The BEST Online Photo Album, Period.

Over the years, I’ve checked out pretty much every photo service on the net. Everything from Ofoto to ClubPhoto to Shutterfly. There are lots of great services but I haven’t found many that have everything I really want, that is, until now.

Enter Flickr. I’ve been reading lots of praise for this site online, in magazines, and even in local newspapers. It seems to be really taking off, and it’s because they are doing things right.

Basically Flickr has taken all of the elements of the best photo sites, combined them with aspects of social networking (ala Orkut) and then added some features unique to them such as image tagging.

Tagging entails just giving keywords to your photos. This creates a page of words that include all of your tags. The text of each word is larger or smaller depending on the amount of pictures that have that tag. And if you make your photos public, those tags work across everyone. So for instance if I tag pictures of my dogs as Keeshond (their breed) and other people tag theirs that was as well, when I click the public Keeshond tag, I’ll get a huge photo set of everyone with similiar pictures.

Flickr has some good stuff for us techies too. RSS and Atom feeds for pretty much every aspect of the service, integration with MANY blog templates, the ability to post via email (enabling moblogging) and more.

For the hard core photographer, they store full-size versions of the photo in question, and if you have a Pro account, you have access to download them at full-rez. This allows you to use Flickr as a backup service as well. Very handy. Flickr even sucks in your EXIF information from photos and may well support some advanced features like IPTC.

Flickr even handles copyright in a wonderfully simple manner. You can tag all of your pictures with one of a multitude of easy to understand copyrights based on the Creative Commons licensing standards. Definitely a first that I’ve seen anyway on the web.

Keep in mind that Flickr is still in beta, so some features (such as buying prints) are not yet implemented. Because it’s in beta, I have a feeling it’s going to get even better. Sign on now and explore. Enter the forums and make your requests. These Flickr folks GET it, and they will soon be the only place I store my photos!