Flickr as an alternative to the MobileMe gallery


I now have one week left on my MobileMe subscription. £59 is a lot to pay when there are free (or cheaper) alternatives. I’ve spent the couple of weeks looking for a photo sharing service that could replace the web gallery. I decided to try out Flickr as I already had a pro account (usually $25 but I get it for free with my ISP, BT).

I have been using the MobileMe gallery as a means for family and friends to easily see my photos rather than me having to print them out and post them. (This of course assumes they have internet access and know how to use a computer. Not quite there with my in-laws yet but we’re working on them!) Flickr, of course, can do far more than just share photos with distant family. It is a social network where you search for photos, send comments, join groups, all sorts.

MobileMe’s web gallery allows you to upload as many photos as you like (well, up to a 20GB limit also shared amongst its other webapps). Flickr’s free account lets gives you 100MB of uploads per month but unlimited total storage. However, you’ll only be able to see your 200 most recent photos. The pro account allows unlimited uploads and storage with access to all your photos.

It’s really simple to get photos into the web gallery – it’s all done through iPhoto. Create an album, click the MobileMe button and Bob’s your uncle. The titles and metadata are also uploaded. Each time you make a change to the album in iPhoto it automatically syncs it again so MobileMe always up to date. It’s really incredibly easy.

To get your pictures into Flickr you need to download the free Flickr Uploadr and drag in your photos from iPhoto. Like the web gallery, your titles and metadata are also uploaded. You are given the option to change the titles and assign tags to your photos if you wish. Unfortunately it doesn’t use the keywords you have already used in iPhoto. You can also choose to put your photos into a set (or album) or collection (a group of albums). (I should point out here the free account only allows you 3 sets whereas the pro account is unlimited.)

There is another option for getting your photos into Flickr. A £12 iPhoto plugin, FlickrExport does much the same as the free Flickr Uploadr. However as it’s built into iPhoto you only need to select photos rather than drag them in and it also uses iPhoto keywords. If you were uploading large quantities I think this would be useful as assigning keywords in iPhoto and then having to repeat it all again for Flickr is tedious. For now, as I’m dealing with fairly small numbers I think I’ll stick with Flickr’s free offering.

When it comes to actually viewing photos MobileMe does a lovely job. It’s clean, simple and you can even skim the photos in an album in the same way you skim events in iPhoto.  Flickr in comparison is cluttered and less intuitive to use for my computer-unfamiliar relatives. Viewing the photos as a slideshow looks good though. Flickr also shows far more metadata than MobileMe and you can geotag your photos which is fun.

Although my main intention had been to use Flickr for friends and family to see pictures of the children, I’m rather enjoying the social aspect of it. It’s fun looking at other people’s photos – some of them are just incredible. And I’ve found it useful to be able to search for photos taken by others using the same camera I have. It’s inspiring to see what they have been able to do with it.

To summarise:

Advantages of MobileMe web gallery

  • easy to add photos
  • easy to sync photos or albums that have been updated
  • attractive, intuitive interface

Advantages of Flickr

  • free
  • fast
  • geotagging
  • being able to view others’ photos
  • interactive – others can leave comments
  • unlimited storage [Edit: added later as I forgot]

The MobileMe gallery may look pretty but actually, overall I think Flickr does a better job and I’m going to stick with it. If you fancy having a look at my snaps they’re here.

Next step, where I am going to put all the movies I have on my web gallery? I’ve only got a week left to decide…


9 Responses to “Flickr as an alternative to the MobileMe gallery”

  1. Colin Says:

    Have you considered Picasa from Google. It’s free. There’s no limit on the number of albums and there is an export plugin for iPhoto that you can use as well. Sorry I can’t say more because it’s been awhile since I’ve used it. I thought I’d mention it since you were looking for alternatives to mobileme.

  2. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Colin: I looked briefly at Picasa but decided against it as I don’t know anyone else who uses it, whereas a number of people had recommended Flickr.

  3. memeoblog Says:

    May I suggest that you take a look at my company’s photo sharing software? Memeo Share and the iPhone app, MemeoPhoto are the easiest ways to send full resolution photos to other people without the hassle of email. It is a free application that provides a lot functionality such as:
    – Delivers full resolution photos AND videos directly to other people’s desktops (bypassing the web gallery)
    – Creates a place for friends and family to receive photos (known as Sharing Circles) — it’s more personal and recipients get high resolution photos and videos
    – Once you have creates a sharing circle of friends and/or family members, you can have it monitor a certain folder on your Mac. Any photos added there will be automatically shared with your circles. It’s all automatic, no need for manually uploading one photo at a time
    – Easily tag photos for better organization
    – It’s automatic — no batch upload
    – Use MemeoPhoto on your iPhone to instantly share photos while on the go
    – And, there is a simple web gallery where people can leave comments and rate photos

    I realize that this may be a little different from what originally had in mind, but I think it is something that you could use in lieu of other applications.

  4. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @memeoblog: That’s not a service I’ve heard of before. It looks interesting.

  5. martin Says:

    You may use this free gallery, it look nearly exactly as the mobile me gallery but it’s totaly free, have a look: ‘Imager – web 2.0 image gallery’

  6. Alan Pita Says:

    I’ve been a MobileMe user for many years now. This weekend I made an attempt to move from MobileMe to Flickr. After two days of repeatedly trying to coax Flickr’s “Uploadr” program to batch upload more than a few files at a time from my Mac to their site, I have given up. MobileMe’s Gallery web-delivered upload feature is simply better quality software – and much better. I can’t imagine recommending a software professional, much less a novice, move to Flickr unless they only intend to use it for manually uploading individual files – a few at a time.

  7. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Alan Pita: I don’t think I’ve ever uploaded more than 4 or 5 photos at a time using the Uploadr so I’ve never encountered any problems. I’ve started using Connected Flow’s FlickrExport iPhoto plugin over the last few weeks. I’m using Flickr more and more so it saves a little time over Flickr’s Uploadr.

  8. emma Says:

    i started using this: image hosting . its a free membership at but then i realized, its only 99p a month for unlimted features..

  9. Ben Says:

    I have just reached my limit on flickr for my blog, so was pondering going back to mobileme, but think I’ll pay for the upgrade with flickr because I like the widget that shows the most recent photos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: