Slide Shows compared

Showing your album as a slide show can come in handy in many situations. Most online photo sharing services offer a slide show feature with automatic advance. Since Windows Live SkyDrive recently disabled this feature I have received many inquiries about how to present photos automatically.

Here is a comparison of a photo album as presented by Flickr, Picasaweb, myPicturetown and Shutterfly. The album, consisting of 16 reduced-resolution images (1024 pixel horizontal dimension), was uploaded to each photo sharing service.

Here is the set of photos and below are links to view the album – and run the slide show – in the three services:


view Flickr album

view Picasaweb album

view myPicturetown album

view Shutterfly album


My impressions:



There is a short download delay, but the images download rapidly. The slide show runs right from the link, no need to click a play button. The slide show does not automatically cycle after it has played through. The default setting is to scale images to the browser window or to the full screen(F11). The option menu calls this quaintly “Embiggen small things to fill screen”.

It is possible to get to the author’s “Photostream” with a keyboard shortcut (“m”).



The slide show has to be manually started with the “play” button in the control strip at the bottom. Tools for managing the slide show timing are right there. The images are not enlarged beyond the actual size. For this album the photos do not fill a large screen but are surrounded by black.

Not scaling has the advantage that the photos do not become unsharp as is the case when they are enlarged beyond their actual pixel size.




With this service there is a significant download delay before the album appears. The slide show does not start by itself but is started with the “play” button (lower left). The slide show goes immediately to full screen and the images are scaled up to fill the screen.

Accompanying the slide show is a music track. The viewer can turn the music off or make another selection (from 5). By default the show recycles and starts over again and again.



The Shutterfly slide show starts right away. Images are not enlarged beyond their actual size. The show plays just once and must be manually repeated.

The controls at the top of the photo remain even when full screen mode (F11) is selected.



The viewer of these slide shows cannot get to other parts of the author’s shared photos, except for the Flickr show, as noted.

Obtaining the web address, URL, of a slide show is just a matter of starting a slide show when you are signed in to your account and copying the address from the browser address bar. This is not available for a show in myPicturetown. For that service, the address is obtained by a “share album” feature (it sends an email with the URL).


Which photo sharing service provides the best slide show?

That depends, of course, on your preferences. All of these photo sharing services, and there are many others, do things a little bit differently. We all have our on individual likes and dislikes. If you would like to share your opinion, please comment on this post.


© 2011 Ludwig Keck

Sharing Photos with myPicturetown

Nikon has offered a photo sharing service for quite some time and recently made improvements. With a claimed user base of over a million and a half it is not among the largest sharing services but offers some nice features. You do not have to be a Nikon photographer to set up an account at myPicturetown. Two levels are offered: a free account with 2 GB of storage and  a fee-based “Gold” account with more storage and additional features.

The site requires Adobe Flash Player and the user interface has some unexpected quirks, it is also unexpectedly slow in operation. In addition there is an up-loader app you install on your computer that used Adobe AIR. install-11

Sharing photos is by email – somewhat like sharing a SkyDrive album. I prefer a clean web address like you get at Flickr or Picasaweb, but that is not available. The generated email message is quite pleasant and looks like the one shown here.

The “View photos” link is extra-ordinarily long, not something to be typed by hand. If you wish to share in a way other than the email link, an URL shortening service is advised.

One nice feature is that you share just one album. The recipient can view the photos an a pleasant slide show, but cannot view the rest of your site. In my opinion that is a definite plus.

You can define the background of the album with several color and design options. The layout and appearance are attractive and functional. When the visitor gets to the album it looks about like this:


Clicking a thumbnail on the right displays it in the space on the left. The little play button, image,

in the lower left starts a slide show, with music! The viewer has a set of tools to set the transition speed and effect and to pick the type of music track. Not much choice there, I don’t like any, but this is a nice touch.

The viewer can also download the set of photos in the album as a ZIP file.

Take a look at my album, either image above links to it, and see if this is something that would appal to you and your friends.


© 2011 Ludwig Keck