How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: How Do You Share Your Photos?

It’s easy to snap away and fill up a memory card, but not quite as easy to share your best pics with your friends and family. How do you get your pics from your camera to your friends’ monitors?

This week we’re interested in hearing about your favorite photo sharing tools and techniques. What’s your workflow for getting your photos from your digital camera to the virtual desktops of friends around the globe?

Sound off in the comments with your favorite resources, applications, and photo sharing tricks. Make sure to check in on Friday for the What You Said roundup to see how your fellow readers get the job done.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/26/12

Comments (39)

  1. r

    been a professional photographer for more than twenty-five years. For general sharing & feedback I’ve been using Flickr quite a long time –it’s a great community & I have several very good photo-friends there.

  2. Joseph

    Well, when I take photo’s on my Phone, all of them get uploaded to my SkyDrive automatically and I just share a link. When placing photos on Facebook I just use my phone and pick the memorable one. When on my digital camera, I just use my SkyDrive yet again. So handy, plus I have 25 GB legacy account which is great.

  3. thegeekkid

    Aside from Facebook, I own a multi-media production company, so I just post a photo album to a page on my website. We even have a client access system if I wanted to restrict access.

  4. Krelltunez

    Skydrive, with a legacy 25 GB account — like Joseph, above.

    The photo sharing portion of the site is really well done.

  5. Jonathan

    Picasa or smugmug are the best that I have found.

  6. infmom

    I like Shutterfly, because then the people I share with can order printed copies if they want.

  7. RA

    I use a SkyDrive with a legacy account too.

  8. Drazick

    I use Google+, It’s really as good as it gets.
    I wish they removed the 2048Px (Using Google Drive Space).

  9. wbrown

    picasa, google+ and flickr

  10. Dum-Dum

    Most of the people I know are either too stupid or too apathetic to deal with the Internet and any picture sharing. “Stupid” in terms of security or legal issues. And “apathetic” usually just means they’re cheap too. Therefore, I usually just print whatever pictures I want to share and hand them out or snail-mail them. Once in a while I might burn a CD or attach a picture to an email hoping whoever gets it isn’t still using dial up. But like I said, not very many people I know really care to deal with picture sharing or even have smart phones with Facebook accounts – they’re usually too busy having a life!

    But even I am not as likely to share pictures even if it were more convenient. I particularly hate things like Picasa or Google+ . Because once I use something like that I no longer own copyrights to my own stuff! (You better read those EULA’s if you think otherwise.)

  11. SoL

    @ Dum-Dum : Sounds like you think very highly of the people that you associate with.

  12. Matt V.

    If you’re serious about your photos, whether you are pro, amateur, or just want to back up precious memories – SmugMug is the service to use.

    @Dum-Dum: You do retain ownership of what you upload to those sites but the terms are worded so vaguely it’s easily misconstrued. Basically, most of those free online sharing sites contain legalese that says they are allowed to use, read, do whatever they like to YOUR files without you bringing legal action against them. So you do in fact retain ownership, but they can do what they like with it (delete them, hand them over to authorities, use one of your pictures in an advertisement, etc.) I agree it’s splitting hairs but that’s the cost of “free” and I still don’t like it, which is why I have a Pro SmugMug account.

  13. n30phyt3

    Picasa is the best way to share your photos :)

  14. shinigamibob

    I import my photos directly from my camera via Adobe Lightroom where it tagged, categorized and stacked. The stacking is great for HDR shots and panoramas. I do most of my editing in Lightroom and then export selected photos to a shared Dropbox folder with my closest buddies.

    For larger exports, I use the LR plugins to upload to G+ and Flickr. For insta-sharing, a couple select shots go to Facebook – but those are always copies of whats on G+. The LR plugins really make it easy to keep even the newest edits to my published photos in sync – it’ll update any old photos on G+ and Flickr with the latest edits I make.

    The majority of my exports however, go directly to my webserver at home which is running Gallery3 ( From there I can make specific albums and sharing sets. I send family specific links to well.. my family. Keeping the most private photos at home gives me the greatest peace of mind knowing that all my data is safe at home. I don’t have to bother with handing them over to a 3rd party.

    Sending single photos to random people is usually via the public folder in my Dropbox. Drag ‘n drop, copy the shortened URL, email it and delete it 2 weeks later.

    The ones that ARE hosted on a 3rd party service are always the more generic photos.

  15. Nicklas

    I use

  16. utkarsh

    Photobucket and Facebook ofcource..

  17. dragonbite

    I used to use PicasaWeb (uploaded from Shotwell) until I got the SkyDrive w/25 GB available. My imported pictures are automatically synchronized with SkyDrive and I then send out a link to whomever I want.

    I have another (desktop) computer where all of the pictures are stored from mine and my wife’s camera’s imports so if I need to free up some space on SkyDrive or my Windows 7 laptop, I double-check they are in the desktop computer before deleting them from my laptop (and thus from SkyDrive as well). I wish SkyDrive enabled some features like rotate, or searching by Tagged person.

    If Google Drive could come up with some similar solution of having imported pictures go to Picasa Web (with all of its features) instead of Google Drive AND enables not having it automatically shared in Google+ then I could switch back. Right now to upload to Picasa Web it is another process completely independent of Google Drive (I could do the same thing with my current SkyDrive storage and place them in both with no extra steps).

    If I had a larger space available for Dropbox (2GB vs 25GB is a no-brainer) there is the import feature for Dropbox as well and I would be tempted to use that. But with 14 GB in my SkyDrive it obviously would not fit in Dropbox.

    In Ubuntu I would do something similar with Ubuntu One except their web interface doesn’t do anything for gallery viewing.

  18. Jer

    Picasa is king. Lots of iPad apps link directly in, Android – of course links in. Family anywhere can view family pics moments after I sync the folders/albums on the home PC. It really is that easy and quite simple to lock so only those I want can view my albums. If you attach your Google+ account, your space for 2048p images is unlimited. If you run out space – you’ll get a warning, but can still upload. (silly error they haven’t fixed yet) If you don’t like that, Google is very generous for purchased space.

    Cons: I really don’t like how Google is slowly stripping Picasa and absorbing it into Google+. If Google changes things too much, I’ll be using my Skydrive. Way to go Google, drive me to Microsoft. Hear me Google?!

    Dropbox has made a few attempts to gather the pic sharing crowd. I may begin trying their new services.

    Also debating SmugMug for my pro-shots, not food for family pic sharing, but excellent for pro-level stuff sharing.

  19. Elizabeth

    As a professional portrait photographer, being among tried and true art communities is a huge advantage to any artist simply for the networking aspect. I post virtually everything on deviantART under my art account and on Facebook on my photography page. From either source, I can share to any number of social networks and blogs such as Twitter, Digg, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc (endless options really). Uploading to only one or two locations with the ability to share anywhere is a major advantage – and I use deviantART more often since that site doesn’t downgrade the quality of the photos!

    For the professional aspect, I don’t really want to direct traffic to only Facebook or my deviantART gallery with all my artwork just mish-mashed together. So, I have my own website complete with a custom photo album to show off my best works, and then deviantART has a free portfolio service that I use specifically for my photography – you can import photos and descriptions directly from your deviantART gallery (again, upload once and share share share). For clients only, I upload to Shutterfly to allow printing, buying gifts, etc (would use SmugMug but the price is too steep for me to get all the features I want despite it being a GREAT service – if you have the money, it is highly recommended).

    Due to some popular myths about services like Photobucket and Imageshack, I never upload professional works there. The last thing I need is for people to not understand that my work is NOT FREE or to use pictures of my clients for crazy or random stuff. Copyrights people. The sites I listed in the above two paragraphs respect and protect them to the best of their ability.

  20. dana ross

    I’m a professional photographer and do this all the time.
    I upload my photos to and send a link of the gallery to my client.
    For friends I use Facebook or Email.

  21. NSDCars5

    I just use the “classic” method. Get a printout, put in a picture album, and wait for them to show up and see the pictures. Occasionally I burn discs, but Mum uses Facebook.

  22. Tzbar

    I use Picasa

  23. Adam

    I started out using Google/Picasa, but find that Skydrive is much easier and more intuitive. Plus I have the 25GB account as listed above.

  24. Sam

    Google chrome has an app called kicksend that lets me email 25MB and larger files for free. I also use a program called PlayMemories. PlayMemories lets me correct the the pictures from there I email them or upload to any PlayStation where they can be displayed on a tv or monitor screen..

  25. DanTheMan

    I am using ZenFolio. It is a competitor to SmugMug and is easier to use IMHO. I have tried both SmugMug and ZenFolio but decided on Zen bc it was easier to use, I jsut wish they had the option to allow users to upload pics to gallery (similar to party mode in G+) that was the only thing I wish Zen had that SmugMug does currently.

  26. john3347

    I share photos on SkyDrive because it is one of very few that allows the recipient to sort through them and download the ones they want without cost. Most, if not all, the other photo sharing applications are photo sales events. I have a 25 GB grandfathered account. 5 or 7 GB accounts are ridiculous and worthless.

    @Matt V. Dum-Dum stated that, “Because once I use something like that I no longer own copyrights to my own stuff!” He said that he loses copyrights to HIS material. He did not state that he loses ownership. Although he is very disrespectful of those he refers to as “friends”, his position on giving up his rights to the material placed on almost every online storage site is exactly on target. Read the fine print!!!!

  27. Wayne Lloyd

    I dont do it much but when i do i would use dropbox or ubuntu one

  28. John

    Smugmug (private + public albums)
    Share with friends via Facebook and mail (linked to Smugmug).

  29. knightspawn5

    I use webshots, Photobucket and Skydrive.

  30. Wilko53

    The majority of the time I use Picasa. Even though the uploading time is considerably longer I upload the original file size. For work I use Dropbox because it’s convenient.

  31. Bruce

    Load them on my computer for storage, if I wish to share Facebook is my usual path, but recently I used the local Patch for an event that didn’t appear to have been documented.

  32. TheFu

    Share … hummmmm. I’m paranoid about photos “getting out” or being used in ways that I don’t want. Once you post to the web, it is gone. You’ve lost control – PERIOD. Multiple ways to share.

    a) USB flash drive for family and slide shows
    b) Android tablet for slide shows
    c) Personal Website “Gallery” – Perl rocks for all photos of everything, password protected and over HTTPS. I use a modified version of this: code. Added search and allow infinite directory levels in my version.
    d) Upload carefully selected photos to 1 or 2 online websites. Usually anonymous travel-sites. The photos have copyright data inside the EXIF, but resizers will often strip that out. Still, my intention is in the upload.

    There are over 30G (15,600+) of digital photos in the current collection and I’m still organizing another 5 countries worth (5.5+G) from the last trip to Europe.

    Under no circumstances that I can think of would any photo be uploaded to Facebook or any other website that wasn’t extremely clear on copyright and ownership in a way favorable to me.

    I really like that I can setup specific access controls for different photo sets in my photo gallery. Even though there are photos from the 1950s to last week there, that doesn’t mean I want anyone to see all of them.

  33. Mel

    I usually either put them on Facebook or I upload them to Walgreens Photo and share the link with friends so they can order their own prints. I use Photobucket for my more creative images. If I’m sharing a LOT of photos, I occasionally burn them to a CD or DVD and send them that.

  34. Michael

    Dropbox — I have a paid account with 100+ GB of space. I have folders set up for sharing with various family and friends while others can be invited when the need arises. I also use it as a backup system to transfer my photos to other computers. Dropbox is quick and easy and I can share a lot of photo files with almost no effort. And since it’s useful for so many other tasks, I see no reason to complicate things by using a designated photo website or program for sharing.

  35. BillyGoat

    I share using a great pay site with full rez files called

  36. Geek^2

    I used to use Picasa on Ubuntu for it’s tagging and automatic uploading, and album management.
    Unfortunately, Google has dropped support for Picasa on Linux, and the uploading has gotten broken.
    I’m managing my photos in Digikam, and uploading to Flickr for sharing.

  37. Patricia

    Plug camera into USB port. Find the photo folder. Copy and paste the images into a folder on my hard drive. Open in Photoshop and edit as necessary. Copy and paste the edited images to Dropbox. Send an email to all I want to share with containing the link to the Dropbox folder and a message to tell them they can download as many photos as they like. After some time, when everyone has had a chance to see the photos I remove the folder from Dropbox to make room for the next lot.

  38. Chase

    As a photographer I use Fickr regularly to upload photos, then I share the links with my friends.

  39. destruct

    i’ve been using lately… really nice

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