Sharing Photos

December 17, 2010

Something that most people do with their computers these days is share pictures with friends and family. These days, there are lots of different ways to do that. The two most popular ways of sharing pictures are to put them on a website or to email them. There are lots of websites that allow you to share photos. The most popular one is Facebook. is probably the second most popular with PicasaWeb (from Google) gaining fast.

In this article I’m going to focus on how to email pictures. You may not be aware of this, but there is a limit to how big an email can be. However, that size limit varies from email host to email host. It generally varies from 2 megabytes (mb) to 5mb. If the maximum size of an email is 5mb on your email service but it’s 2mb on the email service used by your friend, then if you send that person a 5 megabyte email, they won’t get it. Because of this, you should always try to keep your emails at or below 2mb.

But when you are emailing pictures that you took with your digital camera, a single picture can be 2mb by itself. You really don’t want to have to send one email for each picture. You also don’t want to have to edit each picture to reduce the size just so you can email it. Never fear, we are here to tell you about some easy ways to send pictures through email.

By the way, reducing the size doesn’t mean taking an 8×10 picture and making it into a 4×6. When we refer to the size of a picture, that refers to how much space it takes up when stored. When you reduce the size of a picture, you are lowering the quality of that picture. If the those receiving your pictures are just going to look at the pictures on their computer, then this lower quality won’t matter. The pictures will still look great on the computer screen.

If, however, the people you are sending photos to want to get prints made, they should not uses these reduced quality photos you send through email to make big prints. If the people you are sending photos to want to do that, you should send the picture in its original form without reducing the size or quality.

In general, the best way to email a group of photos is to use photo software. Most digital cameras come with photo software. Some are better than others. There is a free photo program from Google that is called Picasa. It’s very good and has a lot of great features. And best of all, it’s free. You can use it to transfer the pictures from your camera to your computer. You can use it to email a group of photos as well. All you do is select the pictures you want to email, tell it you want to email them, tell it who you want to email them to, and then Picasa will automatically adjust the size and quality of the pictures so they can be emailed. Most photo software can do this.

Another feature Picasa provides is PicasaWeb. You can use Picasa to post your pictures on PicasaWeb. Then you can just send a simple email (with no pictures in it) to your friends and family and give them a link they can click on to view the photos.

By the way, if you are ever looking at a photo online and you want to save a copy of it for yourself, it’s easy to do. Just right-click on the photo and choose “Save As” or “Save Picture As”. Then just tell it where you want to save it and give it a name and you’re done.

Some email clients have the capability to reduce the size of your pictures for you so they will fit in your email. In Outlook 2007, you can have it automatically reduce the size of your attached pictures. To do that, once you have your email all ready to go and the pictures attached, you can click on attachment options. Under picture options, you can select what size you want to resize the pictures to.

In Outlook 2010 it works a little differently. It’s more automatic but gives you less control. Instead of you specifying the size, you just tell it to automatically reduce the size of your attached pictures for you to whatever makes sense for email. To do that, once you have your email ready to go and the pictures all attached, click on File and at the top of the window, click on the circle to the left of “Resize large images when I send this message”. Now click Message to go back to your message. When you send the message, Outlook will automatically reduce the size of large pictures so your email will go through.

And by the way, never send any sensitive photos over the internet. Any photo  you post on a website or send through email can be intercepted by someone. If you have sensitive photos you want to send someone you should encrypt them before you send them. How to encrypt a file is a topic for another article. Another option would be to just print them on paper and mail them instead of sending them over the internet.

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