By Marilynne Rudick
What do you say when friends ask, “So how was your trip?” Do you just say “Great!” Or do you launch into a detailed itinerary that includes what you saw and what you ate? Neither one of those really tells the story. The best way to let friends know about your trip is by sharing photos.
You can e-mail your photos to friends as attachments. A much better solution is posting your photos online on Facebook or on a special photo sharing site such as Picasa, Flickr or Kodak Gallery. You can then e-mail your friends a link to your online photo album.
Why You Don’t Want to E-Mail Photos
E-mailing photos has limitations. If you send lots of photos, you risk sending a file too large for your friend’s e-mail system to handle. Your e-mail will bounce, or worse, clog or crash your friend’s e-mail. Your friend might not be able to open the photos in the format you use. And it can be tedious to open each photo one-by-one.
Why Use a Photo Sharing Website
Posting your photos online on Facebook or a photo sharing site has many advantages over e-mail. Photos are easy to upload. You can upload individual photos or organize them in albums. You can caption photos and give your friends viewing options, such as videos or slide shows. You don’t have to worry about resolution or format. The photo service automatically configures them so that they can be viewed by anyone accessing the site.
Best of all, posting your photos to an website means that you’ve backed up copies online. If your computer crashes and you lose your photos, you can retrieve them from the website.
Using Facebook to Share Photos
Perhaps the easiest way to share photos is on Facebook. It’s very easy to upload single photos, albums, and videos to your Facebook page. If your friends are on Facebook, they will get an update when you post photos. But even if they aren’t on Facebook, you can e-mail them a link that allows them to see your photos. Friends who are on Facebook can leave comments or ask questions about photos.
Using Photo Sharing Websites Like Picasa
There are dozens of photo sharing sites. I like Google’s Picasa because it multitasks. You can use it to organize, edit, and share your photos. Picasa automatically finds all the photos on your computer, regardless of where you’ve stored them. That’s a great feature if, like me, your photos are scattered in different apps and folders. You can caption photos and tag them using keywords. You can use face recognition software to attach names to the people in your photos.
Picasa has simple and intuitive editing tools that enable you to crop, straighten, adjust the color, and eliminate red eye. You can create videos from your photos and instantly upload them to YouTube. Picasa links with GoogleMaps so you can geotag or link the photo to a location (country, town or even street).
When you’re finished organizing and editing your photos, upload them to Picasa Web Albums. Then e-mail a link to your friends.
The primary purpose of most photo sharing sites is to sell you products: prints, cards, books, even mugs and t-shirts. Beware of photo sharing sites that let you upload a small number of photos for free but charge a fee for unlimited uploads.
Remember that your photos are public unless you choose privacy settings that restrict access to only those you designate. Even so, your friends can access and share your photos. So don’t post photos you wouldn’t want your mother or kids to see!
- Find out how to share photos with Picasa Web Albums.
- Watch a video explaining how to use Picasa edit tools to improve your photos.
- Compare the features of photo sharing sites.
About the Author: Marilynne Rudick writes about web tools and technologies in her WebOver50 blog. She believes the web is wasted on the young, and her blog explains web apps– social networking, blogging, YouTube, and the treasure trove of new web tools—for people like herself: an over50 history major.