8 Ways to Share Photos and Videos Privately With Your Family
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If you have folders full of photos and videos that you want to share with your family, you have more ways than ever to distribute them.

But what is the best way to share photos with your loved ones? Keep reading to learn more.

1. Facebook

facebook share photo

Facebook has many faults, but it remains one of the best ways to share your photos.

Perhaps the most significant positive for Facebook is its ubiquity. With 2.5 billion users, almost everyone in your family will have an account, even if they’re not heavily engaged with the network.

The ubiquity makes sharing photos fast and easy; you can create a private album and share it with other users in seconds. There’s no messing around with email addresses, and no problem with trying to get the “tech illiterate” members of your family to adapt to an unknown app.

You can upload as many photos as you wish and can share them with as many users as you want.

On the flip side, Facebook’s privacy issues are well-documented. Today, many people feel grossly uncomfortable with sharing their personal data—photos included—with the network. You will have to decide where you stand on the issue.

2. Cloud Storage Services

google drive share photos

Another way to share photos online privately is to use a cloud storage service. Three primary services dominate the landscape: Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox.

Google Drive provides all users with 15GB of storage for free. OneDrive offers 5GB, and Dropbox offers 2GB. The cheap anytime-anywhere access can be the best way to share photos with family.

Each of the services allows you to create a folder, upload the photos you want to share with your family, then either share the folder on a user-by-user basis or by using a sharable link. You need to know the email address of the person you want to share with.

3. Google Photos

google photos share photos

Google Photos has become a somewhat unique service. If you’re willing to let Google compress all your images to 16MP and all your videos to 1080p, you can upload as many photos as you like.

Pair those generous upload limits with Google Photos’ market-leading photo recognition algorithms, and you’ve got yourself a powerful tool.

For example, if you want to share photos of a past family event or a specific photo, the Google Photos search tool can easily find it. Just type something like “family with Santa in Finland,” or “Baby Frank’s christening” and the matching images will appear instantly.

Google Photos also lets you set up shared libraries with a partner and share private photo folders with an unlimited number of users.

4. Instant Messaging Apps

The three ways to share photos that we’ve looked at so far are all geared mainly to sharing many photos at the same time. They are less well-suited to quick snaps and short family videos. In those cases, it’s best to turn to an instant messaging app.

Many people will instinctively reach for WhatsApp, but it’s not the best instant messaging service for sharing photos. It only lets you send 30 images in one go, and each image/video is restricted to 16MB in size.

In contrast, Telegram lets you share files up to 1.5GB. You could use the service to send high-resolution 4K images if you really needed to.

5. Flickr

In recent years, Flickr has become increasingly aimed at professional photographs. Free users only get 1,000 free photo uploads; thereafter, you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro plan for $6.99/month.

However, if you’ve ever paid to have a professional family photoshoot, there’s a good chance that the photographer will use Flickr to share the digital copies of the photos with you. As such, Flickr deserves a place on our list.

Some of its features include photo editing tools and organizational tools. Pro users also get auto-backups, stats, and an ad-free experience.

6. AirDrop

If you live in a family of Apple users, it’s hard to beat AirDrop for ease of sharing. Like the instant messaging apps, it is better suited for sending a single or a small number of photos, rather than for sharing massive folders.

You can use AirDrop to beam photos, albums, events, journals, slideshows and more, making it not only one of the best tools for sharing photos, but also for sharing memories of entire family experiences.

Remember, the more photos you send via AirDrop, the longer it will take. For the best performance, make sure the two devices are as close to each other as possible.

7. WeTransfer

wetransfer share photos

Some web apps specialize in letting you send many photos and videos to your family.

One of the leading services in the field is WeTransfer. It lets you share 2GB of photos (and other data) for free. You don’t even need to make an account.

Of course, there are a few restrictions. For example, the content you share is only available for your family to download for seven days, and you can only add up to three email addresses to share the photos with.

If you want to remove the restrictions, you’ll need to sign up for WeTransfer Plus. The data limit increases to 20 GB. WeTransfer Plus costs $12 per month.

(Note: WeTransfer is also one of the best ways to share your home movies with family and friends The 4 Best Sites to Share Videos Online With Family and Friends The 4 Best Sites to Share Videos Online With Family and Friends Have a personal video that you want to share with your family and friends? Here are the best ways to share private videos online. Read More .)

8. USB Memory Stick

Finally, you should never overlook a trusty USB memory stick. If you’re all in the same room and have the appropriate devices, it is by far the fastest and easiest way to share photos. You don’t need to hang around while the images upload to a web server.

If it’s for a special occasion, you could even buy a pack of cheap USB sticks and distribute them. You can buy 10 Mosdart 16GB drives for a few bucks on Amazon.

Which Is the Best Way to Share Photos?

Each of the methods we’ve looked at has its own pros and cons. Facebook is the most ubiquitous, Google Photos offers the best sharing and backup features, and WeTransfer is ideal for bulk transfers. Make sure you share your favorite method in the comments below.

And if you’d like to learn more about sharing files, make sure you read our other article on how to share files between Mac and Windows How to Easily Share Files Between Mac and Windows How to Easily Share Files Between Mac and Windows If you use both Windows and macOS, here's an easy way to transfer files from Mac to Windows and vice versa. Read More .

Explore more about: Dropbox, File Sharing, Google Photos, Online Privacy, Photo Sharing.

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  1. dragonmouth
    December 2, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    The most obvious way of PRIVATELY sharing photos/videos is not to put them online. Or if you want to use technology, put the pictures of a USB Stick or a memory card and exchange those with your friends/family.

  2. Gaurav Gulati
    August 16, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Hey Yaara,

    Good quick read.

    I'm working on IRememba - a safe, private place for families to come together. Born out of my own challenges, We're currently in Private Beta.

    Given our interest in Family Privacy, I would love to pick your brain.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Best,
    Gaurav Gulati
    Founder, IRememba

  3. Jeremy
    April 19, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    picshareparty.com allows you to easily collect pictures of your family and events into an online gallery by text message. No hashtag hassle or app download. Just texting. Super simple!

    • Gaurav Gulati
      August 16, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      Hey Jeremy

      Given our interest in Family Privacy, I would love to extend you an Early Access invite to IRememba.com.

      I'm founder of IRememba - a safe, private place for families to come together. Born out of my own challenges to share memories privately, organize, protect, and preserve over generations.

      We're currently in Private Beta, and would love to pick your brain to understand your biggest challenges.

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

      Best,
      Gaurav Gulati
      Founder, IRememba

  4. Jack
    October 30, 2017 at 10:55 am

    wretye5ryabcd.com

  5. Jack
    October 13, 2017 at 7:33 am

    wretye5ryabcd.com

  6. Jack
    October 11, 2017 at 5:06 am

    Thanks for this article. I will also like to mention that it can always be hard when you find yourself in school and starting out to initiate a long credit score. There are many scholars who are merely trying to pull through and have a lengthy or beneficial credit history can be a difficult thing to have.

    wretye5ryabcd.com

  7. Ann
    July 10, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    So I have parents that do not want to "download" anything on their computer. What is the best way to share photos with them? Trying to do it via email takes way too long and there has to be a better way for them to access photos without having to download some program, set up an account...etc. They are older and I am just trying to keep it very simple for them.

    ANY suggestions would be great!!

    • Gaurav Gulati
      August 16, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      Hey Ann,

      Very valid points, and you're not alone. What you mentioned, has also always been one of my challenges with my parents - not wanting to download, sharing privately, e-mails, texts etc.

      After having no luck with a great private solution for my family, I took matters in my own hands, and created IRememba.

      Given our interest in Family Privacy, I would love to extend you an Early Access invite to IRememba.com.

      I'm founder of IRememba - a safe, private place for families to come together. Born out of my own challenges to share memories privately, organize, protect, and preserve over generations.

      We're currently in Private Beta, and would love to pick your brain to understand your biggest challenges.

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

      Best,
      Gaurav Gulati
      Founder, IRememba

  8. Anonymous
    June 10, 2015 at 10:58 am

    I just had a look at a new private photo sharing app sherish.com and felt it is too good, any one else tried it out?

    • Anonymous
      June 16, 2015 at 6:57 pm

      hey Nieck, i used it few days back.. its good .but they don't have any android app and it becomes difficult because i have android phone and most of my clicks are on pone but then i can do it using browser . but the application is good tough . it organises all photo perfectly ,can even import from facebook and other social media sites ...overall its very very good ...with an android app .. it will be perfect app for photo Management

      • Gaurav Gulati
        August 16, 2018 at 5:27 pm

        Thanks for sharing your views on sherish. I didn't know about this one.

        And I totally understand the lack of user experience working with web apps. However, assuming that they're a startup, it is very expensive to build full spectrum apps, without any real traction.

        I can say that because founder of IRememba - a safe, private place for families to come together. Born out of my own challenges to share memories privately, organize, protect, and preserve over generations.

        founder of IRememba - a safe, private place for families to come together. Born out of my own challenges to share memories privately, organize, protect, and preserve over generations.

        We're currently in Private Beta, with a web app being rolled out.

        Given our interest in Family Privacy, I would love to extend you an Early Access invite to IRememba.com.

        Looking forward to hearing from you.

        Best,
        Gaurav Gulati
        Founder, IRememba

  9. joe
    March 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    noooo

  10. Shahbaz Amin
    December 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks!!
    I like the idea of sharing a dropbox folder with a FB friend but I wouldn't do it due to FB's stupid ads thingies..

    • Gaurav Gulati
      August 16, 2018 at 5:46 pm

      Hey Shahbaz,

      Might I ask how you share privately with your family?

      I'm founder of IRememba - a safe, private place for families to come together. Born out of my own challenges to share memories privately, organize, protect, and preserve over generations.

      Given our interest in Privacy, I would love to extend you an Early Access invite to IRememba.com.

      We're currently in Private Beta, and would love to pick your brain to understand your biggest challenges.

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

      Best,
      Gaurav Gulati
      Founder, IRememba

  11. Henry Ward
    December 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Not bad. What about PIcasa?

    • Yaara Lancet
      December 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      As I explained in one of the comments above, I found the new Google+ interface confusing and not very trustworthy with non-Google users, or even not very tech savvy users, so I didn't include it. It's still an option, of course.

  12. Timothy Clark
    November 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    No Bitcasa mention? Awesome unlimited cloud service with many features!

    http://l.bitcasa.com/fWivujxT

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 18, 2012 at 6:48 am

      Thanks!

  13. Rufusgrey
    November 12, 2012 at 9:25 am

    FACEBOOK
    I value privacy too much and wouldn't trust or touch Facebook with a bargepole.

    WEE WEB
    My kids are now adults

    SHARYPIC
    Events occur once in a blue moon

    GOOGLE DRIVE
    Never connected from the first day of numerous installations. Google support doesn't exist other than redirecting to a forum to find hundreds of others with the same problem but no solution. Even if it did work recipients must have a Google account which is not always practical or desired.

    DROPBOX
    Have got dropbox but despite following all instructions cannot 'get a link'

    PICASA
    Tried in the past but it insists upon dis-organising all of my photo's when Faststone has already organised them to my requirements and satisfaction.

    All I require as a retiree residing overseas is a means to privately post photo's online somewhere to keep in touch and up to date with family and friends back home without the need for them to install anything but able to simply view with a link. Is that task too simple for today's technology?

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      I think your best bet is Dropbox. If you have the latest version of the client installed, you should see the option to get a public link. What version of Dropbox are you using?

      • Rufusgrey
        November 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

        I abandoned Dropbox a while back but may take another look plus some others new to me mentioned here. Thanks

    • Gaurav Gulati
      August 29, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      Rufusgrey,

      I understand that I'm responding to a 6yo post, however, your analysis is spot on, and still holds true after 6yrs. The state of personal, and family Privacy, has only gotten worse over the years. I have a 6yo daughter today, and I struggeled with all these challenges myself, especially after she was born, and I only wanted to privately share the memories with my family, and loved ones.

      After having no luck with a great private solution for my family, I took matters in my own hands, and created IRememba.

      Having found no good way to do it, I decided to take matter into my own hands, and IRememba was born - a safe, private place for families to come together. Born out of my own challenges to share memories privately, organize, protect, and preserve over generations.

      Given our interest in Family Privacy, I would love to extend you an Early Access invite to IRememba.com.

      We're currently in Private Beta, and would love to pick your brain to understand your biggest challenges.

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

      Best,
      Gaurav Gulati
      Founder, IRememba

  14. Jim Spencer
    November 12, 2012 at 8:55 am

    DropBox has become my default method for sharing what I want to share, and they make it so easy! Thank you for another couple of choices, but Facebook is the last one I would use for sharing!

  15. Brian
    November 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I use Google drive to share pictures. It can be a bit slow to upload the pics but the price is right--FREE.

  16. MT C
    November 10, 2012 at 4:37 am

    You really shouldn't have left a few things out of this article. Like who claims they own what when you post anything on their site. Most of the cloud methods/sites don't claim your postings as theirs to do with, I guess that just hasn't evolved yet. But places like G+ do with their all in one ToA's.

    Also, no mention that there are any other cloud places that allow 'private collaboration' when in fact, everyone of them (with the exception of G+) do in some way, shape or form. AND The Box is currently, in my humble opinion as I am not as expert as you guys are, the best deal with 5 gig of storage/collaboration free. And they have tons of free aps available for doing just about anything, including photo editing that most could possible want.

    Again, I find your daily articles to contain things of interest and this is another one with good information. However, when you indicate that these are the only four choices by by omitting that there are lots of others, you maybe leading some of your readership astray. But for other readers, not having many choices is exactly what they want/need.

    MT C

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 12, 2012 at 7:02 am

      Thanks for the feedback. I agree with most of what you said, and in no way did I mean to indicate that these four options are the ONLY options out there. The title says "4 ways to share..". It's not "The only 4 ways in the world to share...".

      These are 4 ways I like and think are good. Wanting to know about other options is the reason I asked for other recommendations in the comments, and got some very good ones.

      Thanks for mentioning Box, great option too!

  17. Jon Smith
    November 10, 2012 at 1:01 am

    I still just email all my photos, which is easier for me.

  18. Angelique Salas
    November 10, 2012 at 12:15 am

    There is also Cozi (www.cozi.com)....there is also a family organizer, calendar, locator and much more! We've been using it for years and it's worked great!

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 12, 2012 at 6:59 am

      Nice, thanks!

  19. np
    November 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    FYI for those who are more paran... *ahem* security conscious, Dropbox also carries some risk as they still have decrypted access to your files. There was a little fiasco over a year ago and they amended their ToS to accurately reflect this.

  20. Shmuel Mendelsohn
    November 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I'm not that concerned about others seeing my photos, but then again most of what I have is pictures of my kids and grandkids!

  21. George Miles
    November 9, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Why didnt you mention yahoo groups for photo sharing
    which is far more controllable than facebook
    and has been around for a very long time
    http://groups.yahoo.com/mygroups

  22. george
    November 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Why didnt you mention yahoo groups for photo sharing
    which is far more controllable than facebook
    http://groups.yahoo.com/mygroups

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 12, 2012 at 6:58 am

      Well, because I haven't used Yahoo in about 12 years. :) Nice to know about this one, thanks!

  23. John Shalack
    November 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    My current favorite is Picassa (http://picasa.google.com/)

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 12, 2012 at 6:58 am

      Don't you find it annoying that it's now switched to the Google+ interface. I stopped using it since they made this switch.

  24. Chaos Emperor
    November 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks i hate it when someone see what i posted only for my family

  25. Benjamin Tiessen
    November 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I can't believe you left out http://www.liveshare.com by cooliris! That by far is the best way to collaboratively share images with your family! Create albums for free and share then with anyone by email! Its fantastic!

    Web Based, Android, iphone etc! All apps!

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 12, 2012 at 6:57 am

      Good one! I've seen it before, but didn't look at it for this post. Thank you!

  26. Jason
    November 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    What about Google+? I'm just starting to try it out, but it seems fairly nice for creating small groups and sharing photo albums. Do you know of any shortcomings with that system, before I completely commit to it?

    • MT C
      November 10, 2012 at 4:45 am

      Yes. A biggie! Read the ToA and you will find that Google claims all rights to anything you post. They can do as they wish, meaning make a killing off the photos of your cute kid without consideration to you or your family's welfare. Which may lead to your real name and eventually to some smurkhead getting your address and bothering your family and your kid or worse. Not a good idea in my book, but seems a lot of folks just don't care about their privacy any more. And Google certainly doesn't! Nor FB or any other site that doesn't give you exclusive rights to your own material. Be sure to read the ToA and ask yourself questions about what you are reading, the answers can surprise you.

      MT C

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 12, 2012 at 6:56 am

      Hi Jason,

      What MTC says below is technically true, also for Facebook. The reason i didn't include Google+, though, is because I don't like its interface, and I've had problems with it with people who don't have a Google+ account.

      Picasa Web used to be my go-to solution for sharing pictures with my family, it was very easy for them and for me since I use Picasa anyway. And then they went and changed the whole thing to Google+. Now the interface is confusing for the less tech-savvy people in my family, and doesn't even work for some of them for no apparent reason.

      By all means, you are welcome to try it, and it does offer a nice solution, but it didn't work for me, so it didn't make this list.

      • Jason
        November 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm

        Thanks for the replies, Yaara and MTC. Here's my thinking, if anyone's interested:

        Regarding privacy/security- most online photo storage solutions I would consider do have those sticky rights issues, but I consider it a calculated risk. "Smurkheads" (love the term) exist regardless of where I put my photos, but I consider that low risk because of its low probability. I prefer G+ over Facebook in this regard because the sharing settings seem easier to follow, in my opinion. It seems easier to share with the right "circles" (G+) than the right "custom group" (Facebook), and easier to manage those circles.

        Regarding accessibility/technical savviness- I'm dealing with the VCR-flashing-12:00 demographic, so it feels like "in for a penny, in for a pound." If I'm going to do online photo sharing at all, I'd rather use a system I'm already familiar with, and I do use the Google universe of apps fairly regularly. Heck, I've even set up a few Google accounts for family members, complete with "here's how to use G+ to see my photo albums" instructions. It would be equally difficult for me to explain any other sharing system.

        I hope that helps with anyone else choosing a photo sharing system. You might weigh the variables differently than me, those are the ones I weighed.

        • Yaara Lancet
          November 13, 2012 at 5:27 pm

          If you have the patience to do that for the G+ interface, it's a good way to share. It's not that it's THAT complicated, but I prefer the simplicity of Dropbox, where no one needs to have any kind of account to view my photo albums, and even my grandmother can use the interface.

          All in all, they're all good options. Thanks for the comment!

  27. Anonymous
    November 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    This is useful - thanks!!

  28. Bertski
    November 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    People should keep in mind when they share photos on facebook, they give facebook the right to do anything they want with those photos in perpetuity. If you like to retain ownership of your photos, or at least have some control over them, you might want to think twice about sharing them on facebook.

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 12, 2012 at 6:54 am

      True enough!

  29. Eric Gay
    November 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I know a couple of very security-conscious families that are going to perk up at the idea of Wee Web. Thanks.

  30. Scott Magdalein
    November 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Shameless plug: I built PicDigest (picdigest.com) to do something similar to this, although it plugs into Facebook and/or Instagram so it's not *exactly* the same.

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 12, 2012 at 6:53 am

      Thanks, Scott. PiCDigest looks interesting, I'll take a look at it.

  31. Damien
    November 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    You may use a service call Wagapi.com. It is very efficient and based in France

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 12, 2012 at 6:53 am

      Nice, never heard of this one. Thanks!

  32. Thierry
    November 9, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I use minus.com you can save what ever file you want and share the link in privage

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 12, 2012 at 6:52 am

      Oh yes, minus is a great option. Thanks!

  33. Mac Witty
    November 9, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I use Sugarsync for sharing photos as there is more options what friends can do and not do

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 12, 2012 at 6:52 am

      I tried Sugarsync for a while a few years ago and didn't really get along with it. I bet its improved a lot, I should give it a spin again. Thanks!

  34. Paul Harris
    November 9, 2012 at 4:55 am

    I lucked out with Skydrive and got 25 Gb of storage. I have been sending links to friends and family to slideshows, videos, etc. with great success. It works very well.

  35. Nikhil Chandak
    November 9, 2012 at 4:01 am

    thanks for the article

  36. Terafall
    November 9, 2012 at 3:44 am

    What about for Instagram?

    • Yaara Lancet
      November 9, 2012 at 7:46 am

      I'm not sure what you mean when you say "for Instagram". I can try to help if you clarify. :)

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid
        November 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm

        I think he meant 'what about instagram?"

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid
        November 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm

        Dropbox is the easiest,I think, since most of us alrwady have an account ready. All sites featured are interesting in their own right. Thank you!

  37. Félix S. De Jesús
    November 9, 2012 at 2:03 am

    Thank You!!

    • Shumi
      November 9, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      Google+ + Picasa program, which has face recognition, it's a very good experience to upload and share your photos. I'm in process of uploading all my photos on g+, and using picasa is quite easy to put them online and share them with the ones that are in the those albums.