So today I wanted to do something a little different and give you all some feedback on the sites I use to host my photos. One thing every photographer wants and needs is exposure, and in order to get it, you have to put your photos out there somewhere. I am currently using a few different places to see which one best suits my needs, and over time I may drop off some of the ones I don’t like. So without further ado, here’s the five sites I use starting with my least favorite:
Ugh. This is probably one of the worst places to host an image. Even a low-res one. I’ve tried using it a few times on this blog for large albums of urban explorations. I figure, “Hey, I’m not going to bother editing these photos, so the quality doesn’t have to be great. It has an album function and doesn’t require an account to do stuff. Should be good right?” Wrong. The album function is atrocious. It double posts images, drops images out of the album, screws with the order of things, etc. etc. The site is full of Reddit and 4chan users so you shouldn’t post anything you’re proud of, lest you don’t ever plan on reading the comments. It’s rare your photos will be found amongst the mess of memes and revenge porn, but when it does you’re usually called a slur of some sort by a handful of people. Then of course, you’ll come across a slightly edited version of your photo later on being touted as OC (which stands for Original Content). Between thieves and assholes and a just all around horrible design, avoid this site.
Rating: 0/10 – Would rather smash my own teeth out on a curb than use this site.
I have a lot of gripes about this site and very little positive to say. I’ll start with the positives so this doesn’t depress you before you get to the next site on the list. 500px has really only ONE upside, the ability to sell your photos hands off. By uploading your stuff into “Prime”, their storefront, you can have people license your images for commercial use, or just buy prints. They give you 70% of the sale price on prints, or $250 bucks every time someone licenses a photo from you. Some people bitch about being gouged, but at the end of the day, you aren’t doing any work at all. Why on earth should you make more than 70%? You aren’t printing, framing, shipping, etc. You’re basically paying someone to do it for you, which 30% seems close enough. While it isn’t perfect, it is something and it does seem to work for people.
So now the bad, for being a photography site, there is very little photography on it. If you’re anything like me and want your images to stand on their own, not be an over glorified piece of digital art, then this site isn’t for you. I will say this: There is nothing wrong with digital art. I love digital art. I just don’t like my photos to look like it. You didn’t take a photo of an abandoned house, on a Scottish moor at sunrise with the Milky Way still visible. Stop it. That isn’t a photo. You’re a liar. And guess what? You aren’t alone! Every image I see is overdone in Photoshop and hardly looks like a real place or picture anymore. So what does that mean for photographers? Well it means you’re trying to compete for views with non photographers who are creating vibrant beautiful images you can’t, but still selling them as photography. It basically means you’ll get little to no exposure on your work no matter how many hashtags you smash into each photo.
Beef two, is that the community is basically silent. Unless you happen to be one of the sponsored pros, you’ll likely get no comments or feedback on your work. And if you are a sponsored pro, you’ll only get people telling you you’re great and also receive no feedback. If you’re looking for a place in which you can post images and grow as a photographer, this isn’t it.
Rating: 4/10 – Will likely dump this site in the near future.
This site review will be short since I’ve only just started using it, which is also why it’s towards the bottom. There is a reasonable chance this could jump a few spots based on how I like it in a few months. So far though, it is pretty much just 500px with a less artsy user interface. The images are overdone Photoshop messes and you get little to no feedback on your work. HOWEVER, with that being said, I’ve noticed that people are a lot more active and the exposure is definitely there. In just a few days, I’d had my photos shared or viewed over 10K times. which is pretty nice. I generate a metric shitload of likes and shares which is great for the ego, and it feels as though my work as an actual photo is being appreciated. I’m not entirely sold that all of that is a good thing though. The feedback (which you’ll hear about all through this post) is very important. Having an actual community (which is what you advertise yourself having) that is willing to discuss and help each other is something lacking in a lot of places. Again, I’ve only been using it a week or so, so I’ll throw a shout-out at them if I change my mind later on.
Rating: 5/10 – I guess we’ll see what happens
This is the site I have been using the longest and it rates a solid: meh. They give you plenty of storage, have a functional hashtag system, there is some community to speak of (although it feels clique-y and weak) but much like any other free service is lacking in a lot of features a photographer desires. For me there isn’t High-Res support. My photos come out of the camera in an insanely large resolution. I’d like them to stay that way. While there are plenty of photographers around the site, most of the users seem to be very casual cell-phone-shooters. Which is perfectly fine. I have no gripes with people who just enjoy taking pictures, even though I sound like I’m screeching from an ivory tower. However, it means in order to find actual photographers to follow or interact with, you have to wade through a TON of just meh stuff. Some of it low-res flip phone camera shots of someones kids, some of it is image macros which feel grossly out of place. Keep that shit on imgur where it belongs!
I have to say I’ve had some decent luck with exposure as long as I peddle my account on my other networks like Twitter and Facebook. For the most part site is fine. They are constantly making small changes and adjustments which tells me they care enough to invest in the product and it may one day be what I am wanting. I’ll probably keep using the site but won’t be grooming it as often.
Rating: 6.5/10 – Good enough for government work.
Crowdshare is a site designed for artists. It’s split into a few categories: Photography, Traditional Art, Digital Art, Comics, and Animation. So unlike the other sites on the list, if you’re a photographer you aren’t competing for views with digital artists or what have you. Most of the photographers on the site seem to be amateurs who are working to improve their craft. I’ve been using this site for a few months and it’s still in beta. I love it. My images are posted in high res, there is an active community and discussion on a majority of posts. The exposure isn’t really there at all, but since it is a closed beta I am willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. As it stands I don’t have a lot of room to gripe about this site as of yet. The owners are constantly working to improve the experience and grow the site which is refreshing. I also like that there is a donate option built into each account in which you can connect a Paypal account and either receive donations from supporters (ala Patreon) or donate to someone whose work you enjoy. While I imagine the feature is largely unused the option to support the artist is nice. This is a site I plan to use going forward and it’s what I am currently using as my portfolio. SO feel free to click the link in the upper right hand side and peruse the site. It’s worth your time.
Rating: 8/10 – Will use moving forward.
Bonus review: Instagram!
I am on IG in addition to the multitude of other social media networks. I like it. It isn’t a great place as image hosting as the ability to recover stuff saved there is zilch. However, it’s a fun site and a cool way to discover some interesting talent and see the everyday lives of people that other social sites don’t provide. If you aren’t on it, I suggest getting on it. And if you are, then follow me at Earthquakephotography!
Rating: 7/10 – People don’t think it is what it is, but it do.
That’s it for this time folks. Until next time, Thanks for reading!