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Top social photo sites for browsing and sharing

Whether you enjoy the artistry of photography or the social aspects of photo sharing, choosing the right service is important.

With high-quality digital cameras on every smartphone and apps that make your pictures even better, just about anyone can be an accomplished photographer. Sure, you may not be an accomplished photographer in any serious sense, but you can certainly upload your images to photo-sharing sites to get them out to the public and receive feedback to make your shots even better.

As most people know, there are a number of popular services already out there that let you take your shot, add effects and other enhancements, then upload it for all to see. But the other thing that's great about photo-sharing sites is the ability to browse through thousands of photographs and join the conversation in the comments. Seeing the world through others' eyes has a voyeuristic quality and swimming through a sea of photographs can be incredibly addictive. So even if you're not an aspiring photographer or don't care about the social aspects of these services, you might just like to look at other people's work simply for the stories the images tell.

I rounded up a couple of the most popular photo-sharing sites and put them together with some good quality lesser known services so you can decide which one is more up your alley.

Instagram (iPhone | Android) is a popular photo enhancement app that requires only a couple of touches to produce retro-looking images and then share them with friends and other Instagram members. It's the most well-known of this collection, and its user base is enormous. While you will find great shots on Instagram, the service is definitely geared towards the social aspects of photo-sharing rather than a focused love of photography. So it's more about letting people know what you're doing right now rather than going over the finer details of your image.

We Heart Pics (iPhone | Android) is a much lesser known service whose premise revolves around telling your life's story through pictures. It has image filters and other tools you can use just like Instagram, and you can follow, "like," and comment on people's images.

Where We Heart Pics is little different is that it is set up in specific categories where you can submit your version of a specific idea that tells people more about you. The service will give you the tag "staying fit," for example and people will upload photos of exercising, eating healthy food, or maybe workout clothes. On your profile page there are also categories such as About Me, Family and Friends, Home, and Places, where you can add photos to give people a better ides of who you are through images.

Right now, We Are Pics hasn't really seemed to gain as much traction with users in my part of the world, but I really like the intuitive photo browsing interface and daily pic challenges, and I think you will, too.

Flickr (iPhone | Android) is a popular service that focuses more on the photography than the social, and a recent update improved the interface for browsing, and added a few more tweaks to make it even better.

With Flickr you get an endless scrolling wall of photos, with almost all of them high-quality shots. In the comments you'll find detailed well-intentioned critiques about the photography rather than the more conversational comments found in the other services in this collection. Yahoo also recently raised the storage capacity to one terabyte per user and announced that you can upload uncompressed originals. Obviously, the focuses here are on getting your best photographs online for showing off your talents or just browsing through tons of beautiful images.

EyeEm (iPhone | Android) is a photo app that's similar to Instagram, but I really like the layout and photos categorized by location, making it easy to both browse and add your own shots to collections. This app is also a little more photography focused then other services, but there's still a social feel to the app.

With EyeEm, the users choose from premade tags or create their own so you can search for keywords or specific subjects and get a big collection of images that match in a nearby location. The browsing features are dependent on location as well as these subjects (shown as big colorful headers), so you might find a heading that says "San Francisco" in the feed, and you can browse all the images people have placed in that collection. On a smaller scale, you might run across a tag for a particular restaurant, and you can view (and add) images for that location. The app will find the tags and photos that are nearby your current location so you can use the app to learn about what's around you.

EyeEm has a really great layout, but the user base is not in the same league as the big names like Flickr and Instagram. Still, I think if you check out this app, you'll like everything it has to offer.