Ever since my Scout Group has had its own website, we’ve put photos on it to show what we get up to. This is a great way to show potential new members what activities we do and, of course, the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts like to see pictures of themselves doing stuff. If this is done in the correct way and according to Scout Association guidelines, then it is a fantastic resource.
Initially when we had a straight HTML website, putting photos on the site require the photos to be resized, thumbnails to be created, the pictures inserted into a table and the pictures and thumbnails to be uploaded to the correct places (see here for an example on the archived version of our website). To be honest, it was a pain and time consuming! So once I changed the site to a content management system, I was looking for a different way of showing the photos.
I found a nice hosted site called Fotopic which had a number of options for photo galleries. I chose the free one! It worked well for us since 2005 (I hadn’t realised I’d used it for so long!) and I even changed to a paid for account as that gave more features and removed the adverts (some of which could, on occasions, be unsuitable for a Scout’s site!).
However, three weeks ago it just vanished. And there has been no official word as to why, although reading some online forums (especially the railway ones – a lot of railway photographers used Fotopic), I could get some idea of what was happening as Fotopic’s former owner has been very helpful in trying to keep people updated. But it appears that today the company owning Fotopic has gone into administration.
Bearing in mind that it’s never a good sign if a website just vanishes overnight, I started to look at alternatives. One possibility was to set up a gallery on the Group’s own webspace, but I couldn’t find a suitable package I liked. Also, I don’t think there wouldn’t be enough room on the Group’s webspace for all the photos. So I looked at commercial and free providers and as with most things, there were pros and cons with each. Eventually the one I liked the most was SmugMug (even though is has a very odd name if you ask me). It has features and looks that I like, and I can even add videos to the site which may remove the need to use YouTube (got to check this one out though).
Luckily I didn’t lose any photos so I’m in the process of populating the site with photos, but it is taking some time! This means that it will be a while before I can all the photos back up, but at least nothing is lost.
So here it is, our new Photo Gallery. Please take a look!