You may not want the whole world to see your swimsuit selfies, but you can still share your summer photos with friends privately.
VENICE BEACH, Calif. — It's almost the middle of the summer (can you believe it?) and if you're like me, you've probably snapped hundreds, if not thousands, of photos already.
For most folks, sharing them with your entire network on Facebook or Instagram publicly is the No. 1 share option of choice.
But what if you don't want the entire world seeing every one of your snaps?
There are several ways to share one on one, via e-mail, texting, photo websites and many apps.
Let's take a look at the options:
No. 1:E-mail. The most time-honored tradition is to send photos via e-mail, but you're more likely to offend friends by cluttering up their inbox than make them smile. Photos are huge files, and getting bigger all the time — even smartphone snaps. Unless it's very important, and a friend has requested the image via e-mail, it's best to look to alternative methods.
No. 2: Text. Most phones will downsize images to make receiving and viewing them more manageable. You can use the native text programs on your phone, or look to third-party text apps like WhatsApp, Viber or Text Plus. But texting is best when it's just one or two images — not best for a gallery of vacation photos, for instance.
Snapchat logo(Photo: Screenshot)
No. 3: Snapchat. So many photos are shared via the free Snapchat app, for Apple, Android and Windows platforms, that it's mind boggling — 700 million daily. Teens and young adults love Snapchat because the notion of sending fleeting images that come and go is so fun and easy. That's the good news. The bad news is your photos will disappear within 10 seconds — that's how the app works. (You can do a screenshot of the image, if you're quick, but it takes some getting used to, and most users don't do it this way.)
No. 4: Privatizing Instagram. The Facebook unit, the No. 1 pure photo-sharing app, has seen 20 billion total photos shared on the service by its 200 million active members, who upload 60 million photos daily. While Instagram is a social network, where everything you put out there is meant to be seen by the world, it can be tweaked and privatized. You can change your settings so that your photos can only be seen by folks who request an invite to follow you. The downside: Each and every photo you post will be still be seen by all of your followers — you can't choose just a handful at a time.
No. 5. Apps. There are lots and lots of them.
There are many, many apps and websites that promise one-to-one and one-to-many private sharing, including Path, Dropshots, Unseen and even Shutterfly, the photo print service, which has a private "share" site available on the service as well.
Most, however, virtually mimic the text model, and offer little beyond one-on-one photo, to a handful of pix, at a time, sharing. That's how it is for Path and Dropshots; Cluster lets you create a "space," and lets you pick from your contacts or Facebook friends -- one at a time to share with. So, for instance, I created a "Graham Family" space on the Cluster app, and found my brother and mother's contacts within the app, posted a bunch of photos and invited them, and only them, to view them. Of the apps I took a look at, this was the best and closest to what I was trying to accomplish.
Apple iCloud(Photo: Apple)
No. 6: iCloud. If you've got an iPhone, iPad or Mac computer, you might want to explore iCloud, which lets you share photos with just "people you choose." The drawback: Apple offers just 5GB of storage, and many consumers complain of nag messages saying they've run out of room. However, for sharing privately, the limit rules are way more liberal -- you can share up to 5,000 photos in a "stream" -- which is an online gallery. If you run out, just start a new one.
The set-up for this is a little cumbersome. You need to go into Preferences on the computer or device, click iCloud and set up "My Photo Stream."
In the "Photo" app on the device, click on "Shared," create a new "stream" and invite folks to share the photos -- which will be viewable on their devices. Friends and family don't have to own Apple products -- you can also send a link to view on any device or operating system.
No. 7 Websites: Photobucket has a tool to assign passwords to your online albums. You can then send the link to friends and let them view them on their phones. (You can't apply the password on mobile, just through a computer.) The service is free, but ad-supported. Your friends will get lots of nags to buy things.
If you're willing to spend a minimum of $40 yearly, the premium service Smugmug is less cumbersome, and you and your friends won't be nagged to buy things. Just upload a bunch of photos, create a gallery and assign a password. Then send the link to your friends.
What you can't do with Smugmug is send photos via the mobile app (Apple, Android) privately, password protected. You'll have to do that on the computer.
iMemories is a service that allows for private photo and video sharing.(Photo: Screenshot)
And if you're in the spending mood, the best website and companion app I've seen for sharing multiple photos and images privately is iMemories.com, a service that was built upon the idea of digitizing your old home movies onto DVD.
Now it's all about the companion app, (available for Apple and Android devices) which gives more private sharing options than competitors -- send via e-mail, text, Facebook and Twitter or a link that can be sent to any or many.
iMemories charges $50 yearly.
Readers: What's your favorite way to share photos privately? Let's chat about it on Twitter, where I'm @JeffersonGraham.
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