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sharing digital photos

A non-technical friend is now the proud owner of a new Canon digital SLR and a whole new world of possibilities and problems has opened up.

The image files being created by modern digital SLR cameras can be quite large and my friend had discovered the size limitations associated with attachments on free email accounts, and had asked me what they could do. Zipping of image files is not usually that effective in compressing image files down to smaller sizes so that they can be used as attachments.

I summarized what I thought the three main approaches were (without getting into image re-sizing etc using Photoshop et al) all based around what are currently free offerings.

  1. Via email. Most of the big email providers now allow largish attachments of upto 10Mb, unfortunately image files from cameras can now be much larger than the allowed limits of the free services. Google gmail (www.gmail.com) is one of the best free services for allocating space – it allows attachments up to 25Mb (and allows 7Gb of space on their servers). This means that you can send messages with 25Mb attachments ok but doesn’t necessarily mean that the person receiving the email is with a service that can accept it. Good nudge for them to switch to Google mail maybe 🙂
  2. Specialised sending service eg www.yousendit.com – these work by you uploading the file to a server and then a link is sent via to the person who is receiving the file. They then open the link in a web browser and download the file to their machine. The free services usually have a limit of 100Mb for file attachments – for larger attachments you have to sign up and pay a monthly fee. With attachments this big you could zip a set of photos together into one file and put that as an attachment
  3. You sign upto a free online web service which gives you between 1 and 10Gb online space. You upload your files to the service and depending on the service ,set the privacy restrictions on who can see your files. You can then send people a link to individual files or a folder (cf album). This would be my preferred approach. A number of particularly good services around here – here are a few : (Note the first two are general file services so no limits on file size which would effect uploading of photos)
      www.humyo.com – free acount gives upto 10Gb
      www.dropbox.com – free account gives 2 Gb free storage
      www.picasaweb.com – free account gives 1Gb free storage – this is Googles photo product and is very good – it also works well with the google picassa software which you can install on your pc for managing your photo collections. (max photo size for upload on here is 20Mb)

I discounted Flickr in the online web service because of an upload limit of 10Mb.

My friend is going to give Picasaweb a try first – and no doubt I can look forward to some snow pictures.

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