Allowing users to post photos on site

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#1
I've been scouring around for a few weeks now, trying to find the best solution for this. I'm trying to allow users to send photos to my site. It looks like I have three options:
1) Use the contact form "upload file" option (does this make me vulnerable to viruses embedded in the photo files? Any more vulnerable than I already am with current contact forms?)
2) Use an embeddable discussion forum (hard to get started, then need to moderate it all the time)
3) Use a link to a photo share service (takes users off my site to view the photos)

I need something free (for a reasonable chunk of data), something that limits views to the public but easily allows people to use, preferably ad-free. For photos, I'd like them not to be deleted over time; for discussion forums, I need unlimited multiple topics.

I looked at Google's Picasa (allows more pics than Flickr), but it looks a little invasive (scanning all your files unless you manually tell it not to, for example).

Advice? Experience? Preferences? Direction? All welcome--tia
 
#2
Contact forms with file upload options do expose you to potential malware.

A forum with settings where you allow file uploads as well plus it can quickly eat up your hosting space unless you limit file sizes a lot.

Picasa web album sounds good but not using the Picasa desktop application (it's been discontinued anyway I think).

By that I mean you let users upload images to their own Picasa web albums and you hotlink their images on your site. They'll have to send you the links.
 

JWJ

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#4
I'm very late coming in on this one but I'd go for the Picasa link option. Actually, in my art forum, members upload their images to Picasa, Flikr, Photobucket, etc, and just post the links into the forum. The hot linking means the image is displayed but my web space is unaffected.
 
#6
I couldn't say with any degree of knowledge but it's a facility that all of the photo storage sites offer and I think it's widely used. I think most forums allow it.
 
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