There are better and easier ways to share photos with several people than by using email. Here are the most common ways I do it from my Mac, iPhone and iPad.
Among family members or groups of friends, one or two people often end up as the “designated photographers” for any given event. Since I carry a camera with me almost everywhere, I find myself in that role quite often.
And when that happens, the rest of the group usually wants copies of the shots. The old way to send them would be via email, but that’s fraught with failure: Attaching several large image files to a message that has to squeeze through many email gateways means it’ll get lost or blocked somewhere before it reaches its destinations.
Now, there are better and easier ways to share photos with several people. Here are the most common ways I do it from my Mac, iPhone and iPad.
1. iCloud Photo Sharing
In terms of ease and execution, Apple’s iCloud Photo Sharing is my favorite option. I use this feature all the time to share pictures of my daughter with family members and friends, especially ones who live far away.
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With iCloud Photo Sharing, you set up an album and invite people who own Macs or iOS devices to subscribe to it (or subscribe them directly). When you share a photo to that album, it’s automatically added to the album on each subscriber’s device, or in the Photos application on the Mac. The other people don’t need to go hunting for the pic or view a web page; the photo just arrives.
You can set up shared albums so that subscribers can also post photos, creating an ever-increasing pool with a variety of images.
iCloud Photo Sharing is best for a relatively small number of people who want to be tuned-in to a topic on a regular basis, not so much for impromptu photo experiences. And everyone involved needs to own an iPhone, iPad or Mac.
If you’re with a group of people and want to share a few photos, but don’t want the hassle of setting up a shared album in Photos, you can zap the shots to others’ devices using AirDrop. Yes, it’s another Apple-centric method, but it’s awfully convenient.
In the Photos app, select one or more photos and tap the Share button (the square with an arrow pointing up out of it). The top section of the sheet that opens reveals nearby devices that have AirDrop enabled. Tap the icon for a friend to start the transfer; after your friend approves, the images are copied wirelessly.
If the intended recipients don’t show up, have them check to make sure AirDrop is set to receive on their device. On iOS, swipe from the bottom of the screen to bring up Control Center, tap the AirDrop button, and choose Contacts Only (presuming they have your contact information in their device) or Everyone. On the Mac, open a new Finder window and choose AirDrop in the sidebar; the receiving preferences appear at the bottom of the window.
For broader sharing, I use Dropbox. This option is great when I have a lot of photos from an event, like a birthday party or family gathering. On a Mac, create a new folder in Dropbox > Photos and put copies of the images there. Right-click the folder you created and choose Copy Dropbox Link. Then email or text that link to the people involved. They can view the photos on the web.
On an iOS device, open the Dropbox app and tap the plus (+) button and choose Upload Photos. Select the images from your Camera Roll to include, tap Next, and choose or create a folder, and then tap Upload. You can then get a public link by tapping the share button (which in the app looks like the outline of a person).
(Google Photos, Amazon Prime Photos, Microsoft OneDrive and other network services also offer similar features.)
4. Lightroom web
My main photo library is in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, so after I import a batch of photos, I can share them on the web via Adobe Creative Cloud.
To do so, put the photos into a new collection (Lightroom’s term for albums) and mark it to sync with Creative Cloud. Next, click the Make Public button above the photo grid for that collection, and share the web address it generates with your friends. You can also share the collection using the Lightroom mobile app on an iPhone, iPad or Android device.
Stop auto-playing video: This isn’t a photo-related topic, but I want to pass along a handy tip. You’ve probably noticed that more websites are annoying us with video that automatically starts playing — which is not only annoying, but is loud and intrusive when you’re using a Mac in the workplace or public spaces. My colleague Kirk McElhearn dug into the situation and offers some ways to prevent auto-playing videos, from installing a Chrome extension to enabling a debug mode for Safari. See www.kirkville.com/stop-auto-play-videos-from-annoying-you-in-your-browser/.