Storage and Sharing
Now that we have started taking photos, where do we store and share with others from?
The answer to this one has multiple choices. For a somewhat comprehensive list, check out this list on Wikipedia. I will only talk about 3 sites that are geared towards regular photography and not just mobile photography.
Flickr, a Yahoo company now, is probably the best known and currently offers 1 terabyte of free storage space for all. You can upload your processed photos (JPG) as well as short, 30 second videos. Flickr allows you to create “albums” or “sets” of your photos and then put them into a “collection”, if needed. Flickr also has a huge number of active “groups” where you can post photos from your account and share them in those “groups”. You can create your own group, private or public, if needed. Groups also facilitate discussions between group members.
A recent addition to Flickr is the ability to zoom into images to view more detail. For me, this really sets it apart from the others where you cannot see any detail beyond the one that is visible by default.
500px started out as a professional photography only site. It currently offers 20 uploads per week for free. You cannot organise your photos into “albums” or “sets” in the free account. 500px offers paid accounts which allow unlimited photos and organisation for the same. Like Flickr, 500px also has the concept of “groups” and discussions, but, it is nowhere close to what you will find on Flickr.
National Geographic. This name needs no introduction. You can register there and get 15 free photo uploads per week. There is no organisation of photos into “sets” here and it does not pick up EXIF/IPTC information from your files, so, you would just have to enter the details and tags manually. Interestingly, it does pick up the location information, if present, from the file.
My personal preference, at this point in time is Flickr for a variety of reasons. I can keep family photos and albums private, change licensing and permissions on others and more…All for free!
The Social Aspect
The important factor to understand is the social aspect of all these sites. With millions of photos coming in, you have to be socially aware if you want feedback from others on your photos. Even for your own learning, you would need to look at photos from a variety of other photographers on these networks and build your “social” network where you look at and comment on others’ photos and they do the same for yours.
All of these sites have the concept of “Likes” or “Favs”, “Comments” and “Views” which are very similar to what you have on Facebook and similar social networking sites. Although the actual names might differ from site to site, the concept remains the same. Similarly, you can “follow” others and they can follow you and see your latest updates.
Getting Real-World Feedback
The downside of this “social” network is that you will not get “real” feedback most of the time. To get more real-world feedback, you should look for “critique” groups and join those. There are a variety of “forums” on the net which offer a similar space and should be looked into. A Google search for “photography forums” will come up with quite a few of these.
Last, but not the least, is the software that you would need in order to process your raw files into final JPG files for uploading and sharing from these sites. All DSLRs will come with some of their stock software which allows you to process the raw files and then save/export them to JPG format for viewing/sharing/printing. Once again, read through the help and documentation for these applications and experiment.