online photo sites: none of them have it just right.

I have been seeking out the ultimate photo sharing site, and I have been utterly frustrated. None of them have all the features I want; and it seems to easy! Let me spell this out for you…

Here are all my desired features, in no particular order:

  • A site that’s free, or kinda free. Amazon Prime Photos is the perfect example. I pay for Amazon Prime anyways (doesn’t everyone?), so having an unlimited account isn’t an additional cost. I’m even willing to put up with a little ad content if the site were to have all the features I want.
  • The ability to easily add tags. People! TAGS! How hard is this? I want to be able to type thisword , thatword , ad nauseam, and add tags to my photos. Helloooo… *hollering down an empty drainage tunnel*
  • Granular rotation of images. Cue Dos Equis commercial here: “I don’t always take pictures cockeyed, but when I do, they look like they were taken by a drunk Irishman.” I want a photo storage site that allows me to quickly edit and just slightly rotate an off-kilter image.
  • Full-size image backup. I back up my own images in several places anyways; so this isn’t a really really need; but for others, this is their only backup, so it’s important.
  • Search. I have two requirements here: I want to be able to search for a date, and I don’t even care if you make me comply to a format (like 2017/07/04). Searching for 07/04 would also be nice, for “this day in history”-type posts. The second part is just basic… word… search. I don’t mean the-service-found-a-dog-in-my-photo search; I mean I added special words (or tags!!) to a photo, and I want to be able to search for them. I don’t think Google image search knows what a “Popple” is yet.

Here are the sites I’ve tried, and how they stack up:


Google Photos

  • A site that’s free: check.
  • The ability to easily add tags: no; but you can add descriptions. I don’ trust this, though. I swear there was a period of about a hear that description search was disabled–and it made me distrust Google Photos.
  • Granular rotation of images: check. It’s easy too.
  • Full-size image backup… you can, but not much for free. So I’m going to say no. They give you 15GB of storage free, and the prices go up from there.
  • Search: check. Again though, I’ll say that I don’t trust it; and the date searches are touch and go. Sometimes I can search in the date format I want, and sometimes it seems like I can’t. (For the record, I know for a fact that about 90% of the “date taken” settings in my images are correct, because I’ve checked them.)

Flickr

May I just say for the record here that even though Flickr looks cool, I don’t recommend putting a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it. I don’t think it is long for this world. With the state of the company I’m afraid they will ditch it soon. This is sad, really; because “back in the day,” us old-schoolers really loved Flickr. Has Yahoo, for the most part, been letting Flickr gather dust? If so, what a shame… what a lost opportunity.

  • A site that’s free: check. They give you 1TB of storage, which is enough for most laymen.
  • The ability to easily add tags: check. In fact, I wish all photo sites could learn from this.
  • Granular rotation of images… well look at that. When I just tried it, I got this message: “The edit photo feature on the Flickr photo page is currently disabled pending an upgrade.” So maybe someone has finally slapped them around, and they’re doing some serious updates after all. (I still don’t trust them.)
  • Full-size image backup: check. Again, this is up to 1TB of total space.
  • Search: check. Flickr did this feature right years ago with a feature that they used to call “Organizr” but that Yahoo has downgraded its coolness by calling “Organize.”

Amazon Prime Photos

  • A site that’s free: kinda check? As I said previously a lot of people have Amazon Prime. If you do, you can upload unlimited, full-size photos. If not, you can pay $59.99 annually for up to 1TB of photos. That’s the same amount of space as Flickr; but I’d pay the $60 of yearly security to know that all my online photo work wasn’t going to suddenly one day go *poof.* (By the way–if you’re thinking about paying the $60 for Amazon Prime Photos, just give up and buy Prime; it’s $99, and you get free 2-day shipping on Amazon, and Amazon Prime Video, and and…)
  • The ability to easily add tags: kinda check? You can use “Albums” to put “tags” on photos (which is what I do). I almost never use albums for their intended use, so this works out perfect for me. It’s not 100% easy–you can’t do ten “tags” back-to-back in ten seconds–but it does work.
  • Granular rotation of images: no. Unfortunately, all you can do is the standard 90-degree rotation.
  • Full-size image backup: check.
  • Search: check. The search actually works really well (gulp–better than Google’s?), and they even have an “on this day” feature at the top of your main photo page that’s cute and handy.

If you have used another photo website that has all the features I’m referring to here, for the love of Pete please tell me. Feel free to share your opinions, or just wallow and cry with me, in the comments below…

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About Susan Pitman

Susan is an artist who grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Texas. She writes songs, short stories, and books. You can follow @susanpitman143 on Twitter.

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