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Lets be honest it can be quite time-consuming to upload, edit, tag, organize and share your images online. The online photo sharing service you choose is an investment choice, it will be difficult to change your mind later. With the constant surge of digital cameras embedded in every portable device, the online options to share your photos are limitless! I now have accounts with Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Photobucket, Photoshelter, and MobileMe. I was using combination of MobileMe, Facebook and Flickr. However, faced with the recent Apple Cloud upgrade and the pending demise of Apple’s MobileMe services, as well as my total overhaul of my workflow as a photographer, I am re-evaluating my options.

So I am now faced with a plethora of online services dedicated to photo sharing. Which to choose? Here are some pros and cons:

Flickr: By far the largest and most social of all online photo-sharing sites. Many professional photographers have a Flickr account to create awareness of their work as well as generate feedback. Once you are on Flickr – you tap into a huge online network of professionals, amateurs, and everyone else who has a camera (which is now anyone with a phone). Flickr makes tagging and sharing your photos quite easy. The cons? No desktop application, slide show options could be more stylish, duplicate photographs in your photostream if you upload photos to different sets. However, the pros of Flickr seem to far outweigh the cons – it also syncs with other sites such as twitter, wordpress, blogs, facebook etc.

Picasa: I am relatively new to Picasa, but I have a Gmail account and use google docs, and it seems to me Google is always far ahead of the pack in terms of innovation and technological revolutions. It’s tempting to use Picasa just to see what creative features Google will come up with for sharing and organizing online photo galleries. Plus having a google email account that I already use to share links and photo galleries with people makes it even more convenient to create photo galleries within the environment I’m already using. Apparently, they have a desktop application that makes it easy to edit and upload your photos to picasa, but I already have lightroom so this is not such a big deal for me.

Photobucket: Again I am just learning about this service, but it seems to be wired into our digital use of cameras and constant need for social networking, sharing, and instant ‘likes’. This online site also syncs nicely with your twitter account so you can actually insert the image into your twitter page, instead of just providing a link to it. I have just started exploring this option, but it does not seem to offer as much for advanced photographers as say Apple, Adobe or even Flickr. However, it seems they are going for a different target audience – young amateurs. They also have started developing several Photobucket Apps that apply interesting effects to your iPhone photos and then seamlessly upload them to your Photobucket account.

Apple: And what are the options that Apple will be providing to compete in this online photo networking battle royale? As of next summer MobileMe will be discontinued. Their replacement? Photo Stream a feature in their highly-anticipated Cloud system, which will offer editing, album creation and syncing between all of your devices – as well as the full spectrum of sharing to social networks. At what cost? Well currently its free, so not bad!

Adobe: Adobe has recently created its own version of the Cloud service, the highly anticipated Adobe Carousel, allowing you access and edit your images wherever you travel on both smart phones and tablets for a subscription fee of $5 per month. The pros of Carousel involve the use of editing features that have been taken from the popular Photoshop & Lightroom packages. Adobe has always excelled at offering a plethora of editing options, and Carousel is intended to act as an on the go all in one photo editing package – you can upload, edit, and share, while having the Cloud seamlessly integrate your photos with all of your devices, including a desktop library. Sounds great right? Not so fast – apparently it does not sync or communicate in any way with your Lightroom Catalogue. As someone who has just started using Lightroom, why would I go through the arduous task of organizing, editing, and developing two separate image catalogues? This makes no sense to me as they are both Adobe products, and yet they do not merge at all. Apple Photo Stream is apparently offering a very similar product, but for free! So… remind me why would I choose Adobe?

In the end, the decision you make reflects a certain amount of brand loyalty with mega-tech giants such as Google, Apple, and Adobe. These companies are in heavy competition with each other and for good reason! As technology becomes an ever more central part of our daily lives, these brands are granted a larger role and influence in our every day life. So choose wisely!

Any opinions out there? What online networks do you subscribe to for sharing your photographs?

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