Reviews: Photo Sharing/Critique Websites



PhotoForums is a relatively new site, launched in July 2002, that aims to be a complete photography community website. This is what the site's creator has to say:

About page

"I'm J. Geoffrey Badner, the designer and creator of PhotoForums. After joining, and eventually abandoning, a couple of other photography community sites I decided to create my own. In putting this site together I've focused on three things:

  • Keep it SIMPLE
  • Make it POWERFUL
  • Make it FUN"

This is the third site that I've reviewed, and once again it is a non-commercial venture, free of distracting advertisement banners and pop-up windows.

PhotoForums is by far the most well-designed website that I'm reviewing. It's so nice that I wish I had designed it myself! A quick look at the creator's other websites will confirm that he's an excellent website designer, and indeed an excellent photographer.


4 stars
(out of 5 stars)

PhotoForums is split into two main sections. The Galleries section allows you to create your own gallery of photos and view other peoples galleries. The Forums section is a discussion forum which covers film and digital photography.

As I'm focusing on posting photos, I'll just be reviewing the Galleries half of PhotoForums. You can create your own gallery of photos, up to a limit of 2,000Kb of disk space. The website keeps you informed of how much space you have used and how much is left on the Image Upload page. At the time of writing, I have uploaded 23 photos, which use up nearly half of my allotted space, with the photos ranging from 30-60Kb in size. So I should be able to upload around 50 photos in total.

You can create albums to sort your photos into, add any image from any member's gallery to your Favourites list, and send any image as an e-Card. You can enable Email Updates for any photo that you have posted, and also for any other photo on the site; an email will be sent to you whenever a comment is made about the photo. As well, as being able to make comments, PhotoForums also has a Ratings system in place.

In summary, PhotoForums has all of the features that the other sites have and comes with adequate free space to store your photos.

Ease of Use

5 stars
(out of 5 stars)

PhotoForums - Submit a Photo

Using PhotoForums is a breeze, even easier than the sites that I've reviewed so far! Uploading a photo can be completed in less than 5 minutes. Browse to the file on your computer, enter a title for it, enter a set of keywords and a description (both optional), choose whether you want to be emailed when someone adds a comment, then click the Upload/Submit button.

PhotoForums - Statistics

Your uploaded photos are then displayed as thumbnails (12 per page) with the statistics for each one underneath. You can instantly see details like how many times the photo has been viewed, what its rating is, when it was uploaded and how many comments have been made about it. Clicking the thumbnail opens the full-size version and also allows you to fill in the Comments form.

The only niggle that I have found doesn't even apply to the Gallery section that I'm reviewing. If you intend to use both the Gallery ad the Forums section of PhotoForums, you have to create two different user accounts, one for each section, which works against the unified nature of the site.


5 stars
(out of 5 stars)

So, 5 stars so far for Features and Ease of Use. Unfortunately, Feedback is the one area where PhotoForums loses out to the other sites in this review, and loses out in a big way. A quick look at the Comparison on Page 1 shows that, despite uploading the most photos (23) and receiving the most page views (290), my photos only had 3 comments made about them in total. All those photos and views, but only a tiny number of comments. I've got no idea why this only seems to apply to PhotoForums, as it's actually very straightforward to leave a comment. Therefore I can only award 2 stars to PhotoForums for the Feedback category.


4 stars
(out of 5 stars)

PhotoForums is a gorgeously designed, well implemented and easy-to-use website that unfortunately suffers from one big problem when judged as a photo critique website; nobody seems to be offering any critiques! A quick glance at other members' galleries reveals the same thing. BatCountry's gallery, for example, has been viewed a whopping 2605 times, but only 14 comments have been made about the entire gallery. I'm not sure what the other sites are doing that PhotoForums isn't; maybe they could reveal their secrets? As a photo sharing website, where you post your photos for friends and family to look at, PhotoForums is definitely worth considering. Just don't expect to get much constructive criticism about your work...

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