While Shutterfly has been playing around with some different aspects of photo sharing and community, the main draw so far has been your ability to create tangible prints and products from your photos. Currently, you can upload as many high-resolution images as you want to Shutterfly with a free account. But, even as the owner of the image, once uploaded you can't re-download the high-resolution image—it must be ordered on a CD. The Shutterfly Share site is a sharing feature that allows you to create a personal network space for an event that may have multiple photographers, such as a family reunion or sports event, making it easy for everyone in attendance to share, order prints and leave comments. www.shutterfly.com
Tumblr is a microblogging and social-networking platform that has grown to host over 100 million blogs since its launch in 2007. A free membership is easy to set up, and the dashboard interface is intuitive for posting photos, short text and video pieces. A highlighted feature of Tumblr is one-click re-blogging. This has been a problem in terms of photographer attribution. If you decide to post a photo, you can use a URL to create a click-through link to your website and watermark your images to help with the attribution issues. Also, be mindful in your decision about which photos to share on this site. In May of 2013, Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo. www.tumblr.com
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard network primarily thought of as a place to bookmark and share inspirational images with your friends, but it's also a place to share your own images with a portfolio pinboard for others to re-pin. Launched in 2010, it quickly garnered a large community along with scrutiny over copyright and photo attribution. Each pin links to the original source of the image, but the source and attribution weren't always reliable. In an effort to change this, Pinterest issued a meta tag for companies to opt out of Pinterest, as well as an automatic attribution feature where photographer attributions are automatically entered into the text field from sites like Flickr, Behance, YouTube and Vimeo. www.pinterest.com
Google+ is often still considered the new kid on the block of social media, and you may be the first of your friends or family to join, but the site design has hit it big with photographers. The large photo display is a draw, but the community connection is what keeps photographers active on the network. When you first join Google+, it may take a little activity to first add people to your circles, but by joining communities that are arranged by interest, you'll quickly find photographers to interact with. Some communities are geographical, others are divided by type of photography, and others are specifically critique communities with moderators to keep the community focused. Since Google+ is integrated with the entire Google network, many photographers find themselves using the chat and hangout functions for additional live collaborations. And the fact that Google recently acquired NikSoftware has many photographers wondering what added integration may be on the horizon. www.plus.google.com.