Sharing with Google’s Picasa

Now that you have captured great action as part of your family sports photography you want to be able to share them with family and friends.  That doesn’t mean sharing just with the immediate family that can gather around the computer and look at them but with the extended family, friends from afar and geographically dispersed sports enthusiasts. One of the many benefits of digital photography is you no longer have to watch for “double print” day at the local photo print shop, you can simply share your photos electronically with as many people as you want and you can do it for free.  In the past you might have tried to email photos to family and friends.  While that might work for one or two photos it’s often fraught with problems and certainly an impossible way to numerous photos from a sporting event. In fact what typically happens is that your email or your family members email won’t accept large attachments so you will receive returned emails or errors.  There are better ways to electronically share your photos, and my favorite is using Google’s Picasa.

Simple & Free

Picasa is Google’s photo tool for finding, editing and sharing photos.  Picasa is simple, easy to use and it’s free.  Go to http://picasa.google.com/ or to Google, select photos or Picasa and download it and install it.  The download and install is easy to do and flawless.  Picasa offers many benefits including photo organizing, editing and sharing.  If you’re a user of gmail (Google’s email solution), then you have a Picasa account already.  If not, no worries, create an account for free.   The desktop software that you download, the web albums and the 1GB of online storage is all free.  After your install you now have free of charge (did I mention that it’s free) a quality application to organize and edit your photos, an online method for finding, storing and sharing photos.  The 1 GB of free online storage provided by Picasa is enough room for about 4,000 photos.  If you need more space you can purchase it. 

Importing Your Photos

During the install of Picasa you will be asked what folders you want Picasa to check for photos.  You can have Picasa check the entire computer or confine it to checking specific folders you your computer, such as “my pictures” folder and “my documents” folder.  Hopefully you have been keeping your photos organized a bit in those folders, but if not or if you’re not sure then have Picasa check the entire computer.  You will end up with some graphics from programs that really aren’t photos, but you can be sure that Picasa will find every photo on your computer. If you have lots of photos this will take a bit, so let it run and go do something else.  It’s pretty fast, but if you have thousands of photos it will take some time. A wonderful benefit of Picasa is that once installed it will continue to discover new photos automatically whenever they are added to your computer. 

Web albums

Now that Picasa knows about all the photos on your hard drive you can simply select the ones you want to share and upload them to a “web album.”  You can select an entire folder or individual photos to upload.  Once they are selected click upload and you will be directed to identify a web album to upload them to.  You can name it the same as the folder on your hard drive or change it.  Make sure it’s named something that your family and friends will recognize.  You must also select whether you want your web album to be private or public.  Public means that anyone family or not that is cruising Picasa can find and view your photos.  Private means that only the people you personally invite will be able to see this group of photos.

Sharing

Once you have your photos or albums online in the web albums they are ready to share and it’s easy.  Simply click share and then identify the email addresses of those you want to share with.  You can choose to share an individual photo or an entire album.  You will also have a chance to include a note in your email letting everyone know what photos you are sharing.  Each person you share with will receive an email with a link to your photos.  All they have to do is click on the link within the email and they will be taken to view your online photos.  Each individual receiving your email will not receive a different copy of the photos, but rather will be pointed to your online web album where your photos reside.  This makes the email quick and efficient and means there is only one copy of the photos on the internet.  How cool and easy is that.

Other Benefits (what your family and friends can do)

In addition to being able to view the photos and albums you have shared with them, your family and friends can easily add comments to the photos.  In fact I am using this feature to help document and tag old family photos, with the help of my Mother.  I have scanned and uploaded many old photos into Picasa, then sent my Mother a share email.  Whenever she has time she is viewing each photos and adding comments concerning the photo, the people, the date and location.  Very convenient and easy to do.  Viewers of your photos cannot delete or change them, but they can if you wish download the photos for their own use.  When you take photos at a sporting event of your children you will end up taking photos of their friends and teammates as well.  Invariable other parents will come to you and ask, can you get a shot of my child, or can I get copies of those photos.  Instead of making CDs for everyone on the team and running around like crazy, you can simply upload the photos to Picasa, send a "share" email out to the team and they can view and download the photos they want. 

Picasa is a great way to easily share your family sports photography shots with family and friends wherever they may be or live!

ProPix Photography

The Sports Photography Professionals

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