'Tis the season to share your photos

With another festive season come and gone, most of us probably have a camera full of digital photos that no one will ever see. If you're like a lot of people, you'd love to post the shots online but have no idea where to start. Don't fret. Sharing photos online is a breeze.

In fact you don't even need any fancy tools or skills. All you need to do is visit one of the many websites that offer such a service.

Today's most popular photo sharing site is www.Flickr.com, but some others include smugmug.com, zoto.com, shutterbook.com and more. All offer different storage allocations, bandwidth limitations and image handling features.

For learning sake, let's concentrate on Flickr.

Owned by Yahoo, Flickr allows users to easily do everything from uploading to organising photos in the browser. A free version allows you to post 20MB of photos each calendar month. Unlike other providers, this 20MB is a bandwidth limit, not a storage limit. A Flickr pro account costs US$24.95 and the monthly upload limit is 2GB.

Flickr's 'uploader' is special as it not only resizes images before uploading (so you don't use up your bandwidth too quickly), but also knows to automatically turn portrait shots. Once you post your photos online you can securely and privately show them to friends and family by emailing them a link to your site. Friends and family can add notes and comments. If you don't want all you shots made public, you can create private albums that only select people to view.

What makes Flickr different than other photo-posting websites is that it's widely used by bloggers as a photo repository and its popularity has been fueled by its innovative community tools, allowing photos to be tagged, searched and browsed. All this cultivates a lively, informal and fun atmosphere--a sort of online community.

So now you know. It's easy and simple to give your photos a home other than on your camera. Give it a try so people can actually see all those photos you took over the holidays.

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