Your own free photo sharing site in 3 minutes

Click the thumbnail for photo gallery

This note is for those who don’t yet have their own photo sharing web site. Our cruising friends in the same fix tell us “we don’t know how, we can’t afford it, or it is too hard”. But once they know how easy it is, they usually get their own free website, then stop emailing photos around the web.

Here is a dead simple, totally free and very quick way to have your own photo sharing web site. I just did this entire operation in about 3 minutes: I created a new PicasaWeb account, uploaded some of our latest leaping dolphin photos, then emailed the URL of the new album to friends.

Here are the 3 steps:

1. login to PicasaWeb with your Google account (your gmail address and password). See below if you don’t have an account***

2. click on “Add Photos” then the “Choose File” buttons just like you would in your email application to email that photo.

3. click on “Start Upload“.

But there is an even better way: click on the “Launch Picasa” button where you can download the free Picasa application. It’s amazing that Google offers this excellent software free. If you are already using iView Media Pro or Adobe Lightroom (which we use) then you don’t need Picasa.

Once you have all your digital photos organized in Picasa, then uploading your new photo album will take only a few seconds. When viewing your new album in Picasa, just click on the “Sync to Web” button.

There are many benefits to having your photos organized so you can instantly show your (Yosemite, birthday, kayaking) pics with friends either on your computer (Picasa) or on the web (Picasaweb). For example:

1. You can of course quickly crop and fix up exposure and other defects;

2. Picasa will learn to automagically tag all your photos with the names of the faces recognized in each photo;

3. You are getting free offsite backups of your precious photos;

4. Your friends get to see your great photos full size even if they are 4000×3000 images that are 10MB each;

5. Your friends can add comments and contribute their photos to a group shoot;

6. Your photo albums can be totally private and secure, or open for anyone to view.

7. Geotagging: you can easily map your photo albums using Google Maps. I just geotagged the dolphin album in about 30 seconds — I just entered “whangamumu,nz” in the map window which brought up a terrain map of the Whangamumu Harbor area. I clicked where I wanted the thumbnail of the album anchored, then the Done button. Try it!

Instead of emailing digital images around — just click on the Share button. Then supply your favorite email addresses and the message you wish to be included with your viewing invitation.


*** If you don’t already have a gmail address, then click Create an Account and in 60 seconds you will have a free gmail address. A gmail account gives you access to dozens of useful, free Google services.

UPDATE: We have tried to keep our smugmug site updated almost realtime during our Christmas family cruise. It’s really very quick and simple with just a bit of discipline to load and rate the day’s photos. That is so much easier to do on the day rather than playing catchup months later. Once you’ve rated the best pics (to go to your site) it is trivial to do the web upload if you have net access.

If you prefer Flickr, there is a free plugin for Picasa that uploads to Flickr. We don’t have an opinion on the “best free photo site” choice, as we prefer for our pics. It is a family business oriented to professional photographers who make their living selling their pics (and prints). Our daughter has a smugmug account ($39.95/yr for the non-pro account, unlimited photos of any size, videos, etc.). She was ecstatic with the quality of the prints she ordered before Christmas.

But I do think it is very important to have a robust photo organizing client like Picasa to make it easy to exploit the fun that you have in your growing collection of digital photos.

More Tips:

(1) Multi-camera shoots: especially on family outings or holidays we often find several cameras shooting the same activity. To make this work out to everyone’s benefit, be sure to get out all your cameras and synchronize the internal date/time clocks. Then your multiple-camera shoots will automatically interlace in your Picasa-like organizer as well as your website. We’ve had 3 and 4 cameras shooting on our Pacific passage galleries.

(2) Backup for your precious photos: We upload our original images [e.g., 12 megapixel, at 100% quality JPG]. These are backed-up on the smugmug servers + three Amazon S3 servers separated around USA for disaster defense. So there are at least 4 server backups of almost our original quality images [the images would be exactly original except we don’t think we need to pay for Smugmug’s special RAW archival service. If disaster strikes are own quad-level image backups we will survive with the 100% JPEG.

1 thought on “Your own free photo sharing site in 3 minutes

  1. Thanks Dorothy and Steve,
    Daren has tried to help me with my website, but he has been
    too busy to continue.

    Love, Helen 🙂


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