Photo- and Video-sharing sites

To share pictures and movies of my son with family, I need a reliable and easy to use site. There are many options out there, and I researched the pro's and con's of many of them in great detail. In the end, I chose phanfare for its excellent slideshows and integration of photos and video. From now on, my media home on the web is:

http://shiro.phanfare.com

Here are the services I considered:
  • shutterfly free, no video, no customization options, not many organization options, nice print options, I already have an account
  • photobucket free, includes video, no customization options, owned by myspace now
  • picasa web albums free, includes mapping, google apps integration, no video, no customization options, owned by google
  • flickr free, includes mapping, no video, very popular, no customization options, annoying organization, owned by yahoo
  • ourstory free, includes video, very interesting timeline-based presentation
  • zenfolio basic $25/yr, unlimited $40/yr, no video, best photo presentation/customization/organization options of any site
  • phanfare $55/yr, lifetime $300 once, best slideshows and video presentation of any site, adequate customization options, no ability for guests to comment on photos
  • smugmug basic $40/yr, power $60/yr, most widely used photo-sharing service, includes most video formats of any other options, somewhat clunky interface for uploading, includes mapping, by far the best customization options for the site
Other photo sharing options:
iWeb+.Mac, webshots, zoomr, snapfish, zoto, dropshots, pixamo, multiply, fotolog, imageshack, viewbook, ipernity

Smugmug is the best overall, but phanfare is a close second due to its ease of use and much nicer slideshows. If you don't care about video, zenfolio is the best. If you don't care about having access to the full resolution images, picasa web albums or flickr should be fine.

I tried out trial accounts on smugmug, phanfare, photobucket, picasa, and I already use shutterfly. The choice came down to smugmug vs. phanfare, and when my family tried out my trial albums at both sites, they overwhelmingly preferred phanfare. I would have probably chosen smugmug for the more customization options and cleaner-looking website, but phanfare is quicker and easier to use. Plus, it has the best slideshows.

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