best photo sharing sites for photographers

9 Best Photo Sharing Sites for Photographers

There are a huge number of photo sharing options around today, but which are the best photo sharing sites for photographers?

It can be very time-consuming to upload all your photos to just one site, so we'll help you figure out where to post your masterpieces. Here are some of the most popular options

9 Best Photo Sharing Sites for Photographers

What Makes a Good Photo Sharing Site?

There are five main requirements for a good photo sharing site: it should be easy to use, it should have a strong community, it should let you post as much as you want, it should let you control what can be done with them, and ideally it should be free (or at least affordable).

Community

The community of other users is probably the most important aspect of a good photo sharing site. Sharing your photos with others is the whole reason you're posting them, after all!

A strong, active community of photographers and other artists will give you the biggest benefits from sharing your photos.

Photography doesn't happen in a vacuum, it happens as part of a community whether you like the idea or not.

In other words, the more time you spend looking at other people's photos and having them look at yours, the better your photographic eye will be.

Learning how to deconstruct what makes someone else's photo beautiful will help teach you how to improve your own work, and the more you talk to other photographers about each other's work, the more you'll learn.

Many artists are hesitant to share their work with complete strangers at first. It can be nerve-wracking to show something that you've put a lot of time and creative effort into, but it's also very rewarding.

A good community will be helpful and encouraging no matter what skill level you're at, and will be great for advancing your talents.

Ease of Use

The best photo sharing sites have a lot of features, but unless they're well-designed and easy to use, you'll find yourself making excuses not to use them.

Most photographers have a backlog of images they want to properly edit and share, and any extra steps that slow down that process will just contribute to that backlog.

A well-designed sharing site will make it easy to upload multiple photos at once, and allow you to quickly tag and categorize your photos so that they can be found more easily by other users. Ideally, it will also have some type of social system, so that like-minded photographers can share similar works with each other.

This might come in the form of following other user's posts on Instagram, or by joining groups of like-minded photographers the way Flickr does.

Storage Limits

Most photographers want to upload their photos in a relatively high resolution, which can take up a lot of space.

As a result, many services have limits on the amount of storage space you can use based on the type of account that you have.

Storage space is much cheaper than it was even 5 years ago, so make sure that your chosen photo sharing site has kept up with the times and increased your usage limit.

Some services will apply their own unique compression algorithms to reduce the file size of your images, but make sure that they don't do this too aggressively or you'll probably lose some image quality.

After you've spent so much effort on getting your photos just the way you want them, you don't want some heavy-handed program to go through and change everything.

Privacy & Copyright Control

One unfortunate reality of sharing your work online is that it can be a bit too easy for random users to share and reuse your work.

This can be really helpful when it comes to building up a reputation, but only if you get proper credit for your work!

A good photo sharing site will give you the ability to control who can save copies of your photos, and will make it very clear to users what license - if any - they have to re-use your photos.

The alternative to copyright control is to allow you to control who can access your photos at all.

While it might seem a bit redundant to share your photos online and then restrict who can access them, it is very useful if you want to share your photos with only your friends or colleagues.

Cost

Most photo sharing sites will offer you a free account, but those sometimes come with some kind of limitation.

Sometimes it's a limit on how much storage space you have, or how often people will see your photos on other parts of the site, but always be sure to check to see what the limitations are before you spend a lot of time uploading.

If they do have a range of paid account levels, make sure that they are actually worth it when compared to the options offered by other sites.

Marketplace

Many of the newer photo sharing sites have begun to integrate a marketplace into their feature set so that you can sell your photos directly from the same place you share them.

This can be a huge help when it comes to making some money off of your photos because it saves you from having to upload to multiple different sites.

Not all marketplaces are created equal, though, so make sure you choose one that has an active customer base or you might never sell anything!

The other important thing to keep in mind when comparing marketplaces is that almost all of them take some percentage of the sale price as a commission fee.

The commission fee usually depends on how the photos are delivered. For stock photography, there is no physical product, so the commissions will be low, but if you're selling prints through the site the commissions are usually higher to cover the added cost of production.

All professional-level photo sharing sites will provide you with the ability to sell your photos, although some are more geared towards working with existing clients.

If you're looking for the ability to generate new client leads, you'll want a more flexible option such as a customized website or portfolio page to showcase your work.

A Closer Look at the Best Photo Sharing Sites

Now that you know what to look for in a photo sharing site, let's examine some of the most popular photo sharing sites to see how they stack up against each other

Flickr

best photo sharing sites for photographers

Flickr is one of the oldest photo sharing sites on the internet, as it was founded way back in 2004 when the internet was still in its infancy.

As a result they've had a lot of time to work on their site and its features, making it one of the best photo sharing sites out there.

This also gave it time to build up a great community of photographers that are constantly posting new work and offering free discussions and critiques.

Free accounts are available and come with a massive 1 terabyte of storage space (1000 gigabytes), which is enough to store hundreds of thousands of photos even at a very high resolution.

There are also a paid account that offers some extra features, such more statistics on who views your photos, removal of ads from the site and a convenient downloadable program for automatic uploading of your latest photos.

500px

best photo sharing sites for photographers

This is one of the newer photo sharing sites around, but they haven't wasted any time in developing a strong sharing site with a robust community.

They have probably the widest feature set of any of the photo sharing sites we looked at, from unlimited uploads to photography classes from other 500px photographers to customizable portfolio sites that help your photos look their best.

Most of these features are only available by purchasing one of their 3 paid plans, but there is a free account option available as well to give you a chance to test the site.

500px has a community that's easily the equal of Flickr, despite being only a couple of years old.

They actively engage their users with photo challenges, and there are active groups for critiques and other feedback.

They even have a marketplace for stock photography that allows you to sell your photos on their platform for a modest commission.

Google Photos

best photo sharing sites for photographers

Google Photos has gone through a number of changes over the years, and eventually merged with the storage from Google Drive.

Still, with over 100 gigabytes of free storage available and the option to purchase more if needed, you'll won't out of space for a long time.

As long as your photos aren't any larger than 16 MP in resolution, you'll be able to store an unlimited number of them.

The real virtue of Google Photos is that it can be connected to your desktop computer and your smartphone to allow you to automatically back up all of your photos and then access them from anywhere.

They are private by default, but they can be shared easily with a few clicks to any email address, including the ability to share whole albums with anyone you want.

Unfortunately, there isn't really the option of building a community on the site. Google originally had hoped to integrate the service with Google+, their competitor to Facebook, but G+ never really caught on.

So while it's a perfect backup and individual sharing solution, it doesn't have as much of a community as some of the other sites.

SmugMug

best photo sharing sites for photographers

If SmugMug is one of the lesser-known photo sharing sites, that's only because it's geared more towards professional photographers than the other sites on this list.

It has a huge range of features that are even more impressive than 500px, including the ability to sell prints of your work produced by some of the top photo printing labs in the world.

Each of their 4 plans offer unlimited uploads, but unfortunately there is no free option available.

The only part of SmugMug that could use a little more work is their community.

Part of the reason for this is that they are not so focused on teaching and learning as they are on helping photographers sell their work.

They still offer video tutorials, live training webinars, and community forums, but community is not really the focus of the site the way it is with Flickr and 500px.

Photobucket

best photo sharing sites for photographers

Photobucket is the only active photo sharing site that has been around longer than Flickr, as it was founded back in 2003.

Considering how long they've been around, you'd expect them to have a slightly larger range of features than they do, but they are in the process of updating their site to a more modern style.

Hopefully, they'll expand their features during that same process, because at the moment they're a bit overpriced for what they offer.

They have 4 plans, including a free ad-supported option, but each tier simply offers you more storage space and extra bandwidth for sharing.

They do have a great print shop that allows you to get copies of your work for sale, but it seems largely focused on the American market and may not ship internationally to your country.

Zenfolio

best photo sharing sites for photographers

Zenfolio is another site that is primarily directed at professional photographers looking to sell their work online.

They have 3 plans to choose from which all offer unlimited photo uploads, although there is no free plan option, only a free trial to test out the site.

Each plan has an impressive range of features for their cost, from free gallery templates and social media integration at the base level all the way up to multi-user access and Lightroom integration at the highest level.

The only real downside to Zenfolio is their complete lack of any kind of community.

This is because they focus on helping professional photographers sell their work, instead of helping developing photographers hone their skillsets.

They have great sharing options, but they are all about sharing with clients instead of the general public.

1x

best photo sharing sites for photographers

1x is the most unique photo sharing site on the web, because all of the photos that are published on the main site are curated by some of the best professional photographers in the world.

The only way to get your photos considered is to be a paying member, and that still doesn't guarantee that your photos will get published to the main gallery.

You can upload up to 20 photos per week for consideration by the 22 staff critics, and you'll get a personalized homepage to display your submissions.

You'll also gain access to 1x's high-quality training materials, as well as constant feedback from the staff critics who will help you hone your craft until it meets their acceptance standards.

You'll be surrounded by some of the best photography on the web, and that's an incredibly inspirational place to spend your time. Just try not to get discouraged if your work isn't immediately accepted!

Photoshelter

best photo sharing sites for photographers

Photoshelter is a site aimed at professional photographers around the world who need digital gallery space for working directly with clients.

They offer unlimited private galleries for subdividing your work for client approval, as well as the ability to sell prints and digital usage licenses.

Their community is virtually nonexistent, although they do provide a number of basic guides for professional photography businesses, but they are all available for free without signing up for a plan.

Considering their target audience, their basic plan level offers a surprisingly tiny 4 GB of storage space, less than most memory cards.

While that might be fine for sharing low-resolution work with a small number of clients, you'll need to pay for one of their more expensive plans to get a respectable amount of storage space.

Instagram

best photo sharing sites for photographers

Instagram is one of the most popular photo sharing sites in the world, but it is primarily aimed at extremely casual users using smartphone cameras.

It can be a great way of marketing yourself thanks to its massive userbase and hashtag system, but it's not designed with serious photographers in mind.

Some people have managed to create huge followings thanks to their photography, but they are famous for their snapshots, not their fine art photography.

If you want to repost some of your work on Instagram to help build up your reputation, you'll have to transfer it to your smartphone before you can upload it.

The 3 Photo Sharing Sites We Prefer

Choosing the top 3 photo sharing sites isn't easy, because there are a lot of different goals that people have from sharing their photos.

Some want to make money from their photos, some want to share them with the public, and some want to build up their reputations. With that in mind, we've decided to break up the top 3 into their own separate categories and choose one site for each goal.

Best Casual Sharing Site: 500px

500px is aimed at aspiring photographers who are looking to share their photographic journey with the world. It has a range of monthly plans that are affordable even for casual photographers, ranging from $1.67 to $20 per month.

This gives you unlimited uploads and access to their impressive community and teaching resources, which can be a real help to beginner and intermediate photographers looking to take their skills to a pro level.

Best Professional Sharing Site: SmugMug

SmugMug provides a great balance of professional-level selling and sharing features as well as a solid community to help you hone your skills.

Their plans are slightly more expensive than 500px, ranging from $3.99 to $25 per month, but their selling tools are also much more extensive at the higher levels.

If you're a professional photographer who needs a place to share work directly with clients as well as to the general public, SmugMug has all the tools you need to let your photos sell themselves - and they only take a 15% commission on sales.

Best Site for Gaining Exposure: 1X

This site is for the elite of the elite when it comes to photographic skills. You have to pay just for the privilege of having your photo considered for publication, much like competing in a juried art show.

But also like a juried art show, getting your photograph recognized is a major achievement that can launch an entire career, so it's worth it even if you don't get your work accepted at first.

best photo sharing sites for photographers

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About the Author Luca

Hi, I am Luca, founder and editor in chief at photographyambition.com. I am crazy about photography and I always have a camera with me. When I am not busy with my day job, enjoying my family or taking photos, I am on Photography Ambition to share what I have learnt so far.

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