The tech helper: Sharing your summer photos on the web (Feature)
By Jay Dougherty Sep 13, 2010, 3:06 GMT
Washington - Summer is quickly fading into memory. School is back in session. What remains, most likely, are the dozens - perhaps hundreds - of digital photos that you've taken over the past few months.
They're waiting, of course, for you to process them and share them with your friends and family.
It can be a daunting task - one that, without the right tools, you can easily put off indefinitely. But don't despair. Read on to learn about some tools that can make getting those photographs off of your memory card and into the lives of those who matter a job that's easy, even fun.
Q: I'd like to get my vacation photos up on the web quickly. I've never done that before. What are some of the easiest to use photo galleries on the internet?
A: There are dozens of free services that allow you to create and show photo galleries online, but a few have risen to the top in the minds of many who use these services regularly.
Look first at Yahoo's Flickr (http://www.flickr.com); Google's Picasa Web Albums (http://picasaweb.google.com), which ties in nicely with the free Picasa photo editing software; and PhotoShop Express (https://www.photoshop.com), which features fairly full-featured online photo editing in addition to free galleries.
What often separates the easiest-to-use online galleries from the others is the intuitiveness of the uploading process itself.
Flickr, for example, gives you no fewer than three ways to upload images to your galleries, including by email and through tie-ins with a number of image browsing applications.
With Picasa Web Albums, you can upload directly from the Picasa photo browsing and editing tool (http://picasa.google.com), which is widely considered among the best free photo editors. PhotoShop Express, from Adobe, includes a very easy-to-use drag-and-drop add-on uploader that the service offers to install after you sign up.
You may not even need to sign up for some of these services. If you already have a Yahoo or Google email account then you already have your logon credentials for Flickr or Picasa Web Albums.
Q: Before I get my photographs online, I need to get them off of my camera and into my computer!
A: There are many tools that you can use to make this task simple. But first, you need to be sure you have the cable that will connect your camera to your computer. That should have come with your camera.
Typically this will be a USB cable with a large, standard USB plug on one end and a smaller, 'mini' USB plug on the other. The mini plug fits into your camera.
If your computer has a card reader, as many do these days, you may not even need the cable. You will need to know how to take the memory card out of your camera and insert it into the card reader.
Before taking either step, install and start either the software that came with your camera or a free photo processing tool like Picasa (http://picasa.google.com), available for both PC and Mac.
These tools will automatically recognize the incoming photographs and offer to download the images for you. Windows 7 and other current-generation operating systems will do the same thing.
Q: If I upload my photographs to a service like Flickr, will they be available for all the world to see?
A: Only if you want. When you upload your photos to a Flickr gallery or any of the other popular choices, you'll be given the option to designate the gallery as 'private,' which limits access to invitees.
Q: I have my own website and would like to create photo albums there that I can share with family members. I don't have a lot of time for this, though. Is there a tool that makes the job quick and easy?
A: Yes. Download the free Jalbum (http://jalbum.net/software). Once installed, click the prominent Add Photos button to tell Jalbum where the photos you want to publish are stored.
You'll be able to select the photos from among those on your drive and even perform minor alterations, such as rotating images. Once you've selected the photos, you can choose from among several including 'skins' - which will determine how your photo album appears online. Finally, click the Make Jalbum button, which will give you a preview of your site, and then click Publish.
To publish you pictures, you will need to know your ftp (file transfer protocol) login details, meaning the server name, your user name, and your password. You should have received that information from your web host.
That's pretty much all you need to do. With Jalbum, you can go from a folder full of photographs to a finished product on your website in about 15 minutes. And if you want to get even more creative, you can download and try out dozens of additional skins donated by Jalbum users (http://jalbum.net/skins).
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