Online Photo Sharing: Not Just for Family and Vacation Photos

You may have joined the photo-sharing craze to share your family vacation photos, but have you thought about other uses for photo sharing?

Here are just a few ideas:

Scrapbooking:
Show off your creative projects. You can design scrapbook pages and enhance them with clipart using software like Paint Shop Photo Album or FotoFinish and then upload them to a photo sharing site for everyone to enjoy.

Hobbies:
Perhaps you belong to a cross-stitching club or the other end of the spectrum, a motorcycle or classic car club. You can share your best cross-stitch projects or pictures of you with your Harley or '57 Chevy with other club members.

Class Reunions:
What better way to share reunion photos with former class members across the miles than in an online photo album, so all can view and reminisce.

Arts and Crafts Portfolio:
Do you design jewelry, paint or make woodcarvings or other crafts to sell? A digital photo gallery is a great way to show off your pieces, and you can add your own captions, prices, etc.

Genealogy:
If you are in charge of recording your family's history, organize old family photos in a digital album to share with distant family members. Chances are, old photos will need some repair for cracks, fading, spots, etc. You can easily repair photos yourself using photo software like Photoshop Elements or Paint Shop Pro.

School Events:
Create an online album for pictures of football or basketball games, proms, graduation parties and other school events to share with classmates.

Weddings:
You can design an elegant photo album and let those who couldn't attend the wedding see the bride walk down the aisle and "virtually" experience the conga line at the reception. Weddings were made for photo sharing!

Rubber Stamping Designs:
A photo gallery of your rubber stamp creations is a great way to showcase them for fellow stamp artists.

Okay, you get the picture. Use your imagination and you'll find dozens of opportunities for sharing your photos.

PHOTO SHARING SITES AND SOFTWARE

The next step is how do you do it? That's easy too. With the digital camera craze comes a proliferation of photo sharing sites and software. The top sites include Ofoto, Shutterfly and Snapfish, which give you simple, free software so you can make basic edits such as adjust the contrast, crop and remove red-eye. You can quickly upload your images to their website and put photos in different albums, name the albums and add captions. Then you just email your friends the link to your album. The good news is it's free; the down side is that some sites limit the number of photos you can share. These sites, of course, will also print your photos for as little as 22 cents each and mail them to you; those who view your albums can also order prints.

There are some great services dedicated to photo sharing that offer unlimited photo storage space for a nominal fee. These include Pixagogo, which is a web-based service for sharing, organizing and storing your digital photos inside instant albums that can be viewed by anyone you want. It's an easy way to share photos with others, and an excellent means of backing up valuable photos or publishing illustrations on a web site or a market place. For a $5 monthly membership fee, you get unlimited secure storage of your original images of any size for as long as you want. Pixagogo's features include easy drag & drop photo uploading, the ability to create elegant online albums and full screen slide shows, share selected album links with family and friends via a simple email link, and a self-organizing photo timeline. You can also order prints on Fuji paper at competitive prices.

There are also several inexpensive software applications for photo sharing on the web, including FotoFinish and the SendPix sharing feature of ACDSee 6.0. With both programs you can email photos directly from the application at sizes you specify. FotoFinish also gives you 20MB of free personal web space to upload and share your albums or individual photos. ACDSee lets you share up to 50 photos in an unlimited number of albums on their server at no charge for up to 30 days. It also has an HTML photo album generator so you can create web page photo albums to upload to your own site.

Whatever method you choose, sharing your pics on the net is a great timesaver with lots of opportunity for creativity.

Valerie Goettsch publishes the digital photography website http://www.digitalphotos101.com featuring reviews of photo editing and album software and digital photo printing services.

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