Online Photo Albums
The best Web sites for posting your family pictures online.
Posting your pictures online for friends and family to enjoy is easy on photo-sharing Web sites, and with so many to choose from, you can pick the site that meets your needs. We visited some of the best.
More a Web-hosting service than a conventional photo-sharing site, Mac.com makes it easy for Apple users to build a personal Web site using the online HomePage software, then post photos and videos to the site with Mac's iPhoto tool. A free 60-day trial membership gives you 20MB of online storage; the $100 yearly paid membership provides 100MB, as well as other technical support features.
This strangely named site lets you create public and private photo albums and store as many images as you like; you can also order 4-by-6 prints for just 19 cents each. But the real emphasis is on community -- you can post information about yourself and your favorite links, count the number of visitors to your album, and allow viewers to leave comments. Fotki offers a free 14-day trial; membership costs $30 a year.
Organize your pictures (with free software available for download), create photo albums, and build Web pages at this site. FotoTime offers a 30-day free trial membership and an annual membership at $23.95 for 250 MB of storage. Membership gets you a discount on products ranging from prints (49 cents for a 4-by-6; 39 cents for subscribers) to coaster sets ($19.99; $14.99 for subscribers). If you don't need to subscribe but want to post your photos long enough to, say, order prints, you can store them free for 30 days before they're automatically purged.
Upload photos, organize albums, and share them with friends on this slickly designed site. You can also send ePostcards, order prints and greeting cards, and make high-quality prints at home. Membership is free and allots you 100 MB of storage.
This site's selling point is that it's super easy to send it your photos. ImageEvent has two types of online software, Easy Upload (which is fast and simple) and Mega Upload, which lets you send multiple pictures at once. You can also e-mail your pictures to the site or even mail in a CD-ROM. Plus, ImageEvent will host pictures of items you're selling on eBay and other auction sites. For $24.95 a year or $2.95 a month, you get permanent storage of up to 1,500 images and a 10% discount when you order prints.
A 4-by-6 print is 49 cents at Ofoto, but storage is unlimited and membership is free, and you can feel secure about the quality of the prints you order -- the site is run by Kodak. You can edit, crop, or enhance your pictures with borders and special effects, and best of all, you don't even need a digital camera! Just mail in a roll of film; Ofoto will put your photos online and mail you the negatives.
With its assortment of borders, frames, backgrounds, and album covers, Picturetrail lets you create a virtual scrapbook that looks just like the real thing. (Well, almost.) A slide-show option will automatically scroll through your pictures, and you can add transition effects (for example, fade outs) and music for the full multimedia experience. Membership is free and 4-by-6 prints are 29 cents.
The best-looking and probably best-known of the independent photo-sharing sites, Shutterfly offers all the basics -- unlimited free online storage, editing tools, prints (49 cents for a 4-by-6) -- but its attractive, easy-to-navigate design makes it a standout. Another plus: Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Bill Foley gives his tips on taking memorable pictures of kids, pets, travel spots, and more. Membership is free.
If you want the money-saving benefits of digital photography without a digital camera, this site will develop your 35mm film for just $4.98 a roll (including $1.99 shipping) -- much less expensive than your local drugstore. You also get free unlimited storage (Snapfish will put your prints online or you can upload them from a digital camera), and your friends and family can order individual prints starting at 25 cents for a 4-by-6.
This site's busy design will be familiar to regular Yahoo! users. You can create plain or theme albums (for example, Pets, Travel, or Baby) in one step, and adding your pictures is a breeze. But the best feature of this site is that it marshals Yahoo's seemingly limitless content and community resources -- you can join a group to connect with other enthusiasts and read expert advice on everything from buying a camera to scanning a print. A free membership gets you 30 MB of storage space
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