How Photo Sharing Works

Did you know that there's a way to share your photos with your family and friends without having to lug around a photo album? Enter photo-sharing Web sites, like Flickr above.

Do you have lots of dusty photo albums with pages full of old photos? Thanks to the many free photo-sharing Web sites currently available, those are a thing of the past. Instead of carrying your photos around when you want to share them, you can now easily share them from your computer.

Now it only takes a few minutes to upload a batch of digital photos and e-mail friends and family who might want to see them. For a price and a little extra effort, you can print out those same digital pictures on quality photo stock for permanent keepsakes, or get photo-sharing sites to mail them to you.

Photo-sharing sites offer many features, and there are several of them on the Web. Most are free but offer additional storage space, bandwidth and/or other features for a price. We'll use Flickr as an example because it's one of the most popular photo-sharing Web sites, but there are many other great sites on the Internet that offer similar features.

The most basic feature is the ability to upload your digital photos to the Web, organize them and allow other people to see them. The first step is uploading. The upload page of most sharing sites will have a box with a "Browse" button. Clicking on "Browse" allows you to find the files on your hard drive. Usually, there are several boxes on the page, so you can find multiple photos and upload them all at once. It may take several minutes for the upload to finish, depending on how many photos you've chosen and how large the files are. Some photo-sharing sites have programs that you can download to your desktop and use to upload photos to the site.Flickr also has ways to upload images via e-mail and certain types of cell phones with cameras.

At this point, some sites will automatically resize your photos. Usually the photo size is reduced to keep the site's bandwidth and storage space use minimized. Keeping photos at the original size may be an option for paying members.

Next, learn how to categorize your photos.