Remember when you had to take your camera film to the local photo shop to be developed to see the photos you had taken? Though some people still use cameras with film in them, most of us these days use digital cameras or smartphones, which deliver instant results.
Taking and sharing digital images has never been more popular, and thanks to numerous online services, it's now possible to share your photographs with friends, family or even the entire world.
The question is what services should you choose to share pictures on the internet? We look at different services, what they cost and what they can be used for.
There is an ocean of photo sharing services on the web and they have different uses:
Blogs - are often used to create photo blogs or photo albums, or tell a travel story with a mixture of text and images. Examples: Blog.com, Blogger.com, WordPress.com.
Micro Blogs - are used to share one photo at a time, and often without text or with just a short text messages. Such impulse messages have become very popular lately. Examples: Tumblr, Twitter.
Social networking sites - are used to communicate on several different levels, including sharing pictures. Examples: Facebook, Google+.
Web storage - this is services which basically provides storage of digital files, but also offers photo sharing. Examples: SkyDrive and DropBox.
Special Services where you can comment on each others photographs. This type of sharing is particularly useful for photographers, and other photo enthusiasts. Examples: 500px, Flickr.
Some of these services may also be used for backup, but it's a good idea to have a backup of your images locally, for example on an external drive.
Photo Sharing Services
We have listed various services in alphabetical order.
500px.com is a photo sharing service for photography enthusiasts, with over 1.5 million members - the name 500px was named so because 500 pixels was once considered very good picture quality for viewing on the web. The maximum size of images on this site has since been increased, but the name is unchanged. You can create a personal profile where you can showcase your photos
License types on 500px
Registered users of 500px can determine the type of license they use on their images. The default licence is called "default 500px License", which means that images are subject to copyright law. Also, 500px will not sell your photos without your consent, as stated in the terms.
If you want to change this, you can click on a particular image, and then select "Edit" and "License Type". Here you can among other things choose 6 different Creative Commons license types - you'll find a list of these on 500px.com.
Free: you can publish a maximum of 10 pictures per week.
Plus: $ 19.95 per year - unlimited number of photos, unlimited sets and advanced statistics.
Awesome: $ 49.99 per year - unlimited number of photos, you get several extra features, plus the ability to customize your profile page, and a sub domain name with access to Google Analytics.
Blogger.com is a publishing service for bloggers, which is now owned by Google. This is basically a USA based service, but it supports multiple languages.
Dropbox provides storage of digital images and any other files - you can also use the service to share photos. DropBox offers 2GB of free storage.
Ello is a new social networking website. As well as creating a social profile, you can also share photos.
Facebook.com is a social networking website, originally created in 2004 and designed for students in the US, but is now available for all worldwide. Facebook is a social network for sharing information and images with your Facebook friends.
On Facebook you can post pictures and create photo albums. You can post 1000 photos per album. If you want better quality images, select "High quality" when you create an album.
Flickr.com is one of the most popular photo sharing sites you can find online, with over 51 million members. Here you can get feedback from other users about your images, and can even comment on others.
You must have Yahoo ID account to log into Flickr, but this is free. Read more about the service at flickr.com/help.
License types on Flickr
The default selection on Flickr is called "None", which according to Flickr is "All rights reserved" and it means that the rights of the image is reserved for the owner.
You can optionally change this by clicking on a particular image, and select "Edit" link next to "All Rights Reserved." Here you can choose different types of "Creative Commons" Licenses.
Free: you can post pictures that don't exceed 300 MB per month.
Pro: For $ 24.95 per year, you can publish unlimited photos.
Google+ is perceived by many as Google's answer to Facebook, an online community with the opportunity to post pictures and create photo albums.
Most images you upload will be uploaded in the standard size, then scaled to 2048 pixels. You can store an unlimited number of images in standard size on Google+.
Photo uploads are counted in your storage quota on Google Drive. If you use up your storage quota on Google Drive Google+ begins to automatically upload the pictures in standard size. When it starts getting low on space, you will get a notification in the notification area. You can optionally buy more storage if you need this.
Google Drive offers storage of digital files and also digital photos - here you can also share images with other users. This service offers 15GB of free storage.
Imgbox is a free service that offers storage of images, with the ability to link to images. Supports image types JPG, GIF and PNG.
Maximum image size is set to 10 MB. Imgbox basically offers unlimited storage, but it is unclear how this is controlled in practice - the company speaks only of "fair use" on its help page.
Imgur is a free photo sharing service, with the the ability to leave comments and ratings on images.
The service has a maximum size of 10 MB. If the image is larger, it is automatically compressed.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of Imgur is that you can post pictures online, without registering. You simply select "Upload Images" and "Computer" or "Web", select the image you want to publish and select "Start upload". You will then get a separate page with the current picture, with the ability to edit the image and/or share the image on social sites. You can create a direct link to the image, which can be used to share it via email or elsewhere.
Tumblr is a microblogging service. Here you can add text, images, music and video.
Maximum size of images are 10MB and the service accepts image types JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP. Animated GIFs are allowed but with a maximum size of 1 MB and no larger than 500 pixels.
Tumblr is similar to Twitter, in that both services are used to publish short messages. One of the differences is that photos and videos from Tumblr are displayed directly in the browser, while Twitter only shows a link to images.
Twitter is a micro-blogging service. Twitter is basically made for short text messages (maximum 140 characters) but you can also post pictures and videos.
Maximum size of an image is set to 3 MB and you are only allowed to post one picture at a time. GIF, JPEG and PNG are allowed. BMP, TIFF and animated GIFs are not allowed. Read more about Twitter at support.twitter.com.
WordPress is a blogging publishing platform, which is based on PHP and MySQL.
WordPress can be used to manage web content that is frequently updated, especially blogs. This system can partly be used to create and maintain photo blogs. Read more about WordPress at support.wordpress.com.
Many of the services listed on this page do not go into great detail about license types in their terms, and therefore it is uncertain who has the rights to the image that is being published, unless the photographer has the watermark image, or in another way secured the rights.
After low user engagement and the discovery of a software error, that potentially exposed the data of hundreds of thousands of its users, Google has decided to pull the plug on its social media platform.