Photo sharing has stormed the nation – whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, Flicker or one of the other countless sites that promote sharing photos – people do it. Whether it is a high school girl posting pictures of her prom or proud parents posting photos of their child’s first birthday, photo sharing is the new way people share moments and memories with the people they know.

As a amateur photographer, I know the value of an online photo portfolio. Many photographers start out as entrepreneurs picking up wedding gigs or taking portraits to earn money until they can find a steady job. Photo sharing sites like Flicker, WordPress or Photobucket allow photographers to post their portfolios and resumes online as free advertisement to accelerate their business.

Companies should use photo sharing sites to show the company is reliable, trustworthy and upfront with customers. A company needs to put themselves in the shoes of their consumer and anticipate what the consumer will search for when looking for their product.

Photo sharing is an easy and cost-effective way for your company to gain exposure. The Social Media Bible suggests companies taking photographs of their products, headquarters, customer service installation, tech support, repairs in progress, employees or happy customers. Each company should tailor their photo sharing strategy to fit their company.

The real rise of photo sharing sites came in the wake of the digital camera craze in the late 1990s. It seems like every time there is an advancement in technology it comes with a whole new set of challenges. For instance, the trouble with photo sharing involves privacy and piracy.

Like I mentioned earlier I am a photographer and I refuse to put most of my favorite work on sites like Facebook because a photographer signs the rights away to their photograph the second you put them on Facebook. Many other photo sharing sites are making necessary changes to protect the privacy and ownership of the photographer’s photographs.

One of the keys to a company’s success using photo sharing as a marketing tool is to be interactive with the viewer. The Social Media Bible gave an excellent example of an interactive marketing campaign using a site called Brickfish to launch “Design a Coach Tote.” Not only were consumers able to participate in the competition they were also a part of the decision process by voting on their favorite designs.