For the past few weeks I’ve been pruning my iPhoto collection. After trimming, cropping, enhancing, deleting, adding keywords, and deleting the crummy photos, I’m down to just over 5,000 total photos. Now what?
Which of the web’s many online photo album services is the best?
That’s easier to ask than answer. I’m not fond of spending too much money just to make my photo collection available for family and friends. And whatever I choose it needs to be an easy way to upload photos.
Here’s what I’ve found so far. There are dozens of places to create web photo albums. Some are free, most don’t charge much, a few have Mac software to help with the upload process.
The latest version of iPhoto comes with both Flickr and MobileMe upload buttons; the former somewhat crippled, and the latter ultra easy.
I already have a MobileMe account so I could save money by using the Gallery, which provides up to 20 gigabytes of online storage. I don’t need quite that much, of course, but I find the Gallery rather boring and with limited features.
Speaking of boring, Flickr may be the most popular but most Flickr albums look pretty much the same, and they have a monthly limit for uploads. Picasa web albums suffer a similar problem. Both have so-called pro versions for more storage and options.
SnapFish is pretty cool but it’s basically a photo and album sharing service to entice viewers to get photo prints.
MyPhotoAlbum surprised me with a healthy list of features, no storage limits, no upload caps, no ads, no spam, no registration required for viewers, and the ability to purchase photos online as prints.
ShutterFly also stores for free, and like iPhoto, has all kinds of customized options to create photo books, cards and stationery, posters and more.
Kodak Gallery is similar but their new user terms require you to purchase from the Gallery within 90 days, and at least once a year, and for a minimum amount. No thanks.
SmugMug I really like. Unlimited storage and traffic, no registration requirements for visitors, full resolution, and video options. My new Canon camera takes thousands of digital photos and up to an hour of video.
The price tag ranges from about $30 to $150 a year. Ouch. There are many other online web album and storage solutions, too. This is my first group for testing.
This week I’ve devoted time to registering at each of the online web albums and I’ve practiced uploading photos. My entire collection of photos is in iPhoto, so Flickr and MobileMe make uploads amazingly simple.
Flickr, Picasa, SmugMug, MyPhotoAlbum, and ShutterFly have standalone utilities or plugins for Mac users to enhance the upload process. I’m also leaning toward a single account that lets me upload photos from my iPhone.
In order of my current preference, sans reader feedback and recommendations, I like my top four about evenly: MobileMe, MyPhotoAlbum, SmugMug, ShutterFly, then Flickr, Picasa, SnapFish, and Kodak.
My question to Mac360 readers is simple. Which online web album photo service do you recommend and why?