About 6-8 months ago I started thinking a lot about all my pictures. Literally, I’ve got thousands of digital pictures I’ve taken over the last 5-7 years. Most of them are on external hard drives that aren’t so convenient to access. I felt like I needed a plan to make these more accessible as well as an effective way to manage the photos I was continuing to take. The only two options I really knew of were flickr and picasa. After a little bit of investigation, I chose flickr. It looked cheaper and it seemed like more people used flickr as it’s a pretty established entity on the web. I also use an eye-fi card (which I love) that uploads directly to any of these web services.
Here’s my main reason for using an online photo site.
- One original location for photos on the web. It was driving me nuts that I’d put photos on my blog, upload photos to facebook and then email photos to family or friends. With great plugins, I could upload photos to one site and import them to facebook or other sites and simply email links to albums or photos to family or friends. Way more efficient.
- Accessibility. I want to be able to access all our photos easily. We don’t get to enjoy our photos much, but having them on the web will make that a lot easier.
- Back-up. These photos are too valuable to us. I’d hate to loose them in a fire or hard drive failure.
So, after 6 months, here’s my impression.
Using flickr for the most part has been a positive experience. The pro account, which costs $25 a year is pretty amazing. Unlimited storage at $25 a year. I probably uploaded 20 GB of photos already. It does everything I want it to do except I have one complaint. If I were to lose my original photos and I wanted to download the original size from flickr, I’d have to do this for each photo individually. Other than finding a 3rd party hack, you can’t batch download. I really don’t like that.
Then last week I read this post from John Saddington.
John recently migrated all of his photos from flickr to google’s picasa. He had several of the same complaints about flickr that I did. In addition, he pointed out several other reasons. Flickr is owned by Yahoo which hasn’t been a remarkable company for some time. It shows as flickr hasn’t improved in years. Although it may not always be best to have all your eggs in one basket, it is convenient that I use google for so many things that having picasa manage my photos makes it nice… everything works so well together.
So I switched last week. I told my eye-fi to transfer photos to picasa instead of flickr and started uploading some other pictures to picasa as well. So far I’m really impressed. It does everything flickr does and more. I can batch download photos from albums and I found a GREAT facebook app for importing pictures from flickr or picasa called “photos 2 photos.” One cool feature is the facial recognition. Picasa searches for faces and suggest who they are. It seems to link them to contact information I have on them (I use google to manage my contacts). I haven’t played around with that a lot yet, but it seems really promising. The other huge benefit of Picasa is the Picasa application for your desktop. I have photoshop, but it’s a massive application that I don’t want to open and close every time I want to crop a picture. With Picasa, I can do some pretty cool edits and when I make edits, it will update the photo on the web album if I wish. So, as of right now, I’m a big fan of Picasa.
Last of all, Picasa is offering a nice little incentive. If you sign up for 200GB of storage or more (that is a lot of photos people), they’ll send you free eye-fi card. Since the eye-fi cards cost that much anyway, it’s like getting one year of free storage with the purchase of an eye-fi card.
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My only problem with this is that Flickr is such a smooth worker with iPhoto. I wouldn’t want to move away from that…
Am I missing something?
Oh, I wrote all of that assuming you don’t use iPhoto. I think Picasa works with iPhoto as well, but I’m not an iPhoto user. Remember, I didn’t drink the kool-aid. The Picasa application would replace iPhoto for photo management.
Great write-up !!!
Disclosure: I’m from Eye-Fi, but the opinion below is my own, as a consumer and pro photographer:
I LOVE the PIcasa client. It’s much more powerful than iPhoto, and it’s free. Years ago, it was worlds away in terms of quality and features, and then iPhoto caught up a bit, but Picasa is still much more powerful, quick, easy to use, and is unbelievable as a free app.
I also use Lightroom, Photoshop, etc…, but those apps are so much slower, and cost so much more. I love Lightroom’s filters, but going through photos, and tagging them, is very painful and slow, even on a fast MacBook Pro. But with Picasa, going through a large collection of images (thousands), sorting, tagging and organizing is lightning fast…