Recommended for photo sharing
1X: the photo sharing website for the best of the best. Well, that’s their marketing! But no kidding, you will find there wonderful shots and great photographers. However, the site is not evolving that much and seems to have its reputation peaking around 2013, and declining since. The stream looks now somewhat old fashioned, and does not give the great images the experience you should expect. So in conclusion, that’s a somewhat classic photo sharing website to (try to) post your best pictures.
500px: this site is not about sharing life moments. 500px is the place to post your best shots and to look at great photos. It is not as elitist as 1X can be. It is a great place to interact with enthusiast and skills photographers, and show your work to a somewhat large audience. Acquired in 2018 by the Chinese company VCG, it is becoming more global and less American centric. Time will say what kind of value the merge will bring to users.
Flickr: The old lady of photo sharing… The community’s size and activity are impressive. The site is fast, responsive and you will find there more or less most of the features and the services you are looking for. Being acquired by Smugmug, we all hope it will bring back a great user experience. Let’s wait and see what they will become…
Unsplash: it is not so easy to define to which category it belongs to. Is it really a place to share your images? Well, it is more to promote your work as the objective of the site is to propose great images free of all rights so that they can be reused for whatever purpose, non commercial or commercial ones. This may be a controversial service, but it delivers really fantastic photos and the visibility you can get is certainly impressive.
FStoppers: highly recommended. Pro or semi-pro community of photographers. Amazing images. Great tips. Community really engaged. You don’t go there just to show case your work, but to learn and improve.
Tumblr: a kind of mixture between WordPress and twitter. The microblogging site is great for engaging and sharing your work. The community can be vibrant. The user experience is certainly different from the other, with even some Pinterest flavour by re-posting the other images.
35 Photo Pro: mostly by and for Russian speaking photographers. Excellent galleries, high profile photographers. Really a great site to improve your skills and enjoy great shots taken by amazing people.
More a social network than a photo sharing service
Facebook: Whereas FB does not care about pictures but about what people will say about them, it does not mean they are not very likely to become the photo sharing website. They finally understood – late 2011 – that they could and should implement the features and services other photo sharing websites are proposing. Can a photographer really not expose its works there? Yes of course, but he/she will be one of a kind.
Instagram: square pictures, retro digital filters, and the place to be when it comes to celebrate oneself. The place to self-market our miserable person and let the other believe our vacations were fantastic, our bodies amazing and our life going on without any cloud in the sky. Seriously, it is difficult not to publish on this service given its popularity. Another service that we love to hate.
Twitter: I can’t say which way they will evolve… One has to admit it is a photo sharing website, but somewhere it is very specific. But it is so useful when it comes to promote your work or connect with others. Like FB, it has become a must, whether you like it or not.
Imgur: the user experience is funny and pleasant. Like Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram, everything there is very transient. The community is vibrant but it is a mixed of everything. They are more surfing on the wave of social digital media, including videos, animated gif or still pictures than on innovation dedicated to photography. But it can be a funny social network, that’s not too bad.
More a way to store or/and sell images than to share your work
Smugmug; it is more about showing your work than just sharing it. But the services provided are really extensive and the company’s offer looks to me quite unique and very well done compare with similar companies. If you want to sell your images, or if you want to show them in a professional way, you should have a look at their offers.
Zenfolio: quite similar to Smugmug, with an excellent reputation too from its users. More a showcase service than a real photo sharing service tough, like Smugmug again.
Google Photos: cutting-edge technology, fantastic features and an overall disappointing experience due the usual habits of Google to believe they know better than you what you need. Customization is challenging, some features stay unfinished for years, … But from a storing perspective, certainly a great and secured tool.
Amazon Prime Photos: Amazon is positioning itself very clearly as a back-up solution. Probably very interesting from a price perspective to Amazon Prime members, it is not the most advanced tool for other purpose. However, given the pace of innovation at Amazon, it is worth following the developments of the services.
Dropbox: very good tool to store and share assets in small groups. No real specific advantage when it comes to photography. Probably a good solution if you already use it and have some (hundreds of) gigabytes available. More as a back-up solution than really part of your workflow.
Microsoft OneDrive: like Dropbox, excellent tool to back-up. Instead of Dropbox, there is a real interest in developing features specific to images. However, the overall solution is, for now, quite immature and somewhat more limited than even Google Photos.
Apple Photos: again, more a back up tool and mostly for Apple users even if some basic features can be available for Windows. However, the experience proposed by iCloud Photo Library is quite mature and one of the most efficient I have used so far, for a consumer application. Yes, like Google engineers, they believe they are smarter than us so we have to use the tool as it is.
Adobe Portfolio: the tool itself is not that easy to use. But the overall concept makes sense if you want to be locked-in to Adobe. As long as this is fine for you, the integration between the editing-organizing tools Photoshop/Lightroom, the cloud storage and the portfolio itself does make sense.
Other photo sharing services
Devian Art: I like the community, its spirit, motivations. It is more about the “art” than just “another social community”. Whereas I still find the look and feel not very artistic to say the less, if not depressing, the user experience is interesting and pleasant. It is definitively worth a try and make your own mind!
Pinterest: First you need to understand it, there is an excellent article, kind of “Pinterest for dummies”. It is more about collecting than just a transient stream with all the pros and cons that this may mean. Maybe just another website (as the hype finally went down, as usual), but that’s still a good way to expose some pictures and share photos.
Photobucket: Whereas much more well connected to other social websites, it looks to me quite similar to Flickr, but without the same popularity. For a newbie, I don’t really see the point investing in such a photo sharing website which is well done, but without some specific and unique real value. According to Alexa, I am not the only one to believe so.
Fotki: another photo sharing website, quite popular in some countries in Europe, mostly. The bottom line: it does not really propose something new or specific. Its community size looks limited compare with the biggest players and its user experience does not look great to me, not bad either, just average and somewhat old fashioned.
Fotolog: whereas popular in some countries (mainly in South America), I am concerned by two weaknesses: first its popularity is declining at a concerning pace (according to Alexa), and the website does not really propose something specific. The second is certainly the cause of the first…
And there is much more…
Shutterfly or Send Photos (for both: just two other photo sharing websites like many, mainly driven by a photo print business), Snapfish (like Shutterfly), Webshot (American centric, outdated and declining popularity), Dropshot and Slickpic (for both: no specific value, and confidential compare with other), My picture town (Nikon-centric and without many innovations), and much more (difficult to follow all of them) can be from time to time, or for some people, quite useful. But I don’t recommend any of them for the hereabove reasons.