6 of the best online photo storage sites

Test Three: Printing options

Once your images are online, what else can you get?

Sharing images online is great, but for many people a good old-fashioned print is still the best way to view a picture; with a hard copy you don't need to power up a computer and it even works in a power cut.

Test 3

In this test, it's fair to say that Snapfish is ahead of the crowd, as its photo printing options are very good. Clearly Snapfish is designed as a photo-printing site first and is probably more geared to that aim than it is a photo-sharing site, but the benefits to this are obvious considering the range of services.

The Snapfish service can also import your images from Flickr, and you can use UK printing services.

You can order prints from iPhoto and Picasa, but neither offers printing from the web, as yet.

Google offers web printing for US customers, as does Photobucket, so it may arrive in the UK soon.

We really liked the way SmugMug managed the printing option. The interface is slick and easy to follow, but again services are mailed from the US, so incur extra costs.

Test Four: Sharing

Letting the world see your pictures should be simple

Sharing your images with the rest of the world is one of the best things about photo sharing sites.

By far and away the best site for this is Flickr. The large community of users and simple linking makes it easy to share images and for them to be found by others. Geotagging and tags all help to make your images more visible. Flickr also makes it easy to hide your pictures from the outside world.

Test 4

SmugMug's approach to sharing is also to be applauded, with simple and efficient ways to let people know where your photos can be found. It's not that they necessarily offer a larger range of possibilities as much as they make the process of sharing simple.

Snapfish loses major points by requiring users to create an account to view albums.

MobileMe galleries certainly look impressive, but not all the features work well in all web browsers. Photobucket enables one-click sharing with Facebook, MySpace and Twitter as well as the web.

The Winner: Flickr

Pricing a winner was difficult because each service offers a slightly different perspective on photo sharing.

Winner flickr

Obviously, Apple's MobileMe service has a host of extra, unrelated benefits – this in complete contrast to SmugMug, whose offering is wholly aimed and tailored for the photographer. In fact, though SmugMug doesn't win the test we'd like to make a mention of it here as an excellent service well worth checking out – if you're an enthusiastic amateur or prolific pro, then the service has much to offer.

Flickr is still the one to beat though. The range of options is excellent and while there's little control over display, the layout is easy to follow. Powerful and simple to use, Flickr takes the top spot.


First published in MacFormat Issue 224

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