There are several points that you should consider when creating photo sharing public albums. Many websites have been created that are dedicated to helping you share your photos online. Before selecting a place to host your public album, make sure that you read the terms and conditions of the site carefully, as you may be giving up the rights to your images by posting them online.
Picasa web is a site for photo sharing public albums powered by Google. This site offers a high number of features for storing, organizing and sharing your photos. Picasa offers an excellent photo editing tool which allows you to perform basic fixes, such as red eye removal or minor retouching, after the photo has been uploaded. Since Picasa is powered by Google, you can also geo-tag your images, a feature which allows you to enter in the location where the photo was taken and index the information on Google Maps. Picasa's Terms of Service state that Google may reuse the content which you have posted or sell it on to companies where Google has an established relationship for the purposes of marketing.
Photobucket is a leader in online photo sharing and offers several levels of service. A basic account can be opened for free; this allows you to upload and share your photos using online albums. Upgrading your account will get you more storage space, increased bandwidth and no advertising. This is ideal if you have large quantities of photos or are using the photos in a heavily visited display. Photobucket's Terms and Conditions, however, grant other Photobucket users a license to reproduce, modify and copy any content posted to Photobucket, so be aware that anything you post is fair game to other users for their own purposes.
Flickr is a public photo sharing service often used by bloggers due to the ease of integration with blog software such as Blogger and Wordpress. The features on Flickr are similar to those of other online photo hosts - editing, storing and organizing photos is the site's primary function. Flickr also allows comments and notes to be posted on photos, crossing the site with social networking features such as friends lists and tagging. This site is owned by Yahoo! and by uploading your content to Flickr you are granting the company a license to reproduce your images.
Snapfish is designed as a public image gallery, but places their focus on the products which you can make from your photos. They often have inexpensive or free printing deals, and the Snapfish store offers dozens of products including mugs, T-shirts, calendars, gift items, greeting cards and stationery. The album structure is simple and allows the user to choose whether an album is public or private. Snapfish partners with retailers such as Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Meijer and Duane Reed for in-store pickup of prints made from online photos. This makes an ideal place to host your online album for events where viewers may wish to purchase prints from your album - orders can be placed and paid for online, then picked up locally as soon as the same day.
Considerations for Photo Sharing Public Albums
Remember that a public album is just that - public. This means that anyone with good enough Google skills or access to information such as your e-mail address can potentially access your public album. Give this idea some consideration before posting that drunken party photo of yourself; while it may be hilarious to your friends, it may not be so hilarious to relatives, colleagues or potential employers. If you are in doubt about how the images will present you, don't post them in a public album - or at all.