Most noobies can figure out how to take a digital picture. It’s the part after that where the problems begin.

Take for instance this common request I get. A bunch of people all armed with digital cameras get together for a kids’ sporting event, say a soccer game. After the soccer game is over, the parents come up with an idea to put together a photo book from all of the pictures everyone has taken throughout the season. Usually, one mom or dad steps up to the plate and offers to be the coordinator of this.

Here’s where the mess begins. Now everyone has to figure out how to get their digital pictures to the coordinator. Some will try attaching their pictures to email and have mixed results. Others will share their digital pictures on a web site which, in this scenario, causes even more problems. Still others will burn a CD and hand deliver or mail the CD to the coordinator. And the rest will call Noobie.

Why email and photo sharing sites fail

The reason email is hit or miss is because with today’s high megapixel cameras, digital pictures file sizes have grown quite large. And many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will block delivery of an email when it exceeds a certain file size limit.

Sharing photos on an Internet site is quick and easy but it doesn’t do the coordinator in our example a whole lot of good. That’s because the coordinator only has access to scaled down thumbnails of the original images. That won’t do when it comes to making a high quality photo book.

Burning a CD is the most straight forward process but can be a burden if everyone is located geographically far apart. But since in our example the parents of the soccer team players probably live close to one another and could potentially hand deliver the CDs, this might not be a bad way to go.

The best approach

The nirvana however, from where I sit, is to use an online file storage site such as Xdrive or Box. These sites allow you to upload any type of file to your own account on the Internet. The files can be of any type but in our example, would be digital pictures.

Back to our soccer photo book example. Using a site such as Xdrive or Box, the coordinator would first start by creating an account. Xdrive offers a free account with 5GB of storage and Box offers an individual account with 5GB of storage free for 14 days and then $7/95/month after. Next, the coordinator would set up a shared folder where others can upload their own digital pictures. Then each parent individually uploads their set of digital pictures to the shared online folder. When everyone is done, the coordinator then downloads the entire collection of photos to his or her computer and proceeds to create the photo book.

Like I said, that’s the nirvana. But for many noobies, the online storage approach may push them outside of their technical boundaries. If that’s the case, there’s nothing wrong with burning a couple of CDs.

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2 thoughts on “How do I get these darn digital pictures to my friends?

  1. asudduth

    What about Windows Live SkyDrive? ( I think it currently offers 5GB, and is free.  This should be pretty simple for anyone with a Live ID (Passport, hotmail, etc).  In addition to private folders (only folders you can view) they offer shared (you get to choose a list of who can see it) and public (anyone on the internet can view)

    I just thought I’d offer an additional suggestion.

  2. @asudduth Great suggestion. I’m sure there are a few others as well. Perhaps some more people can comment with the sites they use.

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