Flickr dominates the world of photo sharing. And for good reason: it is a powerful site that has millions of users, a lot of social features and groups, and the ability to upgrade to a professional account for even more features. The problem is that Flickr is not perfect, and some people want a site that can provide a better experience overall. Some social-oriented photo sharing sites draw more-professional photographers and people who are interested in sharing quality pics, not just posting their snapshots. These Flickr alternatives have certain traits that make them better for connecting with people and critiquing photos (and receiving critiques) in a more-constructive and professional environmental.
Want to explore the photo-sharing world beyond Flickr? These sites are worth checking out.
SmugMug is a great site with a very clean and professional design. To get all the features, you have to pay ($39.99 per year for a basic membership and up to $149 for a pro membership). If you are serious about looking at quality pics and sharing your work with people who can give you valuable critiques, joining the SmugMug community is worth the price of admission. It is easy to upload photos, share pictures, and create albums. SmugMug offers all the features of a site like Flickr, but in a more-professional atmosphere. A lot of serious amateurs and professionals complain about how Flickr is lacking in this area, even for people who purchase a “pro” account. For these Flickr refugees, SmugMug may be the best answer. Another for-pay option is Phanfare, a similar site that offers $49 annual membership.
One of the most popular free Flickr alternatives in Photobucket. This is a popular site for people who want to share their photos online. If you are looking for a social media experience that is based on photo sharing, then Photobucket is probably your best non-Flickr option. People use it to share and upload personal photos. The problem with Photobucket is that a lot of personal photos drown out the quality photos, so it may take a little bit of searching if you want to find good photos on a certain subject. That said, there are good photographers who use Photobucket, so you can certainly find what you are looking for if you are willing to look hard enough. Some cool tools on Photobucket include the ability to add certain effects to your pictures after you have uploaded them.
This site is part social network, part portfolio hosting site. Basic membership is free, and there are some upgrade options available. DA allows any kind of visual art, so you will get much more than photography. There are some amazing photographers and artists, but also plenty of people who upload amateur work as well. The most attractive aspect of DeviantArt is the ability to create and join groups populated by likeminded photographers or artists. You can then share your work and interact and comment on other’s work. In general, the comments on DeviantArt are quite constructive, so this might be a good option for people who are interested in avoiding the spammy comments that are often found on Flickr.
WebShots is another photo-sharing site that offers both free usage and professional memberships. This is one of the best values around, with an annual “premium” membership costing only $19.99. This is a good choice for people who want a photo sharing site where they can show their snaps in a semi-professional environment. You wont find as many really-high quality pics here, but that might be good for people who are just starting out and still honing their photo skills or people who want to share their work in a low-pressure environment. The upload process and controls are not as good as other sites that offer pro memberships, but they are definitely workable, and overall, the sub-$20 memberships makes WebShots a great option for value-conscious photo shooters.