How We Selected Our Lineup
Between phones, tablets, cameras and desktops, there are ways to de-clutter and create a central location to store all of your treasured photos. When selecting the best photo sharing services, we sought out virtual photo albums where you can store, organize and share your photos. We included services for aspiring or professional photographers that allow artists to build an online presence through online portfolios, photo storage and social media.
All of the services in our buying guide have paid plans that offer more storage, eCommerce tools and security features. We eliminated image-sharing companies that did not provide security features to ensure your images remain secure. If you want to learn more, check out our articles about photo sharing services.
Based on our research, we selected the standouts for both professional and amateur photographers as well as the best service for sharing and circulating images. Here are our recommendations:
Best for Professional Photographers
Most professional photographers seeking a picture sharing service want a company that can help them boost their photography business. Zenfolio does just that: When you sign up for a paid plan, you receive all the means to create an online portfolio and storefront.
One advantage of this photo sharing service is that everything is customizable so you can create your own online portfolio for clients and visitors to view. Uploading photos can be done in minutes, and you can view statistic reports to see how many people have looked at specific albums and images.
Additionally, Zenfolio can help you make money from your photography. You can sell your images from the website or even use this company's print shop to create merchandise such as apparel or photobooks featuring your images.
Recommendation Service for Professional Photographers - Zenfolio
Best for Amateur Photographers
For photographers who are just starting out or who haven't quite found their niche, SmugMug is an excellent option for a photo sharing service. Not only can you store and share images, this photo share service is designed to help boost your online visibility. It helps you create an online portfolio. It also assists with your search engine optimization, or SEO, so you can gain more exposure and find more clients. Furthermore, with this image sharing company, you can share your photos on most social networks and can easily email images to friends or family.
Another option worth considering is Fotki. It does not provide the features and tools that SmugMug offers, but for the beginning photographer, this is the place to gather feedback and comments regarding your images. This service hosts numerous photo contests you can enter. While there aren't any prizes, your photos gain exposure and users leave feedback. You can connect with other photographers, collaborate, gather feedback, and help one another improve and promote your new business.
Best for Sharing Images
Flickr is an extremely popular photo sharing site and for good reason. This service works seamlessly with other social media sites, allowing you to share your images to most of your social media channels in just a few clicks. You can share on many popular sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. Furthermore, mobile apps allow you to upload photos immediately from your tablet or smartphone and share them within a matter of seconds.
Recommendation for Sharing Images - Flickr
Storage Capacity & Upload Options
Uploading should be effortless for single and entire collections of images. But storage capacity can affect upload times. Whether you typically use a cell phone or a professional camera, your images need lots of space.
Look for a service with a minimum of 10GB of total storage and a high maximum upload size. Depending on your camera, seek out services that can handle at least 20MB per image. With most image sharing services, the more advanced and costly plan will provide the most storage space. The best companies offer plans with unlimited storage, but this perk is often available on plans suited for professional photographers and those who upload large images.
Furthermore, the upload options of the photo sharing service are also important. You want to look for bulk uploading capabilities, particularly if you are a professional photographer and capture numerous images at once. In addition, if you capture lots of images from your mobile devices, such as a smartphone, you'll want a service that offers uploading options, usually in the form of an app, from these mobile devices as well.
With photo sharing services, because you are putting your images on display for the public, you need protection to ensure your images remain your own. You don't want to deal with any copyright issues or stolen images in the future.
Look for companies that allow you to determine who has access to view certain images. You should be able to choose whether an image or entire album is public or private. Also, some companies allow you to set passwords on certain albums so you can control exactly who has access to your images. You can even hide albums or images or block them from internet searches.
Whether you're a cat picture connoisseur or launching your photography business, look for a photo sharing service that meets your specific needs and helps you do exactly what you want with your favorite images.