Share and share alike? Not when it comes to sharing photos! The goal of this article is to stimulate some thinking about why and how you share your digital photos. As has been seen numerous times in the U.S. political arena, your photo-sharing decisions can critically affect your career, your friendships, and your family relationships. If you exercise particularly poor judgment, you might even risk being permanently snubbed from any or all of the above. In the following paragraphs we examine the different types of photos and considerations for sharing them.
A key question to ask yourself is, “would your mother appreciate or enjoy the photo?” This is a good barometer for determining whether a photo should be shared at all! A second question is, “would your employer take issue with this photo?” If the answer to the first is NO, or the answer to the second is YES, it’s a safe bet that your interests as far as maintaining positive family relations and remaining gainfully employed are best served keeping this photo as private as possible. This particular photo may be best kept in your private library and not shared at all. If you feel it is necessary to share, then you could email the photo to a select group of friends. The cautionary note is that you need a high level of trust in these friends that they will not put the photos out on the public web-waves. Again, how often do we have to see examples of people getting into big trouble because they let the wrong photo make its way into the public domain (again, think U.S. politicians…). You would hate to lose a good friend, family relationship or your job over a silly photo.
Another question to consider is whether the photos include people or are they artistic in nature, such as a “sunset over beach” photo. Artistic shots lend themselves more readily to a wide public forum, unless of course you are worried about people stealing your shots for other purposes. It is important to review the terms and conditions for sharing photos when uploading to public sites. You’ll want to be aware of how they handle ownership and copyright. When you upload photos to some sites, you forego any rights you have to the photo. In some cases you explicitly give them the right to use the photo for their own purposes.
Another factor to be considered in this age of online photo-sharing, is whether or not your “people” shots should include name tags on the faces? Generally, the answer would be yes. If you are sharing the photos privately with friends and family, it is more enjoyable for them to be able to see the names of subjects in the photo (or at least have the option to see the names). Tags are also helpful for automating the organization of your photos with certain photo management software applications.
Another consideration is photo resolution. How important is the resolution of the shared photo? If the photo is a “throw away” and you want to share quickly, a low-resolution copy is good enough. There are a number of relatively new mobile photo-sharing services available for this type of quick-sharing task. If you are sharing via email, you will definitely want to lower the resolution, since email systems typically limit the size of attachments. If your goal is to share you photo, yet maintain its high resolution – very important if the recipient would like to use that photo for quality output like a poster, larger prints, glossy photo books, etc. – you will want to use software such as Fotobounce that allows for peer-to-peer transfers of full-resolution photos. There are also some “paid” photo-sharing services that allow you to upload high-resolution photos. The type of photos you find on large social networks have typically been reduced in resolution and would not serve any purpose other than viewing on the mobile or desktop computer screen.
This leads us to another important photo-sharing consideration. Do you plan on keeping the photo(s)? If the photo has short- or long-term importance, you need to put the photo into a desktop photo organizer such as Fotobounce, iPhoto or Picasa. It is important to index important photos as quickly as possible into an album and add any special captions or tags. We strongly suggest that you use the face recognition feature of these software tools to assign “tags.” Your photo library becomes infinitely more enjoyable and entertaining when you can immediately locate photos of individuals and/or groups of people using these tags.
Do you want friends and family to have their own copy of the photo? This serves two purposes: 1. they will have their own full-resolution copy and; 2. it will act as a backup for your photos – especially important if you have not been practicing proper computer etiquette and taking regular backups of your computer’s data. Fotobounce allows you to push or pull photos to and from your friends and family members.
Finally, will you be viewing the photos on a desktop computer, tablet or mobile device? If you are viewing photos remotely, you have several options. You can upload photos to a public website where they are potentially exposed to unintended viewers, or you can sync your mobile device with the photos and carry them around, or you can use Fotobounce Viewer to securely browse your photos remotely. The Fotobounce Viewer connects to your desktop Fotobounce library via bank-level encryption to enable secure remote browsing from various mobile devices.
One of the key reasons we take photos in the first place, is to capture a moment we want to remember and share with others. We certainly aren’t promoting that you stop connecting with friends and family through photo sharing, we are encouraging you to do so wisely and we hope we’ve provided some helpful information as you navigate these tricky photo-sharing waters. At the least, perhaps we’ve helped you steer clear of potential reputation and relationship-damaging photo faux pas.
Author: Ray Ganong, President, Applied Recognition Inc.