Online photo sharing is quite possibly one of the most appreciated aspects of ‘social software’ or ‘web 2.0’. There are lots of ways to share photos, either with selected friends and family members or the world at large. You can get free accounts on commercial websites for lots of places that process photos, like drugstores and discount stores, but those don’t give you quite the same options as Flickr and many other sites (Photobucket and snapfish leap to mind).
Simply go to a photo sharing website and create an account. Many sites offer free accounts for limited services, with a paid upgrade for more storage space and additional options.
Then choose your photos and follow the easy instructions to upload them to your account. Organize them into albums, then write comments on each one and assign them topical tags. Ta-da!! Email your friends and family members the link to your photos, and you are in business!
Stuff you need to know, if you don’t already
There are basically three ways you can get a photo in digital format, so they can be transferred or saved to your computer:
Take the picture with a digital camera of some sort.
Take film to a processor and ask to have the photos put on a CD when you have prints made.
Scan existing photos, old or new, with a flatbed scanner.
Be aware that digital photos can vary widely in quality. “Resolution” is the magic word! Higher resolution = more detail = capability to print enlargements = higher file size. A photo with 75 dpi (dots per inch, or ppi, pixels per inch) will display okay on a computer monitor, but doesn’t have enough detail to make a sharp print. 2400 dpi will give you excellent large prints, but takes up lots of space. It would be HUGE to email, and take forever to download. On top of that, when that email attachment finally finishes arriving at its destination, the recipient will have a great full-screen view of someone’s nose hairs! They’ll have to scroll waaay across and up and down to even see who it is. Please, spare your dear ones this agony. It’s more than they really need to know. If you don’t already have some photo editing software, download a free application like Paint.NET and resize any humongous files to a more manageable size. (Keep the original, but use the smaller copy.)
Getting up to speed
As you upload pictures to your Flickr account, they will automatically be resized (possibly to several sizes). Then you, or others if you choose, can download those pictures, too!
“As you upload”… sure sounds, easy, doesn’t it? Actually, it is! Flickr offers several options, but I usually just go to the upload page:
This walks you through the process; find the photo(s) on your computer – you DID organize them into folders, didn’t you?!?! – click to upload them, then do your describing! That really is all there is to it.
More stuff you can do
Now that you have your account, photos are uploaded, and you’ve shared the link, is that all there is? Not by a long shot! If you have a blog, create a “widget” to display pictures from your Flickr account on the sidebar (as I have done).
Want to see one or more favorite photos on, well, anything you can think of, and lots of things you haven’t thought of? Like… books, mugs, shirts, sticker books, frameable prints, cards, postage stamps… the list continues to grow!
Flickr partners with a bunch of third-party companies to offer you custom products. Tell them what pictures to use from your Flickr photostream, place your order, and wait for the cool stuff to show up on your doorstep!
That’s still not the end of the story… I know I haven’t even SEEN all the options. But if I’ve made you curious enough to go looking for yourself, my work is done.