nick\’s my name

February 15, 2006

Which Photo Service?

Filed under: Stuff On the Web — nicksmyname @ 3:37 pm

My lucky mum’s just back from a big holiday in India with Fionnuala and Hughes. She took something like 500 digital photo’s. And she wants to put some of them online. She asked me for some suggestions. I started writing it out for her and realised I had done this before so maybe I should post it on the blog that way other people can have a read too. So here’s my advice for Mum.

The three services I have used are Yahoo Photos, Flickr and BallofDirt.

All are free for basic services. Flickr offers a “Pro” account for $25US a year.
All of them will automatically resize your pictures for display on the web.

Yahoo Photos is the most basic offering.


  • Pretty simple to use.
  • No feature clutter. It doesn’t do much so you don’t get distracted.
  • Easy to create “Albums” and group your photographs.
  • Fairly easy upload feature.
  • No limit on the number of photo’s.


  • Lack of advanced features.
  • Ugly interface.
  • No ability to sort pictures or group them beyond putting them in an “Album”.

Flickr is the easiest to use of the three. It’s owned by Yahoo and it’s pretty much the leading site for photo’s these days. You can see my photo’s at


  • Very very easy to use; including a great upload tool.
  • You can choose to limit your photo’s to only be seen by friends (as long as they join Filckr too)
  • Great advanced features (people can comment on your photo’s, you can “tag” your photos so you find all the photo’s with have a specific tag. Try this out at: You can also order prints, calendars etc. Too many to list all the advanced stuff.
  • Limited ability to define your own “sets” of photo’s and order them within this set (three sets maximum unless you pay a subscription)


  • There are imitations on the amount of photo’s you can upload per month (2GB) and the total number of photo’s displayed on the site (200)
  • The order your photo’s appear on the site is the reverse chronological order from when they were taken. So your newest picture is shown first. If you’ve beenon holiday you want to tell a story of the trip with your pictures this can be annoying.

Ball of Dirt is probably the least known of the three, but my old workmate Gerald runs it so I have a personal interest in it. It’s a slightly different service to the others as it is specifically for travel photo’s;  so it is geared up to allow you to write a travel diary of your trip and upload the pictures of each stage on the trip. Here’s an example:

  • As you put in the locations you visit on your trip BOD will map your journey across the globe (or around the neighbourhood) which gives you a cool visual picture of your trip.
  • You can put in daily commentary and then display multiple pictures on each day.
  • No limit on the number of photo’s.
  • Pictures are organised in chronological order according to the dates you upload them too.  Perfect for pictures of a trip.
  • You can have as many trips and photo’s on the site as you like.


  • Geared to a more technically savvy user.
  • Overall usability doesn’t match Flickr. For example the bulk upload tools are not as easy to use as Flickr or Yahoo.

Just for sheer ease of use and productivity Flickr might be the one for Mum. Much as I love BOD’s concept I have ended up using Flickr more often just to save time.
The main thing with Flickr’s 2GB limitation is to resize your photos before you upload them. You can do this in whatever Photo Editing program you like, or use the Flickr Uploadr tool to do it. Either way you will get FAR more pictures for 2GB if you do this. It also makes uploading much quicker.

So I think that’s about it.  I wouldn’t touch Yahoo Photos myself but if you have simple needs they have a simple answer.  BOD is great at displaying your journey pics but it’s a bit more work to get there than Flickr.
Have fun!


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