Edward Swift - Sharing your photos online

Publish Date
Saturday, 24 January 2015, 10:59AM
File photo (stock.xchng)

File photo (stock.xchng)

By Edward Swift

You’ve got back from an awesome summer holiday and you’ve taken hundreds of photos. Years ago you either had to print them and pass them around the circle, or bring out the slide projector and get everyone over for a two hour presentation of your holiday to New Caledonia.

Now with the advances in technology, we can take even more photos without feeling like we’re wasting film, and you no longer have to coordinate a group of your family and friends to share in your amazing adventures either. Posting photos online is incredibly easy, and it also allows your friends to see photos at their leisure, not on your schedule.

But which is the best site to upload these photos to? There’s a plethora of free photo sharing sites to choose from, so here’s a handy guide to some of the best.

Social media

The first port of call for most people is social media. It makes sense – your family and friends are already on it, it’s easy to upload, and you’re already familiar with it. Facebook has got better with photos over the years. It used to be than there was a limit to the number of photos you could have in an album. Now it’s unlimited. On top of that, you don’t even have to put your photos in an album – you can just upload them as you update your status. You also have full control over who sees your photos. You can make them public, you can make them for friends only, and you can even select a smaller group of friends to see photos you only want them to see. You can also tag people in each photo allowing them and their friends to see what they’ve been up to.

Twitter is a bit different. There are no albums and there’s a limit to how many photos you can upload (five at a time) as well as the size of the photos. You also don’t have as much control over who sees your photos. If you have a private account, then only your followers will see them. If your account is public, then they’re available for all to see. But there is an advantage in that. If you’re taking artistic photos and want your photos to be seen by the world, it’s easy for people to retweet and share your photos.

Google+’s photo albums spawned out of their original photo sharing service PicasaWeb, which was linked to their photo editing software Picasa (a program I recommend if you're looking to easily edit your photos). It’s even better at allowing you to choose exactly who you want to see the snaps as you can choose as many ‘circles’ as you feel like. That being said if you don’t want to make the photos public, then you’ll have to rely on family and friends being on Google+ to see them. The other limitation is that there is an overall storage limit. It’s a large limit (15GB) but it is shared across Gmail, Google Drive and Google+ Photos. So if you have a full inbox or have filled your Google Drive, then it might not be the greatest option. However, it does link up with Chromecast so you can have that traditional slideshow in the living room if you want.

The other growing social network is Instagram. It allows you to share individual photos and add a few effects via an app on your smartphone or tablet. While it’s great for posting cool pics on the go, you can’t upload a whole bunch of photos from your computer.


If you've got an iPhone, iPad or a Mac, you can easily share photos to other Apple friends using iCloud photo sharing. The photos will appear on their device, and just like social media they can like and comment on photos. You also can choose exactly who you share particular albums with, as long as they have an Apple ID, or you can make an album public and share a direct link with anyone. You can also show your photos on a TV screen if you have Apple TV connected. The only issue is if you don't have an Apple device, you're stuck with the PC interface which in the past I've found is very buggy and sometimes doesn't update, or can be extremely slow.


Flickr is a site that is specifically dedicated for sharing photos. You can upload hundreds of photos at a time, sort them into albums, give each photo full descriptions and locations, and choose whether you want the world to see them or just your friends (who have to be on Flickr or have a Yahoo! account). You also get 1TB (that’s 1000GB) of storage for your photos, so you’re unlikely to run out of space. Flickr is mainly used for creative photography, but can also be used to share your personal shots too. It also provides easy links to share content on Facebook, Twitter, etc.


The about page of 500px (pronounced 500 pixels) says it’s “a photo community for discovering, sharing, buying and selling inspiring photography powered by creative people worldwide”. If you’re an aspiring creative photographer, this is a good place to upload photos to. However there are limitations. In order to encourage its members to only upload their best photos, the free account gives you a limit of 20 photos per week. To unlock this, you can pay US$25 to upload an unlimited amount of photos. As it’s a community for creative photography, probably not a good place for your family snapshots but good if you’re taking some arty photos while on holiday.

Happy snapping!

Follow Edward on Twitter at @swiftynz. You can also see his photography at flickr.com/swiftynz


Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you