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(ARA) – Between Jimmy’s first day of school, Sally’s school pageant and the family vacation, it’s easy to quickly fill your digital camera’s memory card. Then your options are: either swap the full memory card for a new one, transfer the images to your home computer’s hard drive, or – as an increasing number of amateur shutterbugs are doing – upload the images to a photo-sharing Web site.

But how do you choose the photo-sharing site that’s right for your needs? They aren’t all created equal. Here’s what you should know about photo-sharing Web sites to make sure you choose one that will work for you:

Today’s photo sharing Web sites trace their origins to the late 1990s, when traditional photo developers began offering online ordering as a way to boost sales of their real money-maker – prints. By the early 2000s, the sites had evolved to allow users to store and organize their images online, order prints and share images with friends and family. The services continue to evolve, and recent changes have included increased storage capacity, the ability to put images on specialty products like calendars or T-shirts, and the ability for multiple users to download photos from the sharing site to their own media.

Some sites, like the newly launched, are pioneering the latest trends in sharing Web sites: social networking and allowing you to earn money for your photos. While most sites allow you to share your uploaded images with people you know and whose e-mails you’ve entered into your online address book, social networking allows your images to be viewed by virtually anyone. You can designate your images as public and publish them in communities that will attract the attention of like-minded people. For example, images of your new puppy could be shared with communities of other users who enjoy pets. It’s a way to share and make new friends.

Photos Your Way also allows you to earn money for the images you post on the site by making them available for purchase by photo houses, advertising agencies, publishers and anyone else who needs fresh images on a regular basis. The Web site acts as an outlet for the images, sharing a percentage of the sale price with the member who posted the photo.

While most have many factors in common, a few sites vary:

* By creating an account – usually free – you can upload images from your digital device, be it desktop, laptop, digital camera or cell phone, to the site where the images are stored. Most sites limit storage space; others limit the length of time for which images will be stored. is one that allows 7 GB’s free.  

* All allow you to order prints of your digital images. Some allow you to have the prints produced at a photo kiosk near you, like the ones found in drug stores and discount stores.

* All allow you to share the images you upload. You can either send e-mails inviting friends and family to visit the site and view the images, or designate certain images as “public” and viewable by everyone – or a select group of contacts.

* All of the major sites, and many smaller ones, allow you to purchase specialty products – like mugs, T-shirts, calendars, memory books and canvas prints – made with images uploaded to your account.

* Only a few sites allow those who you share photos with to download the photos and print them on your own rather than requiring you print them through their Web site.  

To learn more about social networking and photo sharing, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Author: Andy