Awhile back I decided on Smugmug as the best photo/video hosting solution for our family photos and movies…or so I thought. I really enjoyed the look of Smugmug and the customer service was first rate, but it had one major flaw. I fought continuously with it when trying to arrange my photos. It seemed like so much more hassle than it needed to be and the changes I would make never seemed to stick. I think that when you are one of the more expensive photo hosting sites that it should be a superior experience all around.
So I went searching for something better and took a closer look at Phanfare. I had looked at Phanfare before, but passed it up for some reason the first time. Is it possible that there have been improvements since the first time I used it? Maybe, but all I know is that I have been really impressed with it so far. I love the desktop client and really enjoy the ease of organizing my photos and videos. I am not going to say it is hands down the best designed photo site, but if I have to choose between the slight edge I think Smugmug has in the aesthetics department or the ease of use and functions that Phanfare has I will choose the latter every time.
Recently I was pleasantly surprised by the news that yearly subscriptions would be dropping to $49.99 which is just icing on the cake. I think that this is a fair price for the ability to share pictures and video with family members wherever they may be. I really feel that this is a smart move to encourage people to host with them and I applaud them for giving consumers a break in a time when we could use it the most.
After seeing the details of the new pricing scheme, I am less inclined to recommend Phanfare to new customers. It seems that a Premium account costing $49.99 only gets you 5 GB of storage and the Pro account gives you 20GB for $99/year (with additional 20GB for another $49.99/year). From the sounds of it, current users that have unlimited storage will retain that feature, but can most likely look forward to price increases before too long 😦