picture of six white women posing for a picture on a bridge at night

My Favorite Photo Gathering Platforms:

Have you taken a vacation or attended a large party, only to get home and realize you don’t have any photos you like? Your friends and family may have taken various great images, but it is important to select the right photo-sharing method to maintain photo quality and metadata. I have tried almost every platform or app to share photos between contacts, and very few have passed my test. Here are a few of the most popular photo-gathering platforms and my thoughts on each.

Platform Pros and Cons

Memento:

I decided to try this app out during a recent girls’ trip. You can create a shared album for free, have each person in the group download the app, and then import photos so everyone can see them.

  • Pros
    • Provides a great way for everyone in your party to join a shared album when you have a mix of Apple and Android users.
    • Tells you who shared each picture with the album
    • Something new and fun that I plan to continue exploring!
  • Cons
    • Does not provide all of the metadata information for each photo. This is not a dealbreaker for most people, but I use metadata to organize my memories hub. 

Facebook:

This is a common platform for sharing photos with friends and family. If you are simply wanting to post vacation pictures, this might be the perfect platform for you. However, if you are trying to send images to friends for them to download onto their devices, I found a few flaws. 

  • Pros:
    • Allows friends and family to see images that you have taken
  • Cons:
    • Does not maintain the best photo quality when downloading images from others.
    • Files become compressed, resulting in a lower-quality image, and any uploaded metadata is stripped.
    • The same goes for photo-sharing platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram

Google Photos:

I have mixed feelings about Google Photos, but as a photo-gathering platform, it works well, especially if you have Apple and Android users. 

  • Pros:
    • Allows you to create a shared album that everyone can add pictures to. 
    • Maintains photo metadata
    • Downloads both a .jpg and an .mlb for live images
  • Cons:
    • Metadata does transfer between devices, but the date/time might not always be accurate.

Dropbox:

This platform is my personal favorite, but it may not be for everyone. As mentioned, I organize my images based on metadata (what date/location the photo was taken), and I know that I can trust Dropbox to transfer and store the metadata properly.

  • Pros:
    • You can send someone a link to your album and they can add images without needing to download an app or create a Dropbox account.
    • Dropbox sends me email alerts when someone I’ve shared a link with adds an image.
    • Accurately preserves metadata
  • Cons:
    • You need a paid Dropbox account to allow others to add to your album. 

All of these platforms are good options, depending on your needs. If you just want to share images for friends to see, but not download, try Facebook. If you want to create a shared album among multiple users, try Dropbox, Google Photos, or Memento. I enjoy using Dropbox to maintain and store my images long-term. However, if you aren’t interested in paying for a platform and just want to get a few photos, Google Photos is perfect for you. 

Which platform is right for you?

The perfect photo-gathering method will depend entirely on what you prefer. If you are just sharing pictures among a small group of friends, try sending them by shared album or text. If you have a larger party, like a wedding or birthday, try out a collaborative photo-sharing app. While browsing, I discovered one called Kululu. This app provides you with a QR code so attendees can scan and share. If you decide to try an app like Kululu, make sure to share your images to your camera roll ASAP. A few years ago, I used an app like Kululu for a trip with friends and they ended up going out of business a few months later. Don’t assume that you will be able to look back on your photos in the app forever. If the pictures are meaningful, make sure to save them to your memories hub right away. 

Simple Tips:

If you are planning a trip or party soon, try having one person take the majority of the photos (preferably someone who is good with photo sharing) and decide ahead of time how you want to share them. When you know that you will be asking someone to take a group photo, make sure to pick one phone to hand them, instead of all 5. Often, people are more than happy to snap a picture, but it can get overwhelming when multiple phones are thrown at you. Finally, I always recommend having a selfie stick* to take harder-to-capture images!

a group of people posing for a photo at night

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