Picture Success!

I managed to finally upload my pictures to my Flickr site and back up my entire photo collection to my website. It ended up being a LOT more work than I thought it was going to be, but since I set those deadlines, I managed to finish it (kind of; the backups are taking a day+ to upload, but it’s queued and doing it right now, so I consider it done). So now I can post pictures like this:

A Good Morning's View

Photo hosting

I’ve been looking into doing more photography lately, but something I’ve run into is hosting of photos. Currently, I’ve been hosting them on my own website here, but I don’t think I like that solution very much. The website itself is clunky, slow, and confusing. Uploading pictures is not streamlined in the least. The pros that it has are I can make whatever changes whenever I want, host whatever I want, and I can move my pictures from it whenever I want.

I’m not sure what I’m looking for exactly to make me want to move from what I’m currently doing, but I guess here are a couple of things I’d want. Granted I think some of these might be handled by programs on my computer, so if anyone has any photo software they’re using to look at, handle, edit, and whatever else pre-upload, please give suggestions to those too. Right now my process is:

1. Plug in flash card which has photos on it from Camera.
2. Drag and drop photos onto computer and then re-arrange them to put them in a folder named Unsorted (they come divvied up every 100 photos in their own folders which I can’t change… dumb).
3. Import them into Picasa and put them in their correct respective folders (I sort my photos by month on my hard drive).
4. Touch up the photos (usually just with I’m feeling lucky).
5. Back up my photos to my NAS so that I have a duplicate in case my computer crashes. I’ve lost tons of pictures before, it’s not fun.
6. Figure out which photos I like and separate them into different folders manually.
7. Upload those pictures to my website and have them create different sizes for them.

Now, all of this is mindlessly dumb work aside from (possibly), the touching up of the photos. I’d really, really love it if I were able to automate everything but #4 and make #6 a hell of a lot easier. I’d also like to have a website for photos that doesn’t suck and is easy to navigate. I’ve been looking at Flickr, but in order to do what I’d want, I’d have to purchase a pro account. I’m certainly not against doing it (it’s not terribly expensive), but I want to know that’s the website I want to use before actually doing so. I think what I really need to do is talk to some of my photography buddies and see what they use (if anything). I’ve noticed that Flickr doesn’t allow you to use its site for anything commercial at all, which I find kind of lame even though I don’t plan on doing anything related to that.

I’d also like to find some good software to stitch together photos into panoramic images. I have a couple of those I’ve taken, but I never got around to actually doing that.

So does anyone know anything about:

1. Photo editing software
2. Photo hosting services
3. Panoramic stitching software

I’d love to hear experiences.