Photo Sharing Options

What to Do with All Those Photos


The Overstuffed Digital Shoebox

Millions of us are snapping, shooting and clicking our way to hard drives full of digital photos: An estimated 30.5 billion images will be captured by 2008. Pictures are meant to be shared, yet only four billion of these images will be uploaded and viewed via the Web.(1) The rest will sit in home computers everywhere, never seeing the light of day. So how do we get more of these photos online to share with friends and family?

Sorting Through the Choices

Email is by far the most widespread way to share digital photos. Thirty seven percent of images shared in the US were sent via email. Websites, social networks and MMS (cell phone messaging) make up the remaining alternatives for sharing images.(2)

Online photo services offer another popular way to share photographs. About 50 million US visitors hit the top 10 photo sharing sites each month.(3) One-third of U.S. households with digital cameras are expected to become members of an online photo service.(4) Why are online photo services growing at such a rate? Primarily because most of these services are free. These companies make their money by charging for photo prints and specialty items.

Interestingly, this expansion of the photo services market has resulted in more competitive pressure which has forced down print prices – as much as 50 percent lower than just two years ago.(5) With this price pressure impacting revenues, it remains to be seen if more and more of these services resort to charging for photo sharing as some have already begun to do.

Social networking sites, like MySpace and Facebook, are new to the photo sharing game, yet make up nearly 40% of those who upload photos to the Internet.(6) With an audience of 580 million worldwide, up 25 percent last year, this arena of photo sharing is expected to continue its rapid growth.(7)

CD, DVD or floppy disk burning is still a common way of sharing photos. Although there is typically plenty of space on these media for storing digital photos, delivering them by hand or via the mail is inconvenient and slow. The pros and cons of each of these common methods appear below.

 Photo Sharing


  • Easy to send a few low resolution photos
  • Most people have email
  • File size limitations restrict the number of low resolution photos that can be emailed
  • Lacks organizational capability: photos can't be captioned or arranged into albums
  • Choke someone else's system (not to mention your own) if they don't have cable or DSL
  • Need to have the latest address, or get a bounce back
  • Need to know the maximum size limit of the recipient's email system
  • Guess if they have high speed or not, and then reduce the file size if they're on dial up
  • Attachment concerns: given the proliferation of online viruses, people are wary of email attachments

Online Services

  • Many photo sharing services are free
  • Easy: accommodates low tech users
  • Some services also support video, geo-tagging and other features
  • Allow some control over the web gallery look-and-feel
  • Some sites allow users to sell their images
  • Sites typically let users create a "community" which interacts by posting comments
  • Easy to buy prints and other photo specialty items
  • Slow picture-by-picture uploading
  • Interrupted transfer of images during the upload process: you have to start all over again
  • Registration hassle: viewers need to register in most cases, which many people are reluctant to do
  • Security concerns: many people don't want their photos available for anyone to see
  • Intruding banner ads
  • Limited personalization and customization
  • Poor photo sharing experience: photo hosting sites make their money printing photos, pitching specialty items and up-selling members to premium services. The photo sharing feature is often a low priority resulting in weak design and a frustrating user experience
  • Purchase requirements: some free services require a periodic minimum purchase in order to keep an account active (see The Downside of Photo-Storage Sites)
  • Insufficient storage space, particularly for free services
  • Disappearing photos: hosting site consolidation can result in discontinued photo sharing services.
    (See casualty list, including PhotoSite and Yahoo Photos )
  • Charging fees: some formerly free services now are not
  • Image alteration: some free sites overcompress images to reduce storage space (see Lawsuit Filed Against Kodak)
  • Selling sites take a portion of profit sales

Networking Sites

  • Easy to share photos with lots of people
  • The purpose of these sites is not photography, so their photo sharing features are limited
  • Security concerns: photos are accessible by everyone

CD, DVD or Floppy Disk

  • Lots of space to hold a maximum number of photos
  • Reliable
  • Recipient needs to have appropriate viewer
  • Time consuming: mail or hand-deliver

Finding a Better Alternative: Photo Website Software

Anyone who has used the sharing methods listed above knows how time consuming, restrictive and frustrating these options can be. Is there a better way? Photo website software, like Shozam Web Gallery Generator, from Komotion, Inc., offers a better way to share photos: users create their own photo websites from their own images.

Without needing to know HTML, this software lets you import your images into a wizard-style application, apply a professionally designed theme, and with the click of a button, generate your own web gallery (photo website) for posting online. Shozam galleries even go beyond photo sharing to include video clips, narration, slideshows with music, showing photo locations on Google Maps, shopping cart, copyright protection and more.

This method of photo sharing has clear advantages:

  • Fast and easy creation of online photo albums. In just a few easy steps, organize an unlimited number of digital photos into photo albums that are ready to post online.
  • Multimedia galleries. Add images, video clips, audio, descriptions, Google Maps.
  • Image protection. Watermark images and disable right-click.
  • Make money with your gallery. Use built-in shopping cart to add Buy buttons.
  • Virtually no space limitations. Create multiple albums with multiple photos.
  • Complete control. Your web gallery is secure because it resides on your hard drive. If your webhost changes page design or settings, or goes out of business, all you lose is the posted copy. Your original gallery is safe on your computer.
  • Easy switching of providers. Because the web gallery resides on your computer, you can switch providers easily without wasting time and effort to rebuild a photo site.
  • One step, easy uploading. The entire web gallery is uploaded at one time, to any webhost provider, using any FTP application.
  • No unwanted intrusions. No ads, no pop-ups, no spam.
  • Viewing security: web galleries have a unique URL known only to the user which can be shared with others.
  • Multiple sharing options. Still want to email those photos? You can compress and email your entire web gallery as a ZIP file for a more powerful viewing experience. You can also upload your gallery to a host site or burn it to a CD or DVD.

Choosing Photo Website Creation Software

There are several photo web page generators available over the Internet. Consider the following features before buying:

  • Try before you buy. Many photo website generators offer a "try before you buy" option. Take advantage of these trial versions and experiment with the software to make sure it's right for you.
  • No HTML required. Unless you have experience with HTML, be sure to select software that requires no advanced technical skills.
  • Fast and easy. A good photo web page creator should be intuitive, simple and quick. Again, try before you buy to make sure the software won't be a frustrating experience.
  • Multimedia support: Good gallery generators will include not only photos, but video, audio and text.
  • Attractive galleries. Select software that offers professionally designed, stylish themes that can be applied to your website and changed at any time, without having to redo your whole album.
  • Functional galleries. Make sure you select an application that gives you the features that are most important to you, such as slideshow mode, enlarged images suitable for printing, shopping cart, copyright protection, geo-tagging (mapping), comprehensive help files, etc.
  • Unlimited space. Some photo web page creators are limited in the number of photos and albums they support. Pick one which allows virtually unlimited space.
  • Keep your viewer in mind. Make sure the software you choose generates galleries that are easy for the viewer to navigate.
  • Technical support. Make sure you can contact the company in case you run into issues.
  • There are numerous programs. Pick one from a developer you can trust. How does the developer's website look? Is it professional and easy to navigate? Are there clear descriptions of the product and an easy way to contact technical support? Are there application screen shots and album examples?

Locating Photo Website Creation Software

Enter key words, "photo website software," "web gallery software," "web gallery creator," "web gallery generator" or "online photo album software" into a browser search window to get results for web gallery creation software. Shareware sites like list software by functionality. These sites typically offer trial software downloads as well.


1., June 27, 2006

2. InfoTrends, May 14, 2007

3. Blizzard Internet Marketing, Inc., Newsletter, July 10, 2006

4, 5. InfoTrends, August 25, 2004

6. InfoTrends, July 17, 2008

7., August 12, 2008

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Photoshop TV

"Photographers almost need to become a fantastic HTML/Flash programmer or pay a fantastic fees to web builders just to keep their websites going. With Shozam, not any more."

Gary Morgan, Bagillt, UK
Photography by Morgan

Photoshop TV

Wow, what simplicity! Before Shozam, I spent days creating a Flash photo gallery for a travel company; good to look at, but too long to load. I downloaded Shozam, and in less than 30 minutes, I created 3 galleries, which are quick and sleek!"

Jane Philpot, Milton Keynes, UK

Photoshop TV

"I have used Phanfare for sharing my images for the last few years. Now they move to a 'community' website. I'm looking for a solution that would allow easy uploading of a new album while I move from place to place. Shozam is it!"

Mervyn Groves, Chapel Hill, NC
Images by Mervyn Groves


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