This article was first published on 2008-03-04. Due to the age of this article, it is included here for archive purposes only.


We all know the drill by now: you want to share the photos you just took from last weekend, but sending out a bunch of emails with just a fe photos gets tedious, not to mention that friends and family don’t always know what to do with them. What about putting them all on a web page? Is it very difficult or expensive? Let’s take a look at a few routes to go to show everyone you want as many photos as you want, easily.

iLife + .Mac
Included with your Mac is a powerful suite of tools to get photos, videos, music and even whole web sites online.  Add .Mac and you’ve got one-button photo sharing.

Just connect your digital camera and manage your photos in iPhoto.  Create an album and select “Web Gallery”.  Friends and Family can easily view with their web browser.  If they too have iPhoto, they subscribe to your gallery and even add their own photos.  Your photos show up in their iPhoto and theirs in yours.  Everyone stays in sync.  Could it be easier?

Another option in iPhoto is “.Mac Slides”.  This will publish a page on your .Mac account with your photos.  Send people the URL and they can simply view the photos.

Finally, create an entire web site using your photos in iWeb.  Select “Send to iWeb” and publish it to your .Mac account or personal web site.

Web Sites
Flickr is probably the most popular free photo sharing service.  Upload photos within your web browser or use a free software download.  For around $25 you can download a plug-in which will let you upload photos directly from within iPhoto.

Why use a service like Flickr?  These sites specialize in photos and focus on creating a community around them.  Friends and Family (anyone for that matter – if you let them) can view your photos, download them, order prints, write comments, share with others and much more. 


Other like services include Zooomr, PhotoBucket and Kodak Gallery
Another way to go would be with a social site such as FaceBook or MySpace.  The process is easy – create a free profile, invite friends and upload photos.  These sites are more about keeping in touch with people and networking.  Sharing photos is just one of many things you can do.  The potential downside is that your friends and family have to have a profile in order to view your photos.

If your goal is to be able very quickly and easily share photos, the combination of iLife and .Mac is it.  But at $99 a year, .Mac is not for everyone.

If you want the most open access to your photos, the photo sharing sites are the way to go.  Plus the community aspect is a lot of fun!

If you want something in between, and you’ve been itching to get on the Web 2.0 bandwagon, social sites are your best choice.

Of course, you don’t have to choose just one – you can do them all!  Use .Mac for sharing photos of friends and family, photo sharing sites for your artistic side, and social sites for networking.




Tips
I know you are probably thinking email is another option, but if you’ve ever received an email full of photos from someone, you will spare your loved ones.  Plus, you cannot tag, organize or have others make comments (effectively).

Photos directly from your digital camera could be as much as 10 megabytes a piece depending on your settings.  If you’re not concerned with people being able to order prints of your photos, use a program like iPhoto to reduce the size of the image before you upload it.   To do this, select the photo(s), select “Export” from the file menu and choose your quality and size settings.

Take time to tag, assign categories and organize your photos.  This will help others search, sort and filter through them (not to mention yourself).

Do you have any photo sharing tips to share? Let us know in the Comments section below!