Share digital pictures nicely

Now that you have a digital camera full of holiday pictures, your first impulse may be to email the lot to all your friends and family.

But stop! There are some things you should know before you make your address an unwelcome sight in other people’s email boxes.

First, consider the recipient.  Do not send photos to a dozen people unless you are sure they will enjoy them.  Some people are concerned about viruses, or use their email mostly for business. When in doubt, ask whether you can send them a photo or two.

Second, send one photo at a time, especially if you have not sent photos to that person before.  Many email servers won’t allow messages through that have too many attachments, and a single message that is too large can also cause problems.  It’s best to select the best shots rather than send a dozen.

Third, use photo editing software to crop or resize photos. Unless the recipient is going to have the picture printed, something in the area of a 3 inch by 5 inch picture is usually sufficient, and this also helps with making sure your email goes through. If your software gives you the option, you may want to save your photo in mium quality as well – this helps keep the file size down and again, if the recipient is not planning to have the photo printed, it should not make a huge difference on their screen.

Last, send pictures in jpeg format if at all possible.  This is the most common format and will keep you from the dreaded “help, I can’t open it!” email in return. Most photo editing software will give you the option to store your pictures this way.

Better alternative to email
An even better option is to create a photo album online. This way people can view your pictures without worrying about viruses, or attachment sizes.  It also means you will be able to view your album wherever you go.  Many online album sites are free.  Some offer enhanced services – more storage space, no fear of deletion – for a fee.  Some also offer the capacity to order prints, and even (particularly U.S.-based sites) photo products such as mugs.

Here we will look at just one of the many free sites available, Yahoo! Canada Photos.

First you need a Yahoo user ID. It’s free to join but takes a few minutes. Once you have that you can log into Yahoo! Canada Photos. The site is friendly and takes you through the steps to:

– create a photo album (or several),
– upload pictures (you can download their software or use the browse feature to upload pictures one at a time – good for the beginner).
– share your album by sending the link to friends and family
– and even order prints online through Photolab.ca

One caveat: if you don’t log into Yahoo! Canada Photos once every six months, your account will become dormant and your photos deleted. So this is not a good spot for permanent storage.

You can find Yahoo! Canada Photos and other Yahoo services at: http://www.yahoo.ca – be sure to visit the Canadian site and not yahoo.com. Or you can use Google at http://www.google.ca to search for other online photo sites.