Reviews: Photo Sharing/Critique Websites
ShutterCity is a non-profit, free website that allows you to view and critique photographs taken by people from all over the world, and create your own online photo gallery. On the About ShutterCity.com page, the introduction reads:
ShutterCity is a web site brought to you by three photo enthusiasts who happen to be techies. The site grows out of our passion for photography and desire to create a photographic community to serve the public.
Our goal is to create a site which you can call home and share your experiences and images, and interact with other folks similar to you. We will be implementing new features constantly, striving to meet the needs of our members so we can have a community which you will thoroughly enjoy being part of. We are committed to bringing you a site that is dynamic, resourceful, and easy to use.
As with WebAperture, ShutterCity is a completely advert-free zone, which is very refreshing in this day and age of obtrusive pop-up adverts. This also allows you to focus on the main aim of the site; photography.
(out of 5 stars)
ShutterCity is particularly good at presenting informative statistics about your photographs. The Comments Archive is extremely useful, as it enables you to see all of the comments and ratings that have been made about your photos on a single page, with links to each photo. Similarly, the Page View Summary shows all the photos and how many times each one has been viewed.
The main drawback that ShutterCity has is the inability to create albums, which, if you post a lot of images, may result in a long list in the My Gallery section. Most of the other sites reviewed offer this functionality, so it would be nice for ShutterCity to do the same.
The site also lacks some of the frills that some of the other sites have, such as a Favourite Photos list and the option to send photos to people as e-Cards. I haven't used these features at all, so you may see this lack of extras as a good thing.
Like WebAperture, there are limits on uploading files to ShutterCity. You are only allowed to upload 3 photos per week, although there is no limit on the total amount that you can submit. Once again, you should probably use ShutterCity primarily as a Critique website, rather than to share 100's of photos with friends and family.
(out of 5 stars)
My Gallery is the main ShutterCity page that other people will see; this is the URL that you give to your friends and family. The title, posted on date and a thumbnail of each image is displayed. Click on the title to add a comment about that image, or click the thumbnail to view the full-size image. It really is that straightforward.
Upload Photo is the other page that you will principally use, and again it's logical and well thought-out. Most of the page is actually optional information which you can enter if you want to, although you may be more likely to receive comments if you volunteer more information at this stage. People are always interested in things like what lens and camera you used to take the photograph. You can also tick the Accept Star Rating box, which means that you can opt in or out of the ShutterCity rating system, and just accept comments instead.
Overall, ShutterCity is very straightforward to setup and use; you can literally create an account and post several photos within 15 minutes of opening the website!
(out of 5 stars)
The statistics for the photos that I've posted at ShutterCity show that it is almost at the top of the pile in terms of comments received and page views. I've only uploaded 7 photos in total since February 18th, but have still received 213 total views and 25 comments. That puts ShutterCity only slightly behind WebAperture, where I've posted 5 more photos.
So my photos have had quite a lot of exposure, but what about the quality of the comments? Have they been helpful to me?
This was the first comment that I received on ShutterCity:
"I like street entertainers as I think they are real look at the culture. This would have been much better is you have moved over and used the mother and child as a reference rather than blocking so much of the shot. Most of us have never seen this type of entertainment before and it should be center stage." (3 out of 5 rating)
Maybe a bit harsh, but certainly very fair; this comment again refers to this picture of a Covent Garden entertainer, which, as mentioned in the review of WebAperture, I agree should contain less of the onlookers and more of the performer. The other comments have followed a similar trend to those on WebAperture; on the whole friendly and constructive. People have tended to comment only when they like a photo, and only give a rating when they really like a photo.
(out of 5 stars)
ShutterCity shares many of the same characteristics as the previous site that I've reviewed, WebAperture. It has a few less features and doesn't feel quite as polished, but it does have a very similar user base in terms of how many comments people make, and how useful those comments are. I haven't seen the same person on both websites (yet), so it's a good idea to sign up to both sites and effectively double your audience!