Best Free Photo-Sharing Sites and Apps of 2012

Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram was just the beginning of an exciting year for people who love sharing pictures online. We’ve compiled a handful of great sites to help you collect, store, edit, share, and discover pictures for free.

Dropbox

Better known as a file storage site, Dropbox has updated its Android app to automatically pull photos from your smartphone and store them in the cloud (up to 2GB for free) along with all the photos from your desktop. While there are no collage tools or filter effects, you can arrange the photos into albums or share them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Path, Flickr, email and others; or save them on your SD card.

Flickr

AllTwitter editor Mary Long said of Flickr, “I like that you can share seamlessly with Twitter, FB and Tumblr. And the groups are interesting,” she added, “like ‘stick people in peril’ and ‘afraid to take this photo (but I took it anyway).’” The popular photo-sharing site has just added new photo filters to the mix through a partnership with Aviary, which also provides filters for Twitter.

Google+ Photos

Picasa albums show up in your Gmail now as Google+ Photos. Between Google+ Photos and Google Drive, you’ll have 5 GB worth of storage capabilities. You can tag your Google+ contacts in the pictures or add effects with editing tools like Vignette, Duo-tone, and Borders.

Instagram

Purchased by Facebook in April 2012, Instagram popularized the light filters that make your smartphone pictures look like an old Polaroid. While this service will have advertising in the near future, it’s still a great network for exploring interesting photographs taken by other people or for creating a photo map of your travels. The service is not guaranteed to keep your photos safe, however. You’ll need to store copies somewhere else.

Kaptur

This application will pull photographs and comments from across your social networks to create albums or slideshows around a particular event, like a concert or a wedding. For a little bit of money, you can then have the photos printed on cards and sent in the mail. After raising $2 million earlier this year, the Kaptur team said that the site just hit the one million-user mark and is now doubling its traffic every month.

Tumblr

The highly visual blogging service released an app this year that lets you organize pictures from your smartphone or tablet into photo sets and share them through Tumblr, Twitter, email and other networks.

Twitter

Twitter has more to offer than 140 characters – it’s estimated that 36 percent of tweets on the site are photos. After Instagram took its users’ pictures away from the Twitter feed, the microblogging network is going head-to-head with the Facebook-owned photo-sharing site by giving users similar filters to apply to their photos on Twitter.

While there are plenty more sites where these came from, we think this is a good sampling of what the internet has to offer as we head into 2013.

Image by MR.LIGHTMAN via Shutterstock.

Related Stories
Mediabistro Course

Online Marketing

Online MarketingStarting November 4, learn how to launch a successful digital marketing campaign for your brand! In this course, you'll learn how to create an online marketing strategy, identify the appropriate distribution platforms, and use the web to successfully deliver your brand's message. Register now!