Sharing Full-Size Photos

Make it easy for friends and family to share, save, and print your digital images--no matter how big.

It's digital photography's very own catch-22: You can't e-mail a full-size 10-megapixel photo to Aunt Carol, because many ISPs don't allow file attachments that large. But when you resize it to a slim, trim 1-megapixel image, it's too small to print at anything bigger than wallet size. When Carol tries to print it out at 8 by 10, she calls you up to complain that the photo is a pixelated mess.

The solution? Don't try to e-mail digital photos at all. Instead, there are ways to share those photos without the hassle and confusion of e-mail.

Sneakernet

In the early days of office computers, networks were somewhat unreliable. Sometimes the easiest way to share a file was to copy it to a floppy disk and walk it across the room--hence the term sneakernet.

These days, simply handing someone a disc with a file on it can sometimes still be pretty convenient. Windows lets you copy your photos to a CD, for example, and filling a disc with photos is not a bad solution. But burning discs is needlessly complicated. It's even easier to drag your photos to a USB flash drive. These drives come in capacities that vary from large to enormous, and they've gotten almost ludicrously inexpensive.

Photo-Sharing Sites

If you're sharing photos with someone farther away than down the hall, consider putting your photos on a Web site instead. I use Flickr.com, for example. You can visit my personal site or the official Digital Focus Hot Pic winners gallery to see some examples. I love Flickr because there are no limits on how many photos you can store there, or what maximum photo size you can save. If you use the free version of Flickr, you're only limited to uploading 100MB in a given month.

To share photos with friends or family, upload them to Flickr, then let people know how to get to your Flickr page. Once there, they can click the All Sizes button above a photo to get to the download page, such as this one from my Flickr page.

Cloud Storage

Do you like the idea of storing photos on the Internet so certain people can get to them, but you don't want just anyone to be able to browse the photos? Well, you could turn on the photo sharing site's privacy mode; Flickr, for example, lets you mark your photos as private, which limits access only to people you specify. You could also store them at an online storage service. Think of these services as hard drives located in the clouds that you can access anytime or anywhere you have an Internet connection. And anyone you give access can get there as well.

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Dave Johnson

PC World (US online)
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