Tag Archives: Photo Management

Free Unlimited Photo Storage

Have you ever wanted to have a free online backup solution for all of your photos? According to LiveSide Microsoft is preparing to offer such an option.

Microsoft currently offers 25GB of free online storage via SkyDrive in which you can store your photos, documents and other files online. Now it appears you will be able to store unlimited photos and documents using SkyDrive. No word on when they will make the switch but it’s good news for all sports photographers looking for a free way to backup their entire photo collection.

You can see our overview of storing your photos on SkyDrive as well as how to share your photos on SkyDrive in our previous posts. You can also take a look at a short video demonstrating how Microsoft is building features of SkyDrive into Windows 8 below.

Sharing Your Photos With SkyDrive

In a previous article we talked about storing your photos on Windows Live SkyDrive. In this short follow-up we are going to talk about sharing those photos with your friends, family or even the whole world.

To get started log in to your SkyDrive account and go into the photo folder you would like to share. Over on the right hand side there are a few options for sharing depending on what sharing restrictions you have set.

  • Edit Permissions
  • Get a link
  • Send a link
  • Embed (only shown if you grant access to everyone)

Let’s go over the different options you have now.

Edit Permissions
This is a quick way to change the level of sharing you grant to other people.

permissions

From the screenshot above you can see there is a slider you can adjust to give a broad change or you can enter one or more email address in the box provided to specify individuals you would like to grant access to your photos.

Once you have shared photos with individuals this is also where you want to go if you later want to remove them. There will be a list of all the people you have shared photos with and the option to remove them if you like.

Get a Link
This option allows you to copy and paste a link that sends you or whomever you give the link to to your photos. Note that anyone that uses the link must have permission to view the photos. If they don’t they will get an error page explaining they might not have permission to view the photos.

Send a Link
With this option you can easily send a link via email that will give the recipients access to your photos.

When you send the email the person you sent the link to will receive an email explaining that they have been invited to view your photos.

share email

Embed
Using the embed link will show you a snippet of code that you can copy and paste into your webpage. When a visitor comes to your site they will see a small thumbnail with a link to the album. We have placed a small sample gallery using the embed code below so you can see it in action.

 

So what happens when someone either clicks the link you sent in an email or a link you have on your website? They are greeted with a large image view of your gallery. They are able to easily navigate either clicking the small thumbnails across the bottom, clicking to the left or right of the main image or using the keyboard left and right arrow keys.

view large image album

If they click the folder name in the upper right corner of the screen they are shown a grid view of the gallery with the options to download the entire gallery or even order prints from Snapfish.

gallery view

As you can see there are a number of ways to share your sports photos using SkyDrive. You can make it as open or closed as you like.

Storing your photos on SkyDrive

Windows Live SkyDrive is a free 25GB cloud storage offering from Microsoft in which you can store literally any files you want. It integrates with Office Web Apps which include free online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. SkyDrive has been around for a few years but unfortunately if you were a photographer it never had a real good reason to use it. With the new HTML 5 update that is about to change.

SkyDrive now feels much more like a photo viewing desktop application than your standard old website. Uploading photos is extremely easy. You first create a folder and then click the add files button. You are then presented with a large box asking you to drag your files there. Once you drop your photos to the box it automatically starts uploading them for you. You can choose from a number of uploading sizes from small all the way up to the original size.

skydrive import

Once you have uploaded a number of photos and folders you can get a quick view of all your uploads by clicking on the Photos link on the left hand side of the page. This view uses what Microsoft calls live tiles. Essentially what it does is present you with a small slideshow of the photos you have in each folder. The effect is very nice and isn’t overly distracting.

skydrive folder view

Once you click through to one of your photo folders you are presented with a grid of your photos nicely spaced and with their original aspect ratio. You also get details and options for that specific folder to the right side of the interface that “sticks” in view even as you scroll through your photos. When scrolling through your photos you don’t have to click through page and page but rather SkyDrive automatically loads thumbnails of your images as you scroll. This behavior is more like a traditional desktop application than a website. This makes finding your photos much more quickly than having to try and guess which page you think the photo you are looking for is on.

skydrive album view

Clicking on an individual photo brings up a larger view of that photo in addition to small thumbnails of the other photos before and after the currently selected photograph. Once again SkyDrive provides you with options and details of the currently selected photo on the right side. You can easily scroll through your photos using the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard or clicking to the left or right of the large photo. You can also skip to another photo by clicking it’s thumbnail at the bottom of the screen.

skydrive photo view

One last feature I’ll mention is the arrange photo feature. When you move to this mode it gives you an intuitive way of arranging all your photos in a particular folder. You can simply drag your photos around moving them into the order you wish for them to show up.

skydrive arrange album 

Many of the features I’ve described here don’t give you a full appreciation of how things look and work so I’ve embedded a short video Microsoft has provided which walks you through some of the new features.

Access your photos from anywhere

Were you ever out of town and needed access to your photos on your home computer? This can be extremely frustrating if you have no way of getting to the photos you need. With a Windows Home Server (WHS) and Internet connection, it’s never been easier to accomplish.

There are a number of ways to get a hold of WHS. You can build your own system and put the software on yourself or, as I would recommend, buy a box already put together by a vendor such as HP.

When you run the setup wizard for the first time you are asked to create a user account. You can specify whether this user has access to the home server over the Internet or not. If you allow this account to gain access, you can setup a web address you type in just like a normal website such as myserver.homeserver.com. If you have an HP WHS you are presented with a home screen such as the one below.

home screen

If you haven’t setup the photo or media streamer, you can use the “Access Files on Server” options. The WHS machine will then ask you to login using the user you setup at the beginning of the setup process.

Once you are logged in, you are presented with a file browser similar to the one you use to view files in Windows. You can navigate to the folders you want to view your files in, download files, create folders and even upload new files. This can be extremely useful if you are on a shoot and want to backup your files from earlier that day.