Sharing photos once involved negatives and envelopes. Today, everything is digital, and there are many ways to share your photographic treasures with family, friends and even the world. Here’s a rundown of the most common ways to share your photos digitally in this day and age.
Perhaps the oldest and most basic way of sharing your digital photos with someone is to burn them to a CD/DVD or copy them to a flash/thumb drive. It’s quite “old-fashioned”, but if you’re sharing a huge collection of images, it may be the fastest method, especially if you or the person you’re sharing with has a slow Internet connection.
Email has long been a popular method of sharing photos. Just attach them to an email message and send them off. Thankfully, most email accounts these days can hold more than just a photo or two, unlike past times!
Web-based solutions are quite common for making it easy to share photos with a number of people. If you can upload your own photos, there are a number of web-based options. The most popular services are Yahoo’s Flickr, Photobucket and Google’s Picasa Web Albums. These sites offer enough free storage space to create albums and store some photos, with the option to pay extra for increased space and features.
File-sharing sites are another option. Not specifically dedicated to photos, sites like DropBox or Box.net allow you to share files of almost any kind. The features surrounding photos don’t tend to be as numerous or robust as the previously mentioned sites, but the storage can be free and easily shared with groups of people.
If you don’t have a computer, many stores such Walmart, CVS and Walgreens have kiosks that upload your images to a website, and allow you to create prints, posters, photo books, mugs, or or digitally share your photos through their website. Most stores offer the option of bringing in prints, film, negatives, or the memory card from your digital camera.
These days, the most common way to share photos is through social networking sites, with the two biggest being Facebook and Twitter. Social sites are intended for sharing your photos with all of your family and friends, or if you like, making them publicly accessible. Where Twitter has previously relied on third-party services to share your photos on their site, they are now providing the means to do so “in-house”. Meanwhile, Facebook has hosted photos for some time, and has grown to be the largest photo-sharing site on the Internet (15 billion photos and growing).
The quickest growing method of sharing photos on the web is via your mobile phone, which for many people doubles as their camera. For some time now, many “feature-phones” have allowed photo sharing via MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), the photo equivalent to texting. There are now numerous options thanks to “smart phones” that have Internet access and the ability to install apps. Many new services take advantage of mobile photo sharing abilities, including Instagram, Path and Color, which all combine mobile and social in different ways.