The Top Photo Sharing Websites 2022: We live in a sea of content that is continually churning: in 2021, 1.4 trillion images were shot, and an anticipated 1.6 trillion shutter buttons will be clicked this year. With so many photographs being taken, where is the best place to share them?
By 2021, the total number of images stored worldwide — from those on cellphones to those in the cloud to those on home PCs — will reach an astounding 8.3 trillion. To put that into perspective, it would take about 32,000 years to accumulate one trillion images if you snapped one every second.
Each day, approximately 95 million photos are uploaded to Instagram alone, and over 300 million across all platforms. Determining when and when to pour our own work into this limitless space is as critical as it is difficult to define.
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You may be reading this on a phone capable of snapping images of a quality and detail that your grandparents would consider unimaginable. You may photograph anything you wish. However, what do you do with it once you’ve taken it?
What We Are Seeking
Not all photographers are made equal, and not all images produced on your smartphone are intended to be viewed, but a substantial number of photographs are. We’ve prepared a list of major photo-sharing websites, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages and distinct areas of specialization. We aim to highlight the showcases and help you choose the ones that are a good fit for you.
Instagram is not included on this list because, as the business admits, it is not a photo-sharing site; Instagram will soon focus on video and retail. If the business does not classify itself as such, why should we? Additionally, you are already aware of it. Let us demonstrate a few that you may not be aware of.
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Instagram, Facebook, Imgur, and the like could all be included on this list, as they are all oriented for the most casual of users. There is nothing wrong with this, as our photographs serve a variety of purposes and objectives. However, for professionals, the list is far shorter. Within that more constricted circle of possibilities, 500px jumps out.
The site’s design demonstrates 500px’s focus: the photographs are big, uncluttered in the view, and unencumbered by finicky controls and superfluous extras. The user interface appears to be very straightforward in its goal, allowing the photographer to organize their work into “Sets” centered on a particular topic or “Stories” focusing on a particular event or location. Rather than allowing images to speak for themselves, they enable them to speak for the artist collectively.
You can submit 2,000 images to 500px for free, but there is a catch. Unpaid users are limited to twenty photos every week. Fortunately, for a small cost, customers can upgrade to several levels that provide additional capability and access. These are excellent options to explore, especially given how regularly the site offers savings on these subscriptions.
What distinguishes 500px as a true professional site, however, is the ability to access a directory of working professionals, market yourself by listing yourself as available for hire to other users, track detailed statistics on the performance of your work, and, most importantly, license and sell your work, earning what they claim to be the industry’s highest royalty rates thanks to parent company VCG, China’s Getty Images.
Serious photographers would be well to spend some time on 500px to determine whether it is a good fit for them. The site is always expanding and adapting to new trends, as seen by the recent addition of the NFT Vault.
Behance is worth a look for photographers seeking for a more creative social network through which to promote a specific selection of images. The site is completely free and there are no restrictions on the amount of projects or photographs that may be shared. If you’ve created a new collection that you’re really proud of, Behance is an excellent option for attracting attention and showcasing your abilities for networking purposes.
Behance is structured similarly to a social media site, with the option to follow other creatives and their work, as well as offer likes and shares. However, Behance has a few essential elements that make it extremely popular. Similar to Instagram’s Stories feature, Behance allows users to publish works in progress, so you and your connections may not only admire the end product but also follow along along the process, offering encouragement and comments.
Additionally, because Behance is an Adobe offering, it features a simple, aesthetically pleasing workflow for Adobe customers from the point of creation to the point of sharing.
There is no other significant photo-sharing site on the Internet that has the name recognition, tool selection, or smooth user experience that Flickr does. You are unlikely to be startled by its inclusion, and your lack of surprise is entirely justified, even so many years after the website reached its peak popularity.
Users can upload up to 1,000 images for free, which is more than adequate for the majority of casual users and even dedicated hobbyists. The site’s labeling system is robust, and the option to browse and download photographs in a variety of resolutions is priceless.
For those wishing to showcase their work with the intent of measuring its popularity, Flickr’s stats engine delivers an astounding quantity of information about who is viewing your work and when.
The ability to effortlessly embed photographs from your Flickr account into other websites, such as your own, has long been a strong feature of the service.
Since being acquired by SmugMug in 2018, several changes have been made to the original Flickr users know and love, most notably in terms of subscription costs for advanced capabilities, although we believe these prices are perfectly appropriate and necessary for professionals working in higher resolution. One noteworthy feature is that users who subscribe to Pro receive two months of Adobe Creative Cloud for free.
While this list is not so much about storage as it is about sharing, it would be criminal to overlook a service as stable, functional, and nearly ubiquitous as Google Photos. It seems implausible that anyone would not already have a Google account, whether for email, YouTube, or any number of other reasons, so why not maximize your existing account?
Google Images was initially intended to serve as a secure online backup for your photos, but the service has grown over time and now includes powerful sharing capabilities. Organizing your work into albums with complete control over who may access and download your photographs is extremely beneficial since it enables friends, family, and peers to add your work to their own albums, which can then be shared. All of this comes without a limit on the quantity of photos you can upload, which makes Google a safe bet when it comes to anonymously sharing your work.
While the moniker Photobucket is as ancient as Flickr (the two sites launched within a year of one another), its notoriety lags behind its contemporaries. Much of the disparity between the two is due to the performance of free subscribers. It’s a well-known fact that Photobucket, as a free service, may be aggravating due to an overabundance of obnoxious advertisements and that the site’s 250 photo restriction is laughably little in comparison to the competition.
When the site’s upper and premium tiers are unlocked, however, the site begins to come into its own, and its virtues begin to outweigh its flaws. For around $13 a month, the Expert level unlocks unlimited photo uploads, removes adverts, and gives you access to the complete suite of Photobucket’s quite robust editing capabilities. At this level, the once-cluttered interface is among the clearest and most intuitive on the market. Selling prints through Photobucket is simple, as it allows for the purchase of your work in a variety of various formats and mediums.
As with Flickr, the site enables you to embed your images in a variety of locations, from forums and websites to blogs and social media. Additionally, Photobucket emphasizes its low compression and lack of picture processing, such as automatic sharpening, as crucial characteristics for preserving the original image’s quality.
When used effectively at the appropriate tier, Photobucket makes a compelling case for a top-tier all-in-one solution. Again, while online storage is not the goal of our list, we would be negligent not to include it considering the comprehensive privacy controls and upload capacity it provides. At the top subscription level, Photobucket actually is capable of storing, showcasing, and monetizing your work in ways that few others can.
No list of photo-sharing sites would be complete without mentioning how the majority of people regard photo sharing – as a totally recreational, flashy, and social activity that is managed via an app. Instagram does not require any additional ink in this respect — after all, we are all on it now, correct? While it may be unmatched in terms of ubiquity, it has faced a number of competitors over the years. While none have succeeded in eclipsing it, there is one Insta-alternative that stood out from the start and has maintained its popularity and adoption nearly a decade later: VSCO.
VSCO is unmatched for casual users, and even some professionals who like to use their phones for practice or simply to show off. From visually appealing settings to editing features that are more precise than expected, VSCO shines as a more refined alternative to the Facebook/Meta-owned behemoth you are accustomed to.
It’s a really appealing app: simple and minimalist grids that showcase photographs against black backgrounds, allowing them to actually pop. It’s unsurprising that many photographers have selected VSCO as their preferred photo-sharing platform.
I know a number of non-photographers that exclusively use VSCO to edit their phone photographs before sharing them on other social media platforms, and many utilize VSCO as a preliminary step before moving on to Instagram.
What some may see as a disadvantage — VSCO’s dependency on in-app purchases for presets and editing capabilities — I see as a distinct advantage. It is precisely through this revenue stream that the creators have been able to maintain, stabilize, and enhance an already amazing photography app.
VSCO, the list’s most social item, may lack the subscriber count of its super-massive rival, but the ratio of users who actually enjoy photography is significantly higher. If your objective is to share a few gorgeous images while thumbing through higher-quality captures than you’ll find on a typical social media site, VSCO is the place to be.