Ask LH: How Should I Share Hi-Res Photos With Friends?

Dear Lifehacker, I recently went on holiday with a bunch of friends, and everyone had their own cameras and took some great photos. We all said we’d share the photos with each other when we got home, but it didn’t really happen, because no-one really knows what is the best and easiest way to share full-resolution photos that haven’t been downsampled.I packaged my photos into one zip file, placed them in my public Dropbox folder, and sent everyone the link to the file. However, I think even setting up a Dropbox account might be too difficult for most in the group. What are the options available so that I can get full-resolution photos from my friends? Regards, Photoless

Dear Photoless,

The solution you adopted using Dropbox is a pretty good one in terms of privacy. It certainly beats Facebook (which doesn’t support hi-res and is a platform some people actively resist) and Picasa (which makes some people nervous because of its default status as a largely public environment).

If your friends don’t want to install Dropbox, then any of the services highlighted in our Hive Five of file sharing sites make the task easy. For utter simplicity, Fyels, which we highlighted more recently, probably takes the cake.

That said, installing Dropbox really isn’t any harder than creating a zip archive in the first place. In this kind of situation, technophobia is often less of a problem than good intentions gone awry.

Everyone agrees that sharing photos after a holiday is a great idea, but many people quickly get swept back up into ordinary life and photo uploading ends up at the bottom of an infinite to-do list. In your group of friends, you sound like the efficient one, but any solution needs to start from the perspective of the least-efficient member.

The ideal strategy in this specific situation is to schedule a post-holiday group meet-up. Put aside an evening a fortnight after everyone gets back to meet up at someone’s place. (Setting this date should be part of the pre-trip planning.)

Everyone brings their cameras (or SD cards); one person brings a laptop and a card reader. A giant archive of everyone’s photos can quickly be created, and then burnt to CDs/copied to USB/placed online. Inevitably, super-organised types will have a clean set of hand-picked photos; others will have an undisciplined mess. But everyone should get access this way.

That won’t cover every contingency (such as different home cities), but it’s definitely a start. If readers have other ideas to share on how they have accomplished this task, we’d love to hear them in the comments.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • Keep in mind that the photo that you do not like might be the prize your mate is looking for. Your culling should stop at removing photos like out-of-focus shots, shots of thumbs etc. etc.. After you have collected their photos then you can create your own final keepsakes.

  • I use Picasa. The default privacy settings aren’t that hard to set. I prefer the hidden album privacy where only those with the URL can view the photos.

  • All of my stuff goes onto Flickr and I give out guest passes for any photos I don’t want to be public.

    But if your friends aren’t technologically inclined though, I think Angus has the right idea. Get them all around to your place with their pohotos on the cameras/cards, dump them all onto your computer and burn copies for everyone.

  • You can actually change the setting on sharing on the web and then you can just right click the file and click on ‘Get shareable link’ and then you can just email that link to friends to download.

  • Picasaweb. A much better user interface for photos if you’re friends aren’t tech savvy. A google signup (if they don’t have one already) is no more difficult than a Dropbox signup.

    Combine it with the Picasa desktop software and they’ll have a lot of fun playing with the photos, creating slideshows and the other cool stuff built in.

  • Facebook recently upgraded its photo capability to allow hi res uploads. It’s an option to tick when uploading, and takes a bit longer obviously due to the size. Your friends can then just click the Download link to get the original.

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