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Easy Ways to Share Holiday Photos
Let’s face it, holiday moments can get trapped on memory cards and hard drives. Let’s liberate them. The digital age has brought about no shortage of ways to share your photos, ranging from slideshows and online sharing, to traditional prints with options for photobooks and other customizable holiday gifts. Uploading is easy: wired or wireless. The trend in digital cameras and smartphones is to make it easier to bypass transferring pictures to your hard drive and upload directly to photo-sharing and social media sites or simply send snaps in instant messages and emails.
Photo-Sharing Sites
The vast majority of photo-sharing sites out there host your photos for free. Some do offer the option to pay for “Pro” or “Premium” services, often for things like unlimited storage or for full-resolution photo access, but for the average person wanting to simply share a holiday album or slideshow and purchase gifts, the free account is all you need. Photo-sharing sites make it easy to sign up and start uploading in a few minutes. You can edit and share just as quickly.

You may already have an account with one or more of the more popular photo-sharing sites –Flickr, Shutterfly. Photobucket, etc. So, why choose one over the other? Well, like fingerprints, no two are exactly alike.

Standard Features: uploading, editing, tagging, descriptions or captions, titles, album organization, slideshows, privacy controls, emailing, and mobile uploading apps.

Gifting Features: Flickr, Kodak Gallery, and Shutteryfly are the ones with options to order prints and design cool holiday gifts like puzzles, blown-up wall posters, and even decks of custom playing cards.

Standout Features:

With Flickr (Yahoo!), you can have your prints and collage photos shipped or simply pick them up at your local Walmart or Walgreens. There is even an option to send pics from your phone to a Flickr email address for conveniently uploading photos.

Kodak Gallery lets you send your photos off to post on Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube.

Shutterfly is one of the only sites that stores and lets you access full-resolution pictures for free and gives you the option to pick up 4x6 prints at Target, Walgreens, and CVS in as little as an hour.

Photobucket (Microsoft) leans heavily toward categorical photo finding for all to see and has an impressive collection of online album and scrapbook themes for adding pizzazz.

Picassa (Google) mainly functions as photo management software, syncing photos from your drive to the Picassa site while giving you the power to create picture movies (with music), create photo CDs, and place text onto photos. For social media sharing, Picassa suggests using a third-party Facebook uploader.

Bottom line: Shutterfly is the most well-rounded, feature-packed photo-sharing site. Flickr is a close second, and may be the easiest to use.

Social Media Sharing
Sites like Facebook and MySpace don’t let you gift your photos on a set of coasters (for the time being), but you can upload pics to albums, post them on your wall or profile page, and send them in messages. Facebook just rolled out a high-resolution photo option, making social media photo hosting more like a photo-sharing site. Much like Flickr, you can set up a Facebook email address and send photos to automatically post to your wall. Once uploaded, you can add tags to friends in photos to identify them. Those pictures will then be added to the tagged person’s photo collection.

Most social media sites have their own mobile phone apps for adding photos on the go.

All-In-One Uploading
Plixi
Uploading to each site individually can eat up time, so it’s worth mentioning sites like Plixi, where you can post pics to several sites at once -Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, or Foursquare at your choosing. Their iPhone app makes for easy mobile uploading, but Android and Blackberry users will have to wait as Plixi claims that apps are in development.
Picplz
Another cool photo-sharing app that’s gaining momentum and is actually available for the Android as well as the iPhone right now is Picplz. You can upload and present smartphone pictures in a format that lends itself more to storytelling. The interface is simple and the features are basic - tagging locations and the ability to add captions –plus, there’s an added bonus: photo filters for looks like that grainy “70s film” or a cool chromatic color scheme.
More Easy Ways to Share
IMing
Instant messaging pictures from your phone’s camera is intuitive and might just be the easiest way to send a photo. Just snap and send.

Emailing
Photos stored in your mobile phone or your computer can be easily attached to emails. However, there are attachment size caps. For example, Yahoo!, Google, and Windows Live Hotmail maintain a 25MB limit per email, so pictures sets may have to be spread over several emails.

Computer & TV Display
Of course, when someone is in front of your computer, you can just use Windows Photo Viewer or iPhoto to play a slideshow. For a big-screen exhibition, plug your camera into your TV with the yellow RCA (composite) cable, or, if you have the option, an HDMI cable is even better.

CDs & DVDs
Use programs like Roxio PhotoShow (free) or iPhoto to add music, transitions, and special effects to photo slideshows and burn them to DVDs or CDs.

Wi-Fi SD Card
A company called Eye-Fi sells SD and SDHC cards with built-in Wi-Fi for your digital camera or iPhone to wirelessly upload photos directly to your computer or to online sharing site for immediate sharing.


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