Comparison of Photo Sharing Websites

Photo Sharing ComparisonLast year I put together the first version of this comparison; since then several services have changed.

Smartphones and increasingly-powerful compact and DSLR cameras have led to a huge increase in photos being shared on the web; the hobbyist photographer has many options to share his or her work. Below is a comparison of seven leading photo sharing services; there are others on the market but I’m focusing on the most popular that offer a wide range of features and have decent market reach.

Photo Sharing Feature Comparison

 Flickr
Flickr
Facebook
Facebook
Google+
Google+
Instagram
Instagram
500px
500px
SmugMug
SmugMug
Zenfolio
Zenfolio
Free AccountsYesYesYesYesYesFree TrialFree Trial
Paid AccountsYesNoYesNoYesYesYes
Features of Paid AccountAdditional Storage

No ads***
n/aAdditional Storagen/aUnlimited uploads

Unlimited collections

Custom domain

HTML5 Portfolio

Priority support

Google Analytics
(All features of the site)

Unlimited uploads

Unlimited galleries

No ads

Customizable site appearance

Custom domain*

HD Video
(All features of the site)

Unlimited uploads

Unlimited galleries

Customizable site appearance

Custom domain*

HD Video
Paid Account Cost$49.99/yearn/avaries, starts at $2.49/month for 25GBn/a$19.95/year - $49.95/year depending on features$40/year - $300/year depending on features$30/year - $250/year depending on features
Single Photo Display Sizeresponsive**responsive**responsive615px900 px1600 px1550 px
Private/Protected AccountYesYesYesYesNoYesYes
Private/Protected GalleriesYesYesYesNoNoYesYes
Mapping / Geotagging SupportYesNoYesNoNoYesNo
WatermarkingNoNoNoNoNoYes*Yes*

Community

CommentingYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Like/Favorite/etc.YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Follow Specific Users / ContactsYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
Group Photo PoolsYesYesYesNoNoYesNo
Discover Popular PhotosYesNoNoYesYesYesYes

Social/Sharing

Embed Images ElsewhereYesNoNoNoYesYesYes
Share via TwitterYesNoNoYesYesYesYes
Share via FacebookYesYesNoYesYesYesYes
Share via TumblrYesNoNoYesNo

Mobile/App Interfaces

iPhone App for Posting PhotosYesYesYesYesNoYesYes
Android App for Posting PhotosYesYesYesYesNoYesYes
Instant Upload of all new Mobile PhotosNoYesYesNoNoYesNo
Ability to View Galleries from iPhone/AndroidYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
API for DevelopersYesYesLimitedYesLimitedYesYes

Photo Sales

Sell Photo Prints at CostYesNoYesNoNoYesYes*
Sell Photo Prints for ProfitNoNoNoNoYesYes*Yes*
Set Your Own Profit MarginNoNoNoNoNoYes*Yes*
Sell Digital Licenses to PhotosYesNoNoNoYesYes*Yes*
 FlickrFacebookGoogle+Instagram500pxSmugMugZenfolio

* – this feature is available on some of the paid account levels, but not all
** – responsive photo display indicates that the image is shown at a size that best fills the available browser space
*** – these features are based on Flickr’s current paid offerings. Those with “Pro” accounts prior to May 2013 also have additional features that are no longer available

Beyond Specs: My Thoughts on the Services

Back in ye olden days of the internet, Flickr was king among photo sharing sites. Then came other services and the rise of social networks, allowing Facebook to dethrone Flickr as the photo hosting/sharing champion. Instagram came on strong in the last couple of years but seems to have faltered a bit lately as its Terms of Service debacle coincided with Flickr releasing a great mobile app. Recent Flickr updates have allowed for bigger photos in the contacts views, but they’ve moved away from Pro accounts as a mainstream feature.

As I see it, much of the social photography conversation which once happened on Flickr is now happening on Google+.

Facebook is the most popular social network in the world but there are those, like me, who don’t use it for various reasons.

For the serious amateur (or pro) who wants to sell prints and products, both SmugMug and Zenfolio offer solid services; using these links gives me a small referral fee.

What do you think? Where do you share photos (and why)? Drop a comment below…

Comments

  1. Eric S says

    Hey Aaron, you might want to have a look at this on an iPad (portrait orientation). Things are scrolling on top of the chart, making it difficult to read.

  2. Fred Brundick says

    There is no Stats cell for Zenfolio, and the cells below that are moved up.

    I use Flickr for bulk loading images and have started using Zenfolio for only my best shots.

    • says

      As I put together the list, I had to decide what to include and exclude and my overall criteria was for sites that would be used by the general public including serious amateurs/hobbyists. I chose not to include Photoshelter because it’s more of a serious pro tool (and is priced accordingly… the cheapest Photoshelter account is 3-4x the price of SmugMug or Zenfolio’s basic accounts).

      That said, if you’re looking for something at the higher end of photo hosting and ecommerce, definitely give Photoshelter a look.

    • says

      You’re correct Ron, I missed this when updating the chart after Flickr’s recent changes. Thanks for pointing out my error; I’ve corrected it.

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