Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Save Time Sharing your Digital Prints

By Christina VanGinkel

It seems like the more things that are created to make our lives easier, to provide us with more free time, the more complicated the management of that time becomes. Look at all of the wonderful things we can do with photographs thanks to all the new advancements on the digital front. With cameras and accessories that allow us to take, review, choose, and print all in a matter of minutes, we should be sharing our snapshots with family and friends every time we fill the memory card. The only problem is that for most of us, once we take all those wonderful shots and upload them to our computer, that is about as far as we go with them. They sit there, languishing away, waiting for us to find the time to select the best, to print a few, let alone even use them in a few projects such as scrapbooks, or to adorn a favorite t-shirt.

Someone did think of this, and created a solution that actually will save us time! Several online companies, such as Shutterfly, allow you to simply upload all your latest photographs to their server, and from there family and friends can browse at their own leisure, download favorites, even have them professionally printed or turned into a number of different products such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, puzzles, even business cards!

All you have to do to begin the whole process is to send out, via email, invitations to those people you wish to have access to your online folders. Shutterfly has made the whole process simple enough for even a novice to do, and other online sites I previewed seemed to have just as simple a sign up process. After that, simply upload your pictures, and each time you do an announcement is sent to everyone on your list. They can then visit at their leisure. The best part of Shutterfly is that those people you invite to view do not have to be members of Shutterfly to access the folders, so it is just as easy and quick for them. Just think, never again will you have to listen to your in-laws ask you when is the next time you are going to send pictures of the kids. They can print all the photographs their heart's desire! Moreover, Shutterfly has even added a very unique feature that makes it fun for everyone viewing. They have added a cool tool that allows family and friend, or yourself, to add comments to each picture individually. No more worrying that someone will not 'get' a picture. Just add a note to it so everyone knows just what is so special about the picture. This feature also works great for those you think you might come back to yourself later and use in a scrapbook. Take a moment to jot down your thoughts or impressions so when you finally find the time to work on your scrapbook, you will have a few gentle reminders of why that photo was so special in the first place!

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