Over the last few months, I've been developing my interest in photography, in particular as a result of acquiring a new digital SLR camera earlier this year (a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT - it's a great camera, incidentally). Despite my best efforts at editing unwanted pictures out of my collection, I currently have approximately 7,000 images (and counting). Aside from my desire to backup these precious memories in as many locations as possible, I've also been looking for an online hosting service where I can make selected images available for distant family and friends to view at their leisure. I've not yet found the ideal photo sharing site for my needs, which surprised me given how many are springing up all over the Internet. Perhaps my wish list is unreasonable, but I don't think any of my requests are outlandish:
So far, I don't seem to have found any one mainstream site that can deliver all of the above. Sites seem to fall into two categories - those whose primary function is hosting (usually for a membership fee), and those who are primarily selling prints and photo gifts (usually free). Here's a quick run-down of the ones I've looked at:
For the moment, I'm currently splitting my allegiances across two sites. I've started to upload all my photos to Shutterfly, since they have unlimited storage. I've ordered a couple of photo books from them and the quality has been really excellent, and they always have some special offer or another on which makes their prices reasonably attractive. I'm hoping that their photo sharing facilities will also gradually improve as they mature. I'm also investigating a new entry on my radar called Fotki which on the surface seems to do everything on my wish list above at a pretty reasonable price ($50/year). The one thing that puts me off Fotki so far is that the interface isn't as polished as some of the other sites - it's all a bit of a mish-mash of functionality rather than an integrated whole, which lends it a rather amateurish feel, but that's a minor point.
I'd be interested in any other recommendations or experiences: has anyone used another site other than the ones I mentioned above?