities that they may be members of, or share with just an email address. Best of all, when sharing by email (to say a grandmother or grandfather) they don't have to join to see the content.

    Its a full application, rotate photos, print photos, free faxing, video transcoding versus just a box for your files.

    If you are a teacher or professor, Kadoo is also integrated with Blackboard.

    Finally, we are pretty excited to be launching two new features. First, called Stories that pulls all this content (files, photos, videos, documents, etc...) into a sequence -- telling the full content rich story of your trip to Disney (for example). Second, a client sync tool that watches a directory on the PC or Mac and uploads the content to Kadoo!

    Sign up today for FREE, at and please do provide feedback!


  6. Zenphoto via Simplescripts is excellent.