When you want a service that will organise your uploaded photos, tag them with the date and location, and then share them out to friends, you have plenty of web services to choose from. Many offer editing tools, and others have huge communities. Here's a look at five of the most popular web sites for robust image hosting.
Photo by Andrew Magill.
A number of you noted that SmugMug was the ideal photo hosting service for pros – people who really care about their shots. It might have something to do with the unlimited storage for paid users, live customer support, and the elegant and attractive themes and galleries that SmugMug offers. Additionally, SmugMug allows you to quickly share your photos with friends on Facebook and Twitter, mobile apps for iOS and Android, and support for direct uploads from multiple image editing apps.
Google's Picasa started off as a small service, but with age and features it grew into a photo hosting and image sharing powerhouse that's free for everyone to use, gives you editing features and gallery management tools, and both a desktop app to keep track of your photos locally and a web app to help you build galleries to share with the web. Picasa integrates with your Google account for sharing, and while it doesn't have mobile apps, you will see your Picasa Web Albums photos on your Android phone.
Photobucket does an amazing job of walking the line between social network and photo hosting service. Photobucket's pride is in its users and the way they can connect to one another, share photos with each other or with the world via Twitter, Facebook, or even on their own sites by embedding their photos directly. Photobucket also has mobile apps for iOS and Android, and now the previously mentioned Snapbucket mobile app that makes snapping photos on your phone a bit more fun.
Close to 700 million users couldn't be wrong, could they? Uploading your photos directly to Facebook is easy, and since its photo hosting and gallery management tools are easy to use, they're a great way to get your images in front of the people you want to see them. Plus, you can tag your friends and let them know you uploaded a photo of them, for good or ill. Facebook has mobile apps for virtually every platform, and all of them allow you to post photos. There are no image editing tools, but what it lacks in pro features it makes up for as a social network.
Mention image sharing on the web and Flickr will probably be the first site to jump to mind. With a pro account, you can upload as many photos you want and organize them into as many galleries and collections as you choose. It's cheap and almost every photo sharing app supports Flickr uploads. Flickr's competition may have it beat on themes and customisations or mobile apps (Flickr only has official mobile apps for iPhone and Windows Phone 7,) but what it loses it makes up for with an open API and huge community of developers, professional photographers, and photo enthusiasts of all experience levels.
This week's honorable mention goes to Windows Live Skydrive, which a few of you mentioned gives users a lot of space for free photo and video sharing. It also connects directly with Microsoft Office and Windows Live Photo Gallery for editing and management, and even with Windows Live Movie Maker for video production and uploads.
Did we miss your favorite? Have something to say about the contenders? Leave your thoughts in the comments.