One of the joys of taking great photos—whether of growing kids, exciting travels, or just moments from your everyday life—is getting to share them with family and friends. However, while social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram are popular places to share photos, not everyone is comfortable posting personal pictures on these relatively public platforms.
If you want more privacy and control when it comes to the question of who gets to see your photos, it can make sense to use a dedicated photo sharing site instead. These sites allow you to store and manage your pictures and videos. They put you in charge of who does (and who doesn’t) have access to your media.
Some of the best photo and video sharing sites you can choose from are:
The original goal behind the creation of Google Photos was to make it easy for users to back up photos and videos directly from their smartphones. Today, however, Google Photos is much more than just a way to save image files: it’s a feature-loaded photo storage and sharing repository. Once you’ve uploaded your photos, you can view and edit them using the program’s editing and tagging tools, and then share them publicly or with selected users. Organization gets a boost from features such as AI facial recognition, which makes it easy to sort and find photos based on who is in them. Best of all, Google Photos offers unlimited free storage, although it’s important to be aware that the maximum resolution for stored photos is 16MP.
If your main camera is your iPhone or another Apple device, iCloud Photos is one of your best options for photo storage and sharing. To start using iCloud Photos, all you need to do is enable the program on your iOS device or your Mac, and your photo and video files will be automatically uploaded to iCloud. Use your 5GB of free storage space to organize your media, create albums of your own photos or with photos from other iCloud users, and share your images via the Photo Stream feature in the Photos app.
Flickr has long been a popular choice among professional and keen amateur photographers due to its strong editing and social functions, but it’s also a great option for everyday users. The site not only hosts images, it boasts good video management capabilities as well, and the beautifully designed interface is easy and intuitive to use. Upload your photos and videos, use the site’s drag-and-drop functionality to quickly organize albums, tag photos for easy searching, and share away! The free version of Flickr allows you to store up to 1,000 photos and videos, which you can manage via the website or using Flickr’s iOS and Android apps.
Photobucket is also a great choice if you want to edit as well as share your photos. Photobucket offers an easy-to-use interface, a wide range of image-editing tools, and 2.5GB of free storage (up to 250 images). There are also plenty of sharing options, including a slideshow feature and the option to organize your images and videos into “stories” as well as albums. Photobucket’s free tier does display a lot of ads, but you can upgrade to an ad-free experience by choosing one of the many paid plans.
Because Dropbox isn’t specifically designed as a photo-sharing tool, it lacks some of the advanced features offered by other programs. However, if all you’re looking for is a simple way to share your photos without any fuss or frills, Dropbox is a solid, basic option. Simply upload your media files—this can be done automatically using mobile apps—and share them with other Dropbox users. You can take advantage of the program’s 2GB of free storage, as well as the ability to create slideshows for easy photo viewing.
If you like the ease of social media photo sharing, but not the lack of privacy that comes with it, you’ll want to check out Cluster. This program is a great choice for private photo sharing because it offers the ability to create private groups and prevents anyone except invited group members from seeing what you post. Cluster’s beautifully designed interface will appeal to social media lovers, as will the ability to create multiple albums and organize photos into collections that can be shared with notes and updates. It’s also completely free.
FamilyAlbum is another solid privacy-focused photo sharing option. As the name implies, FamilyAlbum is geared towards families with growing children who want a private, secure way to share important milestones with loved ones. The lovely, simple app design creates the feel of a digital scrapbook, automatically sorting photos by month and keeping a timeline of children’s ages, and allowing image clips to be pieced together to create videos. Albums and videos can be privately shared with selected users, and it’s also easy to create photo books of precious childhood moments.