The Digital Camera: a Better Way to Share Photos

By: Christine Peppler

The emergence of the digital camera came along just in time. With the increasing mobility of the population, families and friends are commonly separated by many miles and the ability to share pictures can help to bridge the distance. For many of us sharing a traditional photo album isn't a possibility while printing and mailing pictures can be slow and costly. With a digital camera, and in some instance even with a film camera, there are hosts of other electronic means of sharing images easily and almost instantaneously with others.

E-mail

Most of us have at least one e-mail account, so for both the sender and the receiver, this is often a convenient way of sharing photos online. For those with a slower connection, this can be a bit more time consuming however and there is a need to compress files in many instances due to the large file sizes for photos and video.

Windows XP and Apple iPhoto are examples of two commonly used products that allow users to easily compress and then send pictures via e-mail. Many of the major players in the camera industry also offer software and services to assist with this. HP for instance offers Photosmart Share to help in downloading and e-mailing photos. The service also allows users to produce prints.

Building A Web Album or PhotoBlog

There are many tools online to allow users to build their own WebPages and websites; many of them at minimal to no cost. One such example is freewebs.com. Once a site with an album is set up, family and friends can simply be directed to the web address of the site or the particular page where pictures are posted. In some instances, a guest book can be added to invite viewers to submit comments. Printing favorite photos from these pages is not really part of the package however.

Photo logs are often used by those who tend to post photos on a regular basis. Most of the major internet services such as Yahoo, Google, AOL, and MSN offer the ability to post photos from a camera or cell phone in galleries or in PhotoBlogs. The photos can include comments from the poster as well as visitors to the blog in many instances. Blogger is a free service but many others such as fotolog.com and my-expression.com are also available and affordable.

Photo Sharing Sites

For those who want greater functionality, photo sharing sites offer many types of services. Some provide the ability to order prints, print photos, produce holiday cards, and allow the addition of text, music, the production of slide shows and voice captions in addition to offering standard albums or galleries. Some of these same sites accept video as well as photo submissions and may host exhibits and contests.

Flicker and Shutterfly are two well know sites and most of the major names in the industry offer their own galleries as well; such as KodakEasyShareGallery.com and NikonNet.com. A quick search on photo sharing will result in innumerable options such as smugmug.com, funtigo.com, webshots.com and fotki.com. Some online photo sharing sites offer users the ability to download and store an unlimited number of photos from their camera or cell phone while others cap the storage space available. Pricing varies from free to as high as a few hundred dollars annually so a little bit of shopping is required to get the features wanted at an affordable price.

Camera owners now have multiple options in how to share their photos on line that are both affordable and simple. While sharing prints and photos stored on CD/DVD are still great options, online sharing offers an immediacy and creativity that these more traditional formats cannot begin to match.

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