7 Alternatives to Flickr

flickr_logo.jpgBefore we talk about what the alternatives to Flickr are, let’s first consider what flickr does for us. Flickr is great for sharing photos for free. It’s definately the biggest photo sharing community on the web.

The community features on Flickr are very deep and part of what makes Flickr so successful. Groups are one of the easy ways to get involved in the Flickr community. Groups revolve around a general topic that’s usually related to the kind of photos that users take or the kind of gear that they use. You can share your photos in the groups’ pools or engage in discussion in forums with the groups.

Still, there are some limitations to Fickr’s free accounts that detract from its usefulness. When you have a free Flickr account, you can upload 100MB worth of photos each calendar month. This is a bandwidth limit, and not an amount of space that you have on Flickr servers.

Flickr also allows you to create sets for photos from a particular event or just photos that you want grouped together. I’ve put together sets for things like the 2007 Tour de Georgia and 2007 NORBA Showdown at Sugar. With a free Flickr account you’re limited to only 3 sets.

If you spring for the pro account at $24.95 per year, you get a whole lot more:

  • Unlimited uploads (10MB per photo)
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited photosets
  • Archiving of high-resolution original images
  • The ability to replace a photo
  • Post any of your photos in up to 60 group pools
  • Ad-free browsing and sharing

Considering what you get, this is quite a bargain. For some reason, I’ve never upgraded. Perhaps it’s because Smugmug is my service of choice. Before we get into that though, let’s take a look at the other alternatives to Flickr.

deviant-art.jpgDeviantART is probably less like Flickr than any of the other alternatives listed here. Check out what’s been popular lately at DeviantART.

As you can see, DeviantART is more of an art community than a photo sharing site. And it is a very active community with tons of chat rooms and forums to chime in on. You’ll even find a forum dedicated to reports of other’s who ripoff an artist’s work.

Part of DeviantART’s mission:

Most importantly we intend to take our time to do it right. For the first time in history there is connection and communication between artists and fans on a massive scale. deviantART represents a breakthrough for the promotion and exposure of otherwise stranded artists in all corners of the globe. Our job is to make sense of the possibility, and craft it in a responsible manner.

DeviantART offers both free and Choice memberships. The Choice membership is $29.95 per year and offers a number of upgrades:

  • Get up to 120 Deviations per page when browsing
  • Browse with No Ads
  • Browse Way Back all the way to 2000
  • Customize 20 slots on your front page
  • Download art to your Mobile Phone with deviantMOBILE
  • Make journals with Polls, Forum, Shoutbox, and even CSS

If you have crazy Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator skills or you use some other program to manipulate your photos extensively, then the DeviantART community may be for you.

Zooomr reminds me a lot of Flickr. It has many of the same photo sharing features, like SmartSets (think Flickr sets, but smarter) and Groups. Additionally, with Zooomr you get unlimited bandwidth, file storage and uploading and . . . it’s all free. One thing Zooomr does that Flickr doesn’t is the Zipline. Basically, Zipline allows you to keep in touch with what your contacts are doing, as they’re doing it. Uploading is also simpler with Zooomr. The interface is as intuitive as a Mac and you get great and simple visual feedback on your uploads, file by file.

You can also get a pro account with Zooomr. While you can’t do any better than unlimited for your photo sharing options, you’ll get some increased functionality from Zooomr’s social aspects.

Zooomr also has a more liberal stance on censorship issues than we’ve seen in the past at Flickr:

  1. Data that can identify individual users should not be hosted in Internet restricting countries, where political speech can be treated as a crime by the legal system.
  2. The company will not engage in pro-active censorship.
  3. The company will use all legal means to resist demands for censorship. The company will only comply with such demands if required to do so through legally binding procedures.
  4. Users will be clearly informed when the company has acceded to legally binding government requests to filter or otherwise censor content that the user is trying to access.
  5. Users should be informed about the company’s data retention practices, and the ways in which their data is shared with third parties.
  6. The company will document all cases where legally-binding censorship requests have been complied with, and that information will be publicly available.

If Zooomr looks like your thing, add me as a contact when you join.

fotki.jpg Fotki seems like it’s really trying to outdo Flickr, and may be succeeding in some areas. While Fotki is easy to use, it has a lot of different options that can be overwhelming at first. One rather popular feature that’s prominent on the front page is free unlimited photo hosting for websites, blogs, emails and auctions.

For sharing, the free account is a little limited with only 50MB of storage space. Move up to the $30 pro account and you get unlimited storage space for your shared photos. Additionally, premium users can use Fotki as a selling platform, and Fotki only takes a 15% cut from prices that you set. Also, it’s one of the few photo hosting sites to offer its members FTP access.

You can order your own photos from Fotki for as little as $.09 for a 4×6 print. And there’s always an abundance of photo contests going on for members to participate in. Every premium user also gets a Journal, which is essentially a Fotki user’s blog.

pbase.jpgPBase does not offer a free account option. You get 500MB of storage for $23 per year and you can get 1500MB for $60 per year. Additional storage can be added at any time in increments of 500MB. You can create an unlimited number of galleries from your photos stored on PBase’s servers.

PBase offers StatCounter, Google Analytics and Extreme Tracking capabilities for each of your galleries. There is also a PBase forum community that users can participate in. PBase users also publish a professional looking magazine, aptly named PBase Magazine, that has a pretty cool history.

I’ve never used PBase, but I see a number of users in photography forums that are PBase zealots. It strikes me as a cult-ish (in a good, “Apple” kind of way) community that you’ve got to be in to understand. If you’ve got more input on it, please feel free to drop in a comment.

Photobucket is a media management site for photos and video. It allows one click publishing to sites like MySpace, Facebook, Friendster and Xanga. It is clearly geared toward the social media user. You can use Photobucket to create slideshows of photos and video mashups.

There’s a 1GB space limit for images and video clips in free accounts. That’s not much when you consider file sizes of photos these days. Additionally, free accounts are limited to 25GB of monthly bandwidth. That’s quite a lot bandwidth for photos; however, I’m not sure how long that would hold up if you’ve got a lot of video clips on there.

Gotcha’s for free accounts:

Uploaded Image files must be 1 MB or less. Images with a display size up to 17 screen (1024 x 768 pixels) can also be uploaded without a file size limit. Image files will be resized to meet the Photobucket constraints.

Uploaded Videos must be 5 minutes or less in play length and 100 MB or less in file size. Videos longer than 5 minutes will be truncated to meet the Photobucket time constraints.

For the Photobucket strip, show, and collage Slideshows, only 10 images may be loaded at a time per Slideshow. For Photobucket stamps, users may have between 4 and 16 images depending on selected size.

That’s some pretty harsh limitations for anyone serious about photography. However, you can go pro for $25 per year, which gives you 5GB of storage space and “unmetered” bandwidth (presumably, that means unlimited). Pro users also get FTP uploading capabilities. Image size is capped at 5MB for pro users. Canon 5D users need not apply here (Converted RAW images from my Rebel XT frequently exceed 5MB).

In sum, Photobucket is a great site if you’re into posting low-res images on your social media pages or personal blog; however, serious photographers would be better served by paying their annual dues to Flickr or one of the other alternatives.

Photo.net is very different from Flickr. Where Flickr is very much a one-size-fits-all service, Photo.net will likely only appeal to serious photographers. It is a huge community of amateur and professional photographers with a variety of skill levels and photographic experiences.

You can upload your photos and submit them for comment and critique. Likewise, you can comment and critique fellow photographers’ submissions. You get your own gallery to post photos into. You get a few more features by making a $20 donation each year.

Additionally, you can participate in the very active (and moderated) forums. I’ve learned a lot from photo.net over the past couple of years. I still find myself reading the forums and asking the occasional question when I need some advice on a particular matter. If you’re new to photography or you simply want to learn more, photo.net is probably one of the better online resources out there.

smug-mug.jpgSmugMug is my personal favorite for sharing and hosting images on the web. There’s no free plan to choose from; however, it is well worth the price of admission for me. The basic user plan is $39.95 per year. Power user accounts are $59.95 per year. Pro accounts are $149.95 per year. You can see the differences in the features here.

SmugMug keeps 4 backup copies of each photo in 3 states. You get unlimited storage in all plans. Your can see your photos without registering, and without spam. The handful of times that I’ve needed to contact support, they’ve gotten back to me with a real answer within minutes.

Pro users (I’m one) get the ability to sell photos and set their own prices. I don’t sell a lot of photos; however, I share tons. I use SmugMug to share photos on this blog and with friends and family. I can make galleries private or password protected and even limit the size of photos that are viewable by others. SmugMug also allows you to employ right-click protection to keep the pervasive use of downloading curbed. I know there are ways around it, but it’s not as easy to do as Flickr.

The print quality that you get from SmugMug is surprisingly good. Printing is outsourced through EZ Prints and you get the option to use auto-enhancing or your own true color adjustments. It’s not on par with the likes of MyPhotopipe.com, but it beats the heck out of Wal-Mart.

If you think more polished look of SmugMug is your cup of tea, you can use this code ( 7jCtURK05RxCQ ) in the ‘Referred by’ field on the signup form to save $5 from whatever account you sign up for. (Disclosure: I get a credit as well.)

Conclusion

This post isn’t meant to draw Flickr users away, but to share some sites that have a little different take on things. I love Flickr. I’ve had a Flickr account longer than other web-based photo account/membership. That said, I hope this post has opened your eyes to some useful alternatives to Flickr. This is by no means an exhaustive listing of all the photo sharing sites out there. If you’ve got other sites that you use, feel free to drop in a comment and give the rest of us an overview of what makes your site a good alternative to Flickr.

 

Comments

  1. Jeff says

    Zenfolio is another site popular with photographers. I have never used it, but it is on my shortlist of possible sites for setting up a business…

  2. says

    FocalPower is another site to keep an eye on in the near future (I’m the founder). I have used a number of the sites on this list, and found frustrating parts with each of them as someone who is trying to build my photography brand. FocalPower was designed to address these issues. We are currently entering a closed alpha stage and looking to expand our pool of dedicated alpha users.

  3. says

    Personally I’m a great fan of 23, which can be found at 23hq.com . It’s adding new features extremely fast, support in the forums is almost instantaneous and its interface is very clean. With the free account you can upload 300 pics in the first month, after that however, restrictions are quite harsh with only 30 pics per month.
    20 Euro’s to get unlimited uploads.

  4. says

    there is also fotolog.net; I started using that before the flik got established, I like the layout, tho for full usage… subscription is required. bleh

  5. Harriet says

    Due to the peculiar and sometimes very harsh censorship Flickr applies on it’s users, I’ve decided to never pay ‘m any money any more – instead I’ve found Ipernity not so narrowminded, an active community in the making, and the possibility to blog, post foto’s/video’s/music rather than just photo’s – the features there are pretty much the same as Flickr – they’ve a pro-account and free basic (limited) functions – as soon as my flickr-account expires, I’ll gladly pay a little extra to Ipernity to become a “pro” there.

  6. Adam says

    People looking to learn to improve their photography might want to look at http://www.photosig.com . It’s less like flickr and more like photo.net, with even more focus on giving and receiving photographic advice (critiques).

  7. says

    jamEs: Picasa has a storage cap for 5 GB (or, the amount of space that Gmail gives you). I use Picasa as well, I especially like the way in which it links to the Picasa2 program.

  8. says

    Someone I know who is a ‘professional photographer’ uses Zenfolio — I used to run Gallery2 at home, but am now really digging Picassa on Linux. Easy cheesy!

  9. says

    I have though that Flickr has a limitation of 200 photos with the free account. I don’t know when they have changed this but they have, at least that’s what my account is saying.

  10. calamari says

    http://www.photosig.com used to be OK but, has since become a bunch of snobs and a clique. It’s patrolled incessantly by a girl admin who is omnipresent. You get the feeling that you’re being watched and censored all the time.

    Flickr is great though. I love the specialized groups. SmugMug is good if you sell. PhotoNet is OK but, not dynamic enough. Picasa is really nice, the price is right. I’m going to check out Zooomr though, looks great. Nice job here. Love the additional ones via comments.

  11. says

    Also give multiply.com a look. Unlimited storage of photos and videos, as well as blogs, calendar items, etc….

    What is great about Multiply, is you control who gets to see your stuff. Multiply’s goal is to mimic real-world relationships, basically allowing you to share your stuff with your friends and family and not necessarily the rest of the world.

  12. Clydicus says

    Do any of these sites provide the ability to monetize the web traffic your photos might get? For example, this blog page has “ads by yahoo”. If we’re going to create an online photo collection, and put effort into promoting it and maintaining it, shouldn’t we be trying to make a little money as well?

  13. says

    For people looking for a photoblog format (as opposed to the typical photo gallery setup), I’d recommend Aminus3:

    http://www.aminus3.com/

    I’ve tried DeviantArt and Flickr (both of which I like for different reasons) but I’ve been posting on Aminus3 for a while now and really enjoy the feedback. Plus, it’s a challenge trying to post a new image every day!

  14. says

    I use Phanfare and absolutely love the site, the service, and the software. They make presentation very easy right out of the box.

  15. says

    Nice that there’s a list of all these… BUT, which one(s) are the best for SELLING images? I don’t care about sharing with family and friends – I’m looking for the place where BUYERS are going… Or, are all these just for fun?

  16. Darryl says

    I put together a spreadsheet a few months ago trying (in vain) to compare all of the sites side-by-side. I eventually gave up on trying to fill in all the blanks because there are so many different features. But I love your summaries. It’s what I was trying to capture in the “Web 2.0″ tab. :-}

    Anyways, the link: http://www.darryl.com/permalink.php?blurb=photosharing

    Happy to get any updates.

  17. CJ Malcolm says

    http://www.redbubble.com is another gallery site gaining in popularity. Established in Australia its described as an online art gallery and creative community (http://www.redbubble.com/about).

    Check it out, it’s fairly slick and there are some excellent photographer portfolios. It’s totally free to upload an unlimited gallery (although it’s not really a photo sharing site) and artwork can be sold at the price you state in various formats, including t-shirts.

  18. says

    manny choices but its a pain to have an account in each one and upload photos to each one and remember which one has what pics.

  19. says

    You should really look at rmbr — rmbr.com. It focuses on the fun aspects of photos. It’s still in beta right now but I can get you an invite if you like.

  20. CarolaColumna says

    Hello,

    have you tried Photosharing at http://www.locr.com?

    It offers
    – free software for PC, mobile phones (Symbian and Windows Mobile) for automatically geotagging photos
    – free unlimited uploads (until 4MB each photo)
    – free unlimited storage
    – free unlimited photoalbums/sets
    – free archive/download highres photos
    – replace photos
    – ad free browsing and sharing (no ads at all!)

    Have fun!

  21. says

    hi, I also looked after a good alternativ to flickr and I found http://www.ipernity.com . It’s still quite familiar and very nice. You can upload photos and videos and also write blog entries. There is no stupid filelimit like flickr has… There is just a uploadlimit for each month (200MB). If you buy a pro account you can see all EXIF informations and download the full size of pictures. you can check my photostream on flickr if you want, (I havn’t a pro account). All in all I’m very satisfied!

    cheers, acy

  22. says

    Check out http://www.redbubble.com

    Its a POD or print on demand site great product, free gallery no limits to how much you upload, great artists and photographers! Best site I could find on the net.

    You can sell your work thru them if you want to or just use the gallery to show your artwork to the world

  23. says

    KoffeePhoto is an alternative especially when ease of use and upload of numerous pictures is needed. Local photo organizer, private sharing and free web page hosting are included.

  24. says

    The “2008 Photo Sharing Services Review” by Top Ten Reviews.com lists the top 18 sites with Flickr sliding in at # 5.

    Ahead of Flickr were, in alphabetical order

    dotPhoto
    Faces
    Fotki
    Webshots

    Their ranking order 1 to 4 can be found at TopTenReview.com or at

    photosharing (link edit -Ed.)

    But Photobucket wasn’t even among the top 10 and arrived next to last at # 17 of the 18 sites showcased.

    To have been listed, however, is quite an achievement and we acknowledge and salute each of the sites for this accomplishment.

    Replacing Flickr? Assuming fortune had to do with it, it was unfortunate the sites weren’t ranked on this specific measure. You will deduce what you will nonetheless, so go ahead, take a look at the TopTenReview.com report at the following address

    photo services review (link edit -Ed.)

    (dupe link -Ed.)

  25. says

    Ole photo.net – it’s the original, AFAIK, I keep my account alive just to remember I was a photographer in 98. It deserves street cred for just staying alive.

  26. Dmitri says

    I find Picasa by Google to be the best and easiest to use. While there isn’t too much community, it’s easy to share photos with friends and family.

  27. stephen says

    I really like picdrive.com they have a very clever interface and allows me to do everything that I want simply.

  28. says

    Ipernity seems to be better than Flickr in some respects. The free acoount is a considerable improvement, allowing you to display up to 1000 photos (unlike Flickr’s miserly 200). Ipernity also includes a blog feature and some other nice little touches to its interface, like th ability to customise your homepage. Only drawback to it is the small membership in comparison with Flickr. Hopefully that will change over time.

  29. says

    Hi,

    great overview!

    by the way, to find alternatives you can try http://dooblet.com

    it is quite a new service, but it usually manages to find alternatives to all things that make sense :)

    have a nice day!

  30. says

    Hi.
    If you’re just using it for uploading pics, TinyPic.com is good. Free, easy to use, no fuss. I don’t think there are limits either. Well, if there is a limit, I haven’t reached it yet :p

  31. PhotoPassion says

    Great job, nice comparison between all those services! Your article is very helpful in order to make a decision… Personally I found my own alternative to Flickr that is safer and that helps me to share without damaging the quality of my photos. This photo sharing service is called Joomeo (http://www.joomeo.com) and it is apparently new as I never heard about it before. As far as the other sites listed I don’t really know them, but which one would be your alternative?

  32. says

    I’m definitely going to check out Zoomr. I was just slighted by Flickr a few weeks ago. They decided to delete my PAID Pro Flickr account without warning and after giving me the hardest time I’ve ever had with any customer service (not even Best Buy was this bad)- they still have not told me exactly WHY my account was deleted. I apparently violated some TOS, but they won’t tell me which one. Check out my full story and show your support in the comments here: http://adamdexter.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/my-flickr-account-deactivated/

  33. Adam says

    I’d just like to thank you for this article (and everyone for their useful comments). It was literally exactly what i was looking for.

  34. says

    I found this webpage about 6 months ago after paying a subscription to the ‘named one’ but just not feeling at home with it and finding the layout etc just crap and browsing totally frustrating and hateful..
    I looked through all of those suggested here.
    That is when I found Fotki http://www.fotki.com It Totally Won me over! I have been there for 6 months now and LOVE it.. Love it .. LOVE IT!!!
    I would never have found it without you because I searched on Google and never came across it!!
    You wont believe how glad I am I came across your page… :)

  35. says

    Tasha,

    I’m glad I could help. From the looks of it, you’ve been busy taking full advantage of Fotki. I’m glad you’re enjoying it so much.

  36. doublezero says

    It says in the article “…with Zooomr you get unlimited bandwidth, file storage and uploading and . . . it’s all free.”

    This may have been true, but it is not any longer. I opened a zoomr account because rogers and yahoo were causing problems with flickr (flickr itself is fine, but its partners create problems, I won’t go into it here). If you don’t pay an annual fee, Zoomr places an advertisement in place of one out of every four photos you upload. So after you go to the trouble of uploading a set of pictures, 25% of them are not viewable. There is an advertisement in their places. I tried reuploading the replaced pictures under different names, but somehow zoomr knew what I was doing and prevented the photos from being shown.

    Needless to say, this is not helpful. I am not a professional photographer and I’m not interested in paying to store photos so I can get an http page so I can insert pictures into discussion forums. that are only to be shown to one or 2 people, and then never seen again. I’m not making money off the photos, they have limited usefulness.

    So once again, I am looking for an alternative to flickr, and now also an alternative to zoomr.

  37. Ryan says

    DZ,

    There is a new site http://www.snapixel.com which is giving away free unlimited accounts — they have similar features to flickr and zooomr — just check out the tour page to see the screenshots.

    The service is created by the HM Labs team which has been around for about 4 years now so they are probably here to stay.

    I found out about it while searching on Twitter: http://twitter.com/snapixel

    Ciao!

  38. mark duncan says

    there is yet another photo sharing site that deserves a mention : BlueMelon

    it is in some ways much like flickr, much like smugmug, much like others – yet different and i like it more.

    it has got a free 1 GB account and an unlimited pro account.

  39. Tunisia says

    Thank you very much for your page. It was very helpful as I try to figure out how to set up my own webpage where I will sell antiques, craft items, vintage clothing and ephemera. I have set up a blog to stream business to my etsys and I was thinking about buying a flickr upgrade to generate even more business. I will try fotsi first. Thanxagain

  40. says

    I just recently discovered shuttercal.com. – it is online photo community. It allow you to upload a photo a day. It also has an online community of friends. You can FAV others photos but you can’t right click and copy. Not as elaborate and social as flickr, but so far the people have been very friends with their comments and many beautiful captures are posted by the members.

  41. Paul T says

    I want an alternative that doesn’t require me to login via Yahoo or any other 3rd party waste desperate to get their fingers into a photo-sharing pie.

  42. Louise Temple says

    I just signed up with http://www.mejuba.com. Unlimited storage for both videos and pictures and it’s completly free.
    No monthly limits or qoutas.
    Photos and videos are stored in their original formats and sizes and are kept unmodified for backup.
    I also like that you can geo-tag your stuff so it shows up on a map. And you can search for stuff on the map – that’s cool!.
    As the only site i know of it uses a Windows Explorer like navigation with folders – super easy to use – even has drag and drop!.
    I can highly recommend it.

  43. Anders says

    @ Louise Temple…Thank you! mejuba.com is AMAZING! I know I might sound like some salesman or something, but I am just so happy finding that site! Great layout, and FAST!

    I went through ALL the suggestions mentione in the article, as well as the comments, and I have to say mejuba is without a doubt the best!

  44. Mohsin says

    Why picasa.google.com is not taken into consideration ? it’s great site and offers a freeware Picasa thru which you can directly upload photoes online. And it offers various security features for sharing photoes.

  45. david gilbert says

    Tried Picasa and it looked good, but then I tried to upgrade my account for more storage space. They declined my payment because I don’t have a phone number associated with my Amex account and declined to answer when I queried this. (In the UK I have never associated a phone number with a credit card account, and Google will apparently not just process the payment and see if it is accepted!) Flickr has no such hang-ups, and the upgrade to a Pro account to be able to load unlimited full size images was easy, so Flickr it is!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Without thinking, I would almost always suggest Flickr for people looking to share photos, however, I know there are other popular options that may be a better choice. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, I’ll link to an article that reviews 7 Alternatives to Flickr. In no particular order, the article reviews the following photo sharing sites: deviantART, Zooomr, Fotki, PBase, Photobucket, Photo.net, and SmugMug. [...]

  2. [...] Today, I found this blog post comparing several online photo galleries. It is very good and I suggest reading it. In the end I made a choice for which service I will use and my choice is not on the list. I chose Winkflash to store all my photos. They offer all the features on my wish list, plus more. [...]