Monday, August 16, 2010

Group photo sharing through

Here's a nearly universal truth: if a picture of a kid exists, that kid's parent wants a copy. Really self-controlled parents might go ahead and delete pictures that are blurry or where their kid is clearly not the subject of the picture. Maybe. But they want to make that choice themselves, and that means that any time you get a group of kids together in this age of ubiquitous digital cameras, there's going to be about 250 pictures per half-hour that every parent is going to want a copy of, from every other parent.

If said parents don't want to trust that everyone else will remember to include them in the list when sending out pictures (which may or may not happen), the solution has historically been for the event-planner to tell everyone to e-mail all the pictures to them, at which point they will make copies of all the pictures and get them back out to all the attendees.

Here's my question for you: has that ever worked out for you? In my experience, the absolute best scenario is that most of the parents will get copies of their pictures to the planner. But then the planners get to figure out when to draw the line of, "everyone who's going to send pictures, has sent them". And not only is it very easy to keep procrastinating, "just in case more come in", they really have no motivation to get those picture dispersed back out. After all, said planners now have all the pictures, so now they're happy, and their attention quickly turns to something else. And if they're really ambitious and actually decide to really get it done, they'll always end up being shocked at how many kids are in the pictures, and therefore how many copies they'll have to make and re-disperse.

Then along came services like Facebook, Flickr, Snapfish, Photobucket, etc. These well-meaning services have the right idea, which is to allow everyone to contribute photos into a single album, then provide everyone access to the pictures when they want to check in on their own. But they all require you to have an account to contribute and/or to view the album. And that's really a pain, as you're asking all these frazzled, non-techie parents to try and maintain all these different accounts, many of which they'll only use once. What happens is that if they register, they only end up spreading their invariably re-used credentials across the digital world, then forgetting that they even have that account. (Of course, I know that you use a unique log-on and password for every site for which you have an account, right?) And then they wonder why they get all this spam in their e-mail for the next twelve years.

Well, this morning I heard about a service that really makes a lot of sense. allows you to create a photo album for an event and optionally password-protect it. You get to pick a unique web address and e-mail address for this event. Then when you ask people to send pictures, they can either e-mail them as attachments or upload them at that site. If it's not a protected album, they can also view the photos from the event at the address you picked. And the best part is, anyone can contribute. Nobody needs to register if all they want to do is contribute pictures and view public albums. And yogile also makes sure that any pictures added to your album are sent to you (the album creator), so you don't even have to remember to log on and check for new additions.

It looks like it's free for up to 100mb, and $24.95 per year if you want unlimited storage with an ad-free interface. Here's the summary of their service from their page:

•Lets multiple people contribute with ease.
•Add photos as e-mail attachments or uploads through the site.
•Customizable URL and e-mail address per album, to share with anyone who wants to add photos.
•No need for these users to register, keeping the process simple

So I haven't used it yet, but this is just the type of thing I've wished for in the past, so you can be sure that I will before too long. And I just wanted to share (and post it so I can remind myself of it when I do need it).

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