Storing Your Photos Online
Considering the snap-happy nature of many digital photographers you are likely to fairly quickly find yourself in a position in which you are struggling to find storage space. Similarly, you might well be looking for a way to organise your photos but you don’t want them cluttering up your hard drive. If this describes you, then online storage may well be a good option.
Social NetworkingThere are now a huge number of online photo storage options available to consumers. These vary massively in both functionality and target market. The most popular sharing site, Flickr, is aimed squarely at enthusiast photographers who wish to get feedback on their images from other users. Flickr allows you to upload images to your own set of ‘galleries’, and allows other users to make comments on your images.
As the site has grown, new features have developed such as the ability to draw digital boxes in images in order to demonstrate where you think a photo should have been cropped. Flickr has been associated with the social networking phenomenon on the internet and, as such, is used by many people to meet like-minded individuals and discover new, unknown photographers, as much as it is used as a storage facility.
Print SalesOther sites offering free online storage tend to be aimed at people who are interested in having prints made. As such, these sites give complimentary space on their servers, and then offer you vast choices of print types and so-called ‘photo gifts’.
If you are interested in ordering prints from your digital images then these services may well be of use to you, particularly as the best (such as Photobox) also offer the ability to organise your images into galleries.
However, for photographers who are more interested in finding an environment in which they can properly sort their pictures, as well as adding keywords and other data, these services can seem very limited. They offer little of the functionality of some of the best Flickr-esque services, and you may well find that the effort expended on trying to organise your shots would be better-spent using a more intuitive site and ordering prints separately.
Your Own SiteIf you become slightly more serious about your photography, you may well also begin to consider setting up your own site. A good web presence is an absolute necessity for any professional photographer but, even if you aren’t interested in selling your services, it can also be a great way of sharing your images with the world.
Web hosting is fantastically cheap (it is perfectly possible to get adequate space for as little as £30 per year), and is generally very easy to set up. Indeed, you will need only the most basic knowledge of HTML to set up a site; there are a variety of free, downloadable ‘gallery’ templates that you simply upload to your site, and then add your photos to.
Developing your own website gives you the ultimate freedom, and can be a great way to begin to develop your photography into semi-professionalism. However, if you are looking for feedback or to find other like-minded photographers, then you may miss the social side of websites like Flickr.