Creating an online photo album
With digital cameras, being an amateur photographer has never been easier. But once you have all those pictures, what do you do with them? We have some ideas of ways to archive and share your photos here!
Your pictures might be stuck on your hard drive -- or perhaps printed them out and they're sitting in a box or an album in your house. How can you share your photographs with your family and friends? The solution is to upload them to a photo-sharing site! In fact, there are a lot of advantages that come along with keeping an online album. Here's a look at just a few:
Sort and share
Putting your pics online will allow you to create a variety of albums, title them, add keywords, and arrange the order in which you view your photos. Then you will get links that you can send to friends and family, near and far. They can browse your photos and download or print them, too. You can also add the link to your Facebook page or your blog.
An added bonus: Online photo albums offer a great way to avoid sitting through pictures being taken with everyone's camera at the party. Tell them to just take a couple pictures with yours, and you'll have them up online for them to download the next day!
Get your prints
Most photo-sharing sites have a printing feature. This means that you can avoid the hassle of the photomat and go directly from uploading the photo to ordering prints. It's also an easy way to choose which ones are worth printing and which can be trashed. From there, you can resize, crop, or make other adjustments -- including adding effects or frames -- for perfect prints.
Perfect the imperfect
Find a site that incorporates editing tools like red-eye elimination and tint adjustment to improve flawed photos. (Usually they're much more user-friendly than attempting to do it yourself with pricey photo editing software.) If you want to be able to do more than small changes, consider investing in a simpler -- and less expensive -- version of well-known programs, such as Photoshop Elements.
A big plus for storing photos online is that it keeps your pictures safe -- permanently. Once you have your photo library online, it's immune to fire damage, water damage and decay. You can even scan your own negatives and pictures -- or send in your film or prints and have them scanned in -- to protect the photos that aren't digital.
Tips for best-quality prints and photo products:
- Shoot the original image with a quality camera (ideally 4 megapixels and above) so your photos will have enough detail to produce sharp prints. Cell phone photos, when printed, often appear fuzzy or pixelated, as there's just not enough data to fill in all the gaps when enlarged to a standard 4x6 photo size.
- Don't save and save and save in the jpeg/jpg photo format. With that particular file type, you lose data every time you save the image (called a "lossy" format). Do any editing work ideally in your program's native format -- like for Photoshop, you'd save the picture as a .psd file. Then when you're all done with your fixes, save it back to jpeg and choose the highest quality (least compression) setting that you can.
- If you alter your photos, ensure that you keep the image size (height and width) as large as the original, because you want to maintain the highest level of resolution possible.
Get more specific tips in our article, How to retouch and renew your old photos.
Make great gifts
Things like personalized mugs and magnets used to cost a lot, require a long lead time -- and even then, the quality was not always great. Well, this is one more thing the digital age has completely revolutionized! It's easy and relatively inexpensive to customize all kinds of products (like mousepads, cards, mugs, stationery -- even jewelry) with your favorite pictures! You can also make photo collages, photo books and posters with your pix through the various web-based companies.
So the next time you take a snapshot, think big! Share your photos with friends and family, have fun creating ways to display your memories, and know that your grandkids -- and your grandkids' grandkids -- will always be able to see these little slices of your life.