Whether you’re looking to send photos to grandma or the entire swim team, there are a variety of ways to distribute your photos. You need to find the balance between time and cost that most appeals to you. So, let’s start exploring ways we can share.
1. Start by organization.
Before you start, you need to be organized. You don’t want to waste time searching for that special photo. Make sure you sort your photos into a system — by events, chronologically, people in the photos or whatever else makes sense to you. Ask yourself if someone else could find photos the way you’re sorting them. If you plan on sharing large amounts of digital images, will your recipient be able to find images they want? Learn how to make a “contact sheet” with small thumbnails of the images you’re sharing.
If you already have a system in place, review it so you’re ready to find your photos quickly. Create a document to explain your system and keep it with your photos.
2. Photo information.
When your camera takes photos, they are saved by numbers. If this isn’t descriptive enough, you may find changing the filenames is more helpful. If you choose to rename your files, be specific. Include the name of the person, place, month and year, and what the person was doing or something about the photograph that will help you remember the details. If you don’t want to rename each photo, create a quick text document (TXT) to include with the photos so you have the important details documented.
Additionally, make sure your date / time on the camera are correct before you shoot photos. Even if you forget to sort the images, you’ll be able to narrow down your search if this information is correct.
3. Delete and sort.
Don’t be afraid to delete photos. If the photo isn’t recognizable, get rid of it. It not only wastes hard drive space, but you’ll be wasting time copying bad photos and sharing them.
Photos that you want to keep, but may not want to share, should go in a special folder so you don’t accidentally share the photo of your spouse in their underwear doing “Old Time Rock and Roll.”
4. Last consideration . . . ownership.
Some photo vendors won’t let you print / share images without proof of ownership. This is true of photos taken by professional photographers and places like Disney. Make sure you have a copy of the agreement or proof that *you* took the photos.
I have been turned away at a kiosk from printing photos that I took because the employees assumed they were not my photos. I also know that developers will ask for proof for photos that look professional. Take steps before you start sharing to make sure you do not have problems later.
5. Print on demand.
Hop in the car and drive to your local kiosk. Not only can you do prints in an hour, you can also do some editing on your images such as cropping and red-eye removal. Here are some ways you can carry your files to the kiosk.
- Memory Stick
- MultiMedia Cards
- SD Cards (and minis)
- USB Flash Cards
- Bluetooth (wireless)
- Kodak Picture CD
- Kodak Picture Disks
If you’ve not used a kiosk before, you may want to take more than one device with images. Each supports different media, though some, like CDs, SD cards and USB sticks tend to be universal.
6. Internet processing.
You don’t even have to leave your house. Explore online photo developers such as Snapfish. Some stores such as Wal-Mart and Walgreen’s have sites you can upload your files and choose where they’re delivered. So, on Mother’s Day, you can have that 8×10 printed down the street from grandma’s house and she can pick it up herself.
Explore the varieties of online photo developers and the multitude of ways you can get prints without leaving your home.
7. More than prints.
While you’re exploring the kiosks and online providers, look beyond traditional prints. What can you get with photos on them? Explore the offerings and how you can share your photos beyond traditional prints. Brainstorm ways you can share these items.
Whether traditional or digital, scrapbooks allow you to go beyond the photos and tell more of the story . . . in your own words. You can create them yourself or use software to create a digital scrapbook that you can share with multiple family members.
Select a series of photos and brainstorm how you could put them together into a scrapbook.
9. Large groups of photos — online communities and more.
Sometimes you want to take photos of an event or party. Instead of printing out the photos you like, you can offer others the photos so they can print what they like. From burning CDs and DVDs to handing out flash drives to even uploading the files to sites like Flickr, Picasa or Photobucket you can allow others to choose.
How do online sharing sites work? You upload your files to the site and get a link to send to friends and family to view your photos, send them an invite, etc. They can then view your files online. Each site is a little different so try them and see which features are most important to you. Most are free or at least have a free trial time to see if you like them.
You can also utilize sites that allow you to store large amounts of data in a downloadable file like DropBox. Explore the ways you can send large amounts of data for minimal cost.
Photos placed in a program to automatically come up one after another is a slideshow. You may have seen a slideshow at a wedding, shower or funeral. They are popular. Explore the software on your computer to see if you have the ability to create slideshows. If not, find freeware to try and see if this is an option you might be interested in pursuing.
11. Digital display.
Another way to display photos is digitally. From smart phones to digital frames to screen savers, you have a variety of ways to display photos without printing them. Create a digital display, then share your final photos with others.
12. Sharing via social media.
Upload your photos to Facebook, Instagram or any other social media site. You get instant gratification. You can also put them up on blogs, wikis and more. Check the settings on your social media site to see how you can limit others from viewing or downloading your photos. Make adjustments if you’re not happy with the defaults.
13. Have a little fun.
So we’ve done a lot with static photos. You can embellish your photos by adding clip art or text to your images. You can create collages. You can start playing with animation. Software to adjust photos is available on your smart phone, through a huge variety of applications and more. The digital photography world is yours to conquer!
Try adjusting your photos for fun and see what your friends and family think of those shared photos.
14. Connect with us!
As you explore the sites and find what works for you, feel free to post your experiments to share with others. The sites you can use are too numerous to list here. This is just a starting point.
Sites to Explore