Image sharing sites have become something of a phenomenon in the social media age. In a decade and a half, digital photo sharing has gone from a strenuous, tedious process involving tangled camera chords and long upload times to something that can be done in the literal blink of an eye. Even professional photographers openly admit to using presets and filters for some of their clients who need Instagram-ready shots the day of an event.
From the humble days of Photobucket, where high schoolers in the mid-2000s documented all their extra selfies they deemed unacceptable for MySpace, to the dawn of Instagram when most people still used the app as a photo-editing service, sharing digital photos is now commonplace amongst young and older adults alike.
Choosing a platform
There are so many image sharing sites that a non-exhaustive list has even been compiled on Wikipedia, but there is no one site that suits everyone’s needs. Depending on how many photos you take, how much freedom with editing you want, and how open to community you are, you will have to narrow down your choice based on the specific features each site offers.
Photographers have been loving Flickr since it first launched due to its capacity to spontaneously enhance photo quality, while stay-at-home moms love Shutterfly for its privacy settings and capacity to print affordable photo books and cheap canvas prints. Marketed towards parents, Shutterfly is the millennial answer to an envelope full of funny baby photos developed at Black’s or Kodak.
Students and freelancers with an eye for aperture can make some extra passive income by offering up their stock photos on sites like Unsplash, which hosts royalty-free high-definition images commonly used by content writers, bloggers, and small businesses.
VSCO is an ultra-cool minimalist alternative to Instagram that is typically favored by serious landscape photographers, but while Instagram filters are certifiably passé, VSCO’s are sleek and subtle.
Narrowing your focus
It is a misconception that everyday users don’t use digital image sharing. You might mistakenly believe that unless you’re getting paid for your work, you aren’t entitled to use of a photo sharing site or app. On the contrary, plenty of people are using these platforms. You certainly don’t need to be a professional photographer to store a lot of digital images in one place.
In fact, today’s young professionals and families are doing it more than ever before. With excellent privacy settings accessible on most of the major photo sharing platforms, there is no reason not to upload your wedding photos, keep a visual journal of your honeymoon in Big Sur, and capture your baby’s first steps all in one place.
Most platforms have a free digital photo sharing tier, with higher-cost premium services for those who wish to stockpile more photos than they can handle. Once you’ve established which platform is best for your needs, you can decide whether or not you’d like to use the paid option or not.
Accessibility and ease of use
Did you know that there’s a photo sharing version of Alexa? If you have a smart home device specifically for photo sharing, you can use it to gain immediate, easy access to your photos. Devices like Ibi provide cloud picture backups, allowing you to sleep easier knowing that your photos are stored in the cloud. Anyone who has ever lost photos after a device unexpectedly crashes will understand why this is the way of the future.
Your photos are your memories. They serve as an extension of your life. As smartphone cameras get increasingly more effective at capturing natural light, accentuating beauty, and making colors pop dramatically, you will only keep snapping more shots of your daily life. As such, we expect that cloud-based photo sharing will continue to skyrocket in popularity throughout the 2020s and beyond.