My Flickr premium subscription has just expired. I have been very happy with the paid service but I have the feeling that I can find a good replacement for free somewhere.
The free version of Flickr is also nice but really lacks if you want to use it as your main photo storage. Only the last 200 photos will be shown for instance and you don’t get to view and share images in their original resolution.
Let’s try to get all those benefits for free with a review of the online photo sharing sites that challenge Flickr.
Picasa is Google’s take on a photo site. It’s clean, it’s free, it’s fast and reliable. Picasa is especially known for its desktop application that can organize and edit your photos. I can recommend this software whatever photo sharing website you’re going to use.
The free web component offers 1GB of space for photos and videos and unlimited bandwidth. A feature that you’ll not find quickly somewhere else is facial recognition. The only paid advantage that you can get is a storage upgrade that you’ll be able to share with your Gmail account. Yearly prices in dollars or euros (they’re the same, oddly enough) range from 5,- for 20 GB to 4069,- for 16 TB (yes, that’s terabytes). I’m not sure who’d have four thousand dollars to spend on photo storage, but I guess they’re the same people who have 16 terabytes of photos.
Ovi is the portal of Nokia. Their photo sharing site is inconveniently named “Share on Ovi” or “Ovi Share by Nokia” or something. What’s important however is that anyone can use the site for free whatever mobile phone you have.
The latest Nokia smartphones do come with an easy way to synchronize their photos to Ovi Share however. Nokia bought the company Twango in 2007 and rebuilt it to Ovi Share, which opened to the public in February 2008. Earlier this year however Nokia announced they will not improve the site much further due to disappointing usage numbers. This excellent site will remain live and free though.
Ovi actually comes closest to the features you get with a paid Flickr Pro membership. Unlimited storage and bandwidth and a very nice clear interface.
Zooomr is a very complete photo sharing website, more geared towards social sharing. You get practically all of the features for free, a paid account only frees you from ads and lets you know who faved and commented on your images. There is a page called the Zipline which shows all the latest photos and activity of your contacts. Also, it’s possible to make a profile for yourself.
Zooomr also offers unlimited storage space and bandwidth, but doesn’t support videos. As it focuses more on social interaction you get profiles, an overview of activity and people tagging and geotagging.
Snapixel is a very clean photosite. So what’s special about Snapixel? It’s a photo sharing site and marketplace in one. You can use it to sell and buy stockphotos, but also just use it as your photo storage. There is a free version and a $9.95 / year Pro version.
It’s geared towards professional photography and therefore offers 5GB of space but a limited bandwidth. Another limit is that images must be .JPG and have to be wider than 665 pixels. It is nice though that selling your images is very accessible, so it’s great for any semi-professional or starting photographer.
Guess what, there is a coupon code to get the first year of Pro for free.
Another well known photo site is Photobucket. The free version is very similar to the free Flickr when you look at the figures. Many people use it for small images such as avatars and images and videos shared on social networks. But it’s also possible to store your photo collection there.
They have just lowered their amount of free storage space however to 500 MB. But that still holds quite a lot of photos. You will not be able to see the original size though like on Flickr. So use this if you’re looking for a no-hassle photo and video site and have a small sized collection.
When you have picked a photo sharing site, you can easily migrate your photos to it using Migratr. This application downloads all of your photos to your computer and then uploads them to a site of your choice. It’s really easy and the best thing is, it also exports all of your metadata such as titles and tags.
You can also just use it as a backup system for your photos. A bummer is that you will not be able to retrieve any photos over the 200 limit of Flickr if you don’t have the Pro membership. It doesn’t support Ovi and Snapixel yet, but you can make a Flickr backup with Migratr and than use bulk upload on your new site. Snapixel does support adding tags and titles to images by IPTC.
So please give me some advice. Should I transfer my photos to another site? Will I choose the dependability and clearness of Picasa, the complete features of Share.Ovi, the social functions of Zooomr, the marketplace and professional setup of Snapixel or the easiness of Photobucket? Or should I just invest in another year of Flickr Pro membership? Or do you know another even better photo sharing site?
Image credit: murilocardoso