When I want to share private family photos, I rarely use Instagram, because I find in the long run that iPhoto is still one of the most useful ways to manage and share many of my most cherished pictures. iPhoto 9 has a few elegant free options for both sharing photos and making sure they are still around for years to come. If you’re not a heavy user of iPhoto, you may not know about its email collage feature, and its built-in integration with the popular photo sharing site, Flickr and Facebook.
These features are useful especially for sharing photos privately with family and close friends. But rather than dropping a set of photos in an email, you can create a better email presentation with iPhoto’s collage email. And if you need a quick way to offload important photos from say your iPhone, setting up a few private albums on Flickr and a Facebook account are useful options.
In iPhoto you can select several photos (I suggest no more than 5 or 6 at a time) and click on Share > Email, and iPhoto will assemble your collection into an attractive collage. You can even email the photos from within iPhoto itself.
This sharing feature contains 10 different collages – from the normal classic display, to Corkboard, Announcement, and Postcard themes. You can click on the different collages to see which one fits best the content of your photos.
One of the things you want to keep in mind, however, when emailing photos is the size of the email. Notice at the bottom of the collage editor, iPhoto by default also attaches your selected photos to the email so they can be downloaded by the recipients and either saved to their computer and/or printed. However, depending upon how many photos you select, it may make the email too large to send out.
So here you have a couple of options – you can deselect the “Attach photos to message” box, which will make the email smaller. The recipient will only receive the collage in which the photos are downsized; only the collage itself can be saved from the email. The smaller size, however, will not be big enough for printing.
If you want recipients to able to download the photos as well, you can attach them, and then choose a size to optimize them for emailing. While Gmail messages can receive messages up to 25MB, larger size attachments may be limited for recipients who use other email services with smaller attachment limits. You most likely are sending photos to the same people on a regular basis, so eventually you will get an idea of what the limit will be. Sending both the collage and the attachments is better because the recipient can download the attached photos.
Flickr & Facebook Integration
Another useful way to share photos from within iPhoto is using iPhoto’s integration with Flickr and Facebook. You can set up one or both accounts in iPhoto Preferences. iPhoto will sync and download your photos from social network accounts and place them in a folder. Afterwards, you can easily add photos to your accounts from within iPhoto.
One of the reasons I suggest using these online websites is that they are a great way to export photos taken with your iPhone and iPad camera.
While Apple’s Photo Stream also puts your iOS created photos in the cloud, I have found that I might go a few months without opening iPhoto and copying those photos from my Photo Stream to my iPhoto library, which is what you have to do before they are removed from Photo Stream.
I’ve set up a couple of private folders in my account in which I use the Flickr iPhone app to upload private family and friends photos. This setup provides an instant backup online of selected iPhone photos, and it enables me to import them into my iPhoto library whenever I want. I can also share my photos with friends and family who don’t have an iPhone.
As shown above, you can set the level of public and private settings for selected photos from within the app. You can also go into your Flickr account and create Sets (a.k.a folders) and then then click on the “No privacy/SafeSearch filter” drop-down to set your privacy settings.
Unfortunately you can’t set privacy settings for your Flickr and Facebook accounts from within iPhoto, but both sites are still convenient for sharing and backing up your memorable shots.
It’s hard to know if Apple will ever overhaul iPhoto as it did iMovie, but for now it is still a useful way to manage and share your photo collection. Let us know what you think of iPhoto and what features you use the most. Also, check out our directory of iPhoto related articles for more ideas.