Here’s the Deal
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Google compresses all photos (to JPEG, medium quality) AND caps the max resolution at 16 MP (without paying an industry-high $10/month for a terabyte of storage), which rules out RAW uploads for any of the current name-brand DSLR cameras and up to 8 out of 10 most highly-rated point-and-shoots (DSLRs range from 20 to 50 MP right now, mid-2017; per PC Magazine's 2017 top P&S roundup, Canon and Panasonic sell 12.8MP cameras but the rest are 16-24MP; unknown if the camera maker's approximation of 16MP meets or exceeds Google's limit). See More
While there's a free unlimited storage plan, it's limited to 16 megapixel images and 1080p videos. Uploading full-resolution content, if you opt out of free unlimited storage plan, is limited to 15GB that comes with a Google account which is shared across all Google services. Increasing that storage space costs about $10/mo per 1TB of storage. See More
Google offers unlimited storage for any images under 16MP (~4.6MB). This is large enough for just about any 'regular' image (most phones and even dedicated cameras capture pictures less than 16MP). If pictures are over 16MP, then they can still be added, however they will count towards your Google Drive storage (5GB is free, but this storage is the total across all of Google's services including Docs, Sheets, Gmail, Google Photos and more). See More
Google only allows uploads via its desktop and mobile clients, and has stated it has no plans to release an open API for Google Photos. This means anyone wanting to share from Lightroom or any other major photo catalog app has to first export all their files to disk, wait for the export to complete, then upload to Google Photos. This extra step is cumbersome compared to sites which offer first-party upload plugins and an open API for any other developer to build off. See More
If you decide to edit a picture from within Google Photos, you have the ability to adjust the light, color, pop, and vingette through a slider. You can also use filters (also applied with a slider bar for just the right amount of filter) and do regular edits such as cropping, rotating, and zooming. The editor also keeps track of the original image, and it's easy to revert back at any time. Even when you are finished editing, the edit will be created as a new image - keeping the original in tact in case you made a mistake or want to made another edit. See More
No drag and drop or WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor is available for building the website. All properties have to be set and saved in the backend before it's possible to view the result that in and of itself has to be viewed in a separate browser window. Getting a site just right takes a lot of back and forth between refreshing the preview window and editing details in the backend. See More
SmugMug automatically pulls photo metadata such as keywords, descriptions and captions, and inserts them in appropriate places in the webpage so that search engines can properly index them. If that information is not set before uploading, it can be added via back-end as well. Also in the back-end it's possible to set site-wide metadata and custom URLs to further optimize. Content still needs to be dispersed via social media, blogs, forums, etc for it to show up in search results, but SmugMug has a well polished codebase that takes search engines into consideration and won't hinder content's exposure potential. See More
By simply dragging and dropping various content blocks (such as menu, galleries, social buttons, text) around it's possible to quickly and visually lay out the site. Customization options are context aware. So, if a gallery is open, gallery customization options will be shown, if a page is open, page customization options will be shown. To change the look of the site there are multiple themes available that can be further customized by changing HTML & CSS. See More
It's possible to set an assistant password that gives access to the backend (with some limitations). Very useful for letting someone trusted upload and arrange photos. The assistant won't be able to delete photos or galleries, customize the site or access private folders. See More
For those of us who bought on to the "Pro" account when it was first offered at $25/year, Flickr remains one of the cheapest portfolio options which do not arbitrarily resize and recompress original images (Google). It is price competitive with 500px, and significantly cheaper than SmugMug or Zenfolio. Of course, if you did not get in "early", this is a con: you need to fork over $50/year to have the same unlimited storage, putting it in line with the more full-featured options. See More
Flickr has an app on Windows, OSX, iOS and Android, called Flickr Uploadr (available for download in the tools section) that can automatically upload images to Flickr. It can even pull images from external drives and other cloud storage services such as iCloud. See More
PS allows selling prints, products, downloads, and licenses. It's possible to set up multiple pricing options, adjust markup based on region or usage rights, integrate with third party vendors. Transaction fee changes based on pricing tier. Starter fee is 30%, Basic, Sandart and Pro fees are 10%, 9% and 8% respectively. See More
There are multiple "silos" in the site with different user interfaces for the same function, and with different bugs in each. For instance, trying to import from Flickr the support person had me navigate to the Flickr connection UI via Create Photo Book (which actually worked, but didn't give me an easy way for others to draw from my Flickr-hosted photos), because the "Connect to Flickr" function in the main upload screen was broken. Albums in "My Photos" have drastically different capabilities compared to albums in "Shared Sites". This leads to confusion and completely unhelpful support/help documentation. See More
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