August 20th, 2012
A lot has changed in the two years since we posted our list of the best free photo sharing sites. Not only are several of those sites no longer in operation, but we now have different needs and lifestyles as well. Two years ago we were seeking an alternative to email for sharing photos, as the resolution of our digital images and size of their files increased and exceeded the limit for attachments. These days three patterns have changed everything – affordable digital cameras can now achieve 18 megapixels, we are a mobile society often using smartphones in lieu of cameras, and photo sharing through social media is growing in popularity. With all those considerations in mind, here is our new updated list. I think you’ll agree that although there are fewer outstanding free sites, the ones that remain have added many good features.
Shutterfly still offers unlimited storage of photos at full resolution, and promises never to delete them. New users still get 50 free prints and a free Shutterfly Share site, with frequent discounts on personalized products. Glossy prints can be picked up within an hour at even more convenient locations than before in Target, CVS and Walgreens. They’re also now providing photo services for former Kodak Gallery customers, automatically moving all photos after that service ended in July 2012. If you are a former Kodak Gallery customer, you can get more information here. Shutterfly’s new mobile tools for iPhone and iPad allow easy uploading or sharing on Facebook, and support ROKU to display pictures on your wifi-enabled TV.
Snapfish by HP gives you the option to upload or email, view, and share your files from anywhere using their apps for iPhone or Android, or with your phone’s browser. New members get 20 free prints, and additional discounts on personalized products by email are posted here, as well as a photo scanning service to help you preserve your heirloom photos. Prints and other select items on the site that display the ‘Pick-Up In-Store’ logo are available the same day at Walmart, Walgreens, Meijer, and Duane Reade. See details here.
Photobucket was already a personal favorite of mine before they added more editing tools and options. This site allows you to store unlimited photos and up to 500 videos for life that you can share through Facebook, Twitter, or by email link. You can use their photo editor to create slideshows, collages or other personalized images and gifts. They offer the most mobile apps, supporting iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7. They’ve just days ago announced their new beta site with even more improvements, and you can request an invitation to try it here .
Flickr from Yahoo is still the same no-frills site as before, but it does include mobile tools that are described with download links here. Using a Yahoo ID and password, you can sign up for a free account limited to resized images with 2 videos and 300 MB of photos uploaded each calendar month. You have to upgrade to a Pro account for $24.95 per year to remove those limits.
A final word
Simply posting your photos on Facebook is certainly a way to share your vacation pictures in low resolution with friends. You can do that easily with a free app like Instagram and even plot the location on their new photo map, described here. But these four full-featured sites offer the best options among the free services for secure storage of the images you treasure, and they’re perfect for travelers who need to upload images from anywhere. You and your friends have the option to use full resolution images to create gift items later. Do you agree or disagree? Tell us about your experience on other sites that weren’t included in our list.
Entry Filed under: Shopping