Finding a new home for my photos

I love sharing my photos. I’m not kidding myself that I could take photos professionally, but I do think I have an eye for some aspects of the craft and besides, I’m proud of my photos. In the last few years I’ve found that friends and family have responded well to my video clips as a way of sharing the photos. I choose the best images, sprinkle in a few seconds of video and tell the story of the event with the aid of a soundtrack in the background. I enjoy creating the clip and I think it’s low-risk to agree to a 5 minute video of our trip to Hawaii as opposed to seeing our photos and video from our trip to Hawaii (which could be completely unedited and run all afternoon!).

The most enjoyable way sharing these clips is with a cup of tea in our lounge room. The most effective way is through the internets, so it was time to work out an effective method of doing so.

My requirements:

  1. Photo sharing (der!) for many hundreds of images, grouped into tens of separate galleries
  2. Support for displaying geotagged images on a map, automatically
  3. Sharing of videos of a few minutes in length, preferably at up to a reasonable resolution (720p)
  4. Sharing videos where I’m using a soundtrack from an album in the background
  5. Photos and video in the same place, not on two different sites
  6. The interface looks stylish
  7. Low cost - \$50/yr is OK, free is better

Shouldn’t be too hard, should it?

Here’s what I found:

  • Flickr Pro: Videos are limited to 90 seconds. It’s a non-starter.
  • YouTube: Flags my videos as violating copyright. Meh. It’s a personal video for goodness sake. Fail. (and there’s no image support)
  • Facebook: Also flags my videos as violating copyright. No geotagging support. Fail.
  • Google Picasa Web: Nasty terms-of-service (I won’t grant Google the right to use and redistribute my photos). Google owns YouTube so I expect the copyright issue that spoiled my YouTube experience would apply to Picasa too. Yuk.
  • Photobucket: Takes the worst of MySpace ‘08 and Angelfire ‘98 then adds even more ads and visual clutter. It’s about my photos, not your ads. Next, please.
  • Gallery: I have pretty decent web hosting and could probably set this up again, but couldn’t be bothered. I’m a user, not a sysadmin. I just want things to work these days.
  • Apple MobileMe: Looks polished and professional and works seamlessly with my standard tools (iMovie & Aperture). I really wanted to try this, but there’s a long-running, known problem with using MasterCard to setup the MobileMe trial. I only have a MasterCard. Seriously, Apple, I wanted to give you money but you stopped me.
  • Smugmug Pro: cha-ching. It costs \$60/yr, but works a treat so I don’t mind. It’s easy for me to upload from Aperture and has the added bonus of being able to appear within my domain.

Note (Feb 2013): While I did choose to host my photos and videos at Smugmug after this exploration, I recently moved photos to Flickr and videos to Vimeo. I guess having everything in one place really wasn’t that important to me.