I’ve just paid up for the privelege of another year as a Flickr Pro. That’s $25 well spent in my opinion. I’ve invested so much into my Flickr account that it’s hard to see myself changing them for a different photo sharing host. But I still look around and play. Today I came across MyPhotoAlbum, via Photrade. Photrade was a promising photo sharing start up from a couple of years ago that’s now closed down and is directing everyone to – you guessed it – MyPhotoAlbum. So I signed up and gave them a whirl.
What attracted me was that you get 20 free prints for signing up for their free basic membership. A lot of sites are offering this lately I’ve noticed, but I’ve never really given it much thought, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the free photos are usually only small 6×4 prints. Secondly, paying for the shipping is often a hassle – I can’t be arsed to get my debit card out, and then a lot of sites won’t accept a Mexican debit card. Or my Mexican bank doesn’t like me using their card on strange sites. One or the other. Thirdly, what do I want with prints? I’m a digital age photographer! All my shots are on Flickr, visible to the entire world, 24/7, 365 days a year. Not in some album hidden in a drawer somewhere.
But I have a mother in law who likes photos, and plenty of snaps from her daughter’s (and my!) wedding last year. MyPhotoAlbum also allowed me to pay by PayPal (fantastic!) and even though the prints are indeed on 6×4 paper…they aren’t for me. Shipping was just a little over two bucks, the payment process was painless and hopefully Paola’s mum is going to get a nice surprise through her letterbox in a few days. The album I created to buy the prints can be seen if you click here.
What about MyPhotoAlbum as a site? Can I just refer to them as MPA from now on? Please? Well most sites usually have a few plus points. I have to say the free membership has a few things that turn me off. The advertising is intrusive. And the number of photos you can upload are limited to 500. Zooomr and Windows Live Photo Gallery offer much, much more. For some people that might be enough, but I currently have a stockpile of more than 6,000 photos. But the layout is pleasant enough, and is customiseable in a nice way. What I mean by that is there are options available to choose from which don’t turn your gallery into a Hi5/MySpace style mess of glitter and flashing lights.
I really do like the way they integrate the options to purchase photos into the site. As well as the option to turn your photos into Gifts – calenders, mouse mats, posters etc etc. Flickr does have partners and they do produce a classy range of products, but they haven’t built the store into the site as slickly. Although it has to be said, perhaps that is a good thing – keeping the photo and product sides of the business a little bit separate.
Could I recommend MPA? I think that if you are not so interested in the sort of community that Flickr has to offer, and are willing to pay a very reasonable $20 for full membership, then I think it’s a nice operation most people would enjoy. But. I’ve seen too many of these sites fail to gain traction and go out of business. I hate to say it, because I don’t like to do down a promising company, but maybe you should just take the free photos and run. Actually that is unfair. But perhaps stick to the free membership for now and see how things go.