But back to what I was writing about, Flickr and SmugMug.
Between the two, I've definitely been more active on my SmugMug account, with the number of images uploaded at around a couple thousand. I've trimmed it back a bit since, but with Adobe Lightroom having direct export to it, thanks to the SmugMug plugin, and the great user interface, it makes SmugMug a natural choice. I pay for the Pro account, so I get other features like custom watermarks and the ability to sell prints/etc at custom prices.
Recently, however, I've been wanting to include more social aspects of the web into my photography and blogging. Switching to Blogger.com for my blogging platform has opened me up to using my Flickr account again. After seeing the restrictions on the free account, I also opted to go with the Pro account on Flickr.
One of the great things I liked about SmugMug was the intuitive interface. It allowed me to quickly setup a gallery in the style I wanted, and send out notifications that it was up and available. If I wanted, I could make it private and password protected. Each Album its own unique password/etc.
This was great for when I wanted to keep things hidden and secret, but what about when I wanted to share and let others more easily find my images? What if I wanted to include image links in my blog?
Well, with SmugMug, I've had to login, get to the share image, and get a public link or code snippet that will display the image and provide a link back to the gallery. This is then copied and pasted into the blogging program of choice. Not the smoothest of workflows.
With the introduction of the iPad into my digital ecosystem, I've started to use an app called BlogPress. There is built-in support for Flickr and Picasa, where when you blog, you can insert images. However, you can only insert images as an upload from your iPad photo album to your image hosting service of choice. By default, the photo will link to your image gallery, which is fine by me. :)
After a couple of days of working with BlogPress like this, it became quite easy to use and using SmugMug to post the same kind of image links now seemed much more restrictive.
Granted, the ease is due in large part to the defacto support of Flickr in BlogPress. However, Flickr offers some pretty good features on their site as well:
- Getty Image integration with a "License this image" link. Nice, considering the fact that Flickr images get "borrowed" for commercial purposes. SmugMug Pro offers a digital download option, but you kinda have to manage the licensing yourself.
- Ability to "replace" an image(pro feature), so that you can keep your links, comments, etc. but update the image with a better one. SmugMug Pro also has this option.
- Others can rapidly add your image to their sets and photo streams. The iPad application, FlickrStacker makes this really easy. You can also add other people as a contact or friend. In SmugMug, the only real option is "friend" or "family". For folks you don't know, friending can seem too intimate.
- FlickrStacker also allows you to download images from your Flickr account to your iPad's photo album. Awesome, since BlogPress kinda requires you to have it for upload. SmugMug's portable gallery doesn't allow this. I can understand why, since they have a much stronger image protection stance than Flickr. However, I should be able to download images from my own account to my iPad for showing or re-uploading...
Room for Improvement
I'm sure I'll find more pros and cons along the way. Until then, some suggestions to the various app makers:
BlogPress: Add support for SmugMug. Would really make my day. Also, add support for image captions and hover-text information for images. Item lists would be nice as well. :)
FlickrStacker: Please consider letting me join a group from the iPad app. Just adding a group to my stacks isn't really the same thing. ^_^;;
SmugMug: More social aspects would be nice. You guys are still my main go-to because of your commitment to protection of images and to quality of prints.
Blogger: Wow. Why did I ever try to host my own blog before? You guys have alot of great features that I'm learning to use every day. Being supported by various blogging apps certainly makes things alot easier.
- SmugMug : http://www.smugmug.com ( Coupon: XA4ljcMBEkUsg )
- Flickr: http://www.flickr.com
- Blogger : http://www.blogger.com