Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Online photo storage/sharing

Alas, I bring you the first part of the photo sharing tutorial I spoke of a few weeks back. Today, I'd like to focus on online photo sharing services and in particular the one I use: Flickr.com.

To be fare, there are plenty of other photo sharing sites out there including, but not limited to: Picasa, Heypix, SmugMug, and Photobucket just to name a few.

You can read an article at Wired.com comparing a few of these sites. Here is a small excerpt from the article explaining Flickr:

"Flickr members can upload, store and organize photos. They can also use their camera phones to post photos automatically to their blogs.

Most photos and albums on the service are public, and users can post tags, comments and descriptions on any public photo. By tagging photos, anyone can create groups of photos that share common tags, such as "San Francisco" or "bridges." Those groups can then be designated public or private.

Now that you have a little idea of what I'm talking about, let's actually do some stuff with Flickr.

I. Searching Flickr for stock photography

There is a lot of great photography that can be found on Flickr for use in your blog or website, just be sure that it's under the proper license. For a complete rundown on what you can and can't use go check out Flickrs Creative Commons page and check out Creative Commons by going to Creativecommons.org.

To start searching, go to the Flickr home page and type in some search terms or search the popular photo tags (see image)

II. Using Flickr to host photos

Flickr is a great resource for web developers and bloggers alike. By storing your photos on Flickr and then hotlinking back to them, you save yourself a lot of money in bandwidth charges if you run your own website and pay for hosting. You also, rely on Flickrs infrastructure which is a lot larger and more stable than even your hosting company's. In the end this means more uptime for your site and a lot of saved money in your pocket. To hotlink a picture, you select the picture you want, and then from there you select "All sizes". The next page will provide you with some code to paste into your page and a direct link to the picture if you prefer to just put a link on your page. See the picture below:

Select your picture. In this case I'll be using my avatar.

Click the all sizes button at the top of the photo (circled in red in the picture).

Copy the given code and past it into your site. You'll see the code under the picture.

III. Using Flickr groups

Flickr has a group concept that allows any number of people to get together and share photos amongst the group. You can find existing groups by going to Flickr.com/groups. These can be very useful for families, clubs, or just a group of friends looking to put together a collection of photos. You need to be a member of flickr to join a group, but you can view group pictures without signing up. If anyone is interested in starting a flickr group, let me know and I'll kick it off. I was thinking of starting one for the family, but I'd rather not unless interest was high enough.

IV. Uploading directly from your cell phone

One of my favorite things to do with flickr is take pictures with my cell phone and then upload them directly from the phone. This allows me to send pictures on the fly from where ever I'm at. You can use this feature to take pictures along the way on a trip and let your family/friends view them as you go. So just how do you do this?

Click on the drop down at the top of the page that says "You" and then click on "Your Account" in the menu.

Click the "email" tab on the next page.

You will then see an email a little way down the page under "Your Flickr upload email" (I blacked mine out so you can upload to my Flickr, but I can easily change the email by clicking edit had I forgotten to do this).

By clicking on edit, you can change the email and also add default tags that will be added to every pictured submitted through this email.

Now all you need to do from here is send a picture text from your phone to the email provided and presto! You can add tags in the subject/body of the text, but you can find more instructions by going to the Flickr FAQ

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