Social media for expats: Photo sharing

Social media for expats: Photo sharing

In a world of digital photography, nearly everyone has a camera capable of taking thousands of photos. Choosing which photos to share and on which medium to share them can be challenging.

What to share
As with blogging, events which seem mundane to you may be of great interest to your friends and family back home. You may walk past a multi-story bike rack every day, but in most other places in the world, that would be a strange sight. Think about the things that were fascinating to you when you first arrived (or are still fascinating to you now) and there is your subject material.

As an expat, you may have more opportunity to travel or travel to different places. Photos of your travels may be hugely popular with your loved ones at home, who are trying to stay abreast of your life, as well as with your new friends, who are looking for travel ideas for themselves.

Photo editing
Professional and amateur photographers alike edit their photos before posting them. Simple editing can allow you to remove red eye, crop photos, and improve colour contrast. If you’re a serious photographer or want to get into photography, it might be worth the investment to purchase Photoshop.

Photoshop is the gold standard of photo editing software but it comes with a hefty price tag. If you want the functionality of Photoshop but without the cost, try GIMP. Originally released only for Linux operating systems, GIMP is now available for Windows and Mac. Since GIMP is open-source software, it’s free.

If you want something less complicated, Picasa may be the right choice. Picasa isn’t capable of the same complex editing as other photo editing products, but it’s straightforward to use and likely offers enough functionality for your holiday photos.

Some quick tips to keep in mind:
› Be sure to properly rotate your photos so they don’t appear sideways or upside down in a slideshow.
 Remove duplicate photos; no one wants to see fifteen slightly different angles of the Eiffel Tower.
› Be sure to include yourself and your family in photos. While the monuments and scenery may be of most interest to you, your family may be more interested in actually seeing you.

Where to share
Whether you want to share the photos of your holiday, newly purchased home, or rapidly growing children, you have plenty of options.

Picasa is Google’s photo sharing site. It is integrated with their social networking site, Google Plus. With Picasa, you automatically get 1GB of storage space and you can purchase between 25GB and 1TB, if needed. If you upgrade, your Gmail storage will also be upgraded.

Everyone can view your photos without logging in if you make your photos publicly available. Alternatively, you can set your photos to private. One of the best perks of Picasa is the free photo editing software.

Flickr offers two types of accounts, Free and Pro. Free account users are allowed to upload 300 MB of photos and two videos per month. While you can upload as many photos as you want, you can only view the most recent 200 photos.

Pro accounts allow users to upload an unlimited number of images and videos every month and receive unlimited bandwidth and storage. As with Picasa, Flickr offers several privacy options.

Less popular than Picasa or Flickr, Snapfish requires a membership to view photos, so people would have to register for a free account to view your photos. Snapfish does offer users unlimited storage, however.

Unlike other photosharing sites, the company sells photo products such as prints, photo books, cards and mugs. If your parents love a photo of the grandkids, they can order a print of it directly off of the site.

Like Snapfish, you generally have to have a Facebook account to view photos, though this depends on your personal privacy settings. Even the public photo albums, however, aren’t easy to locate or view. But if most of your contacts are already on Facebook, this may not matter to you.

Facebook has unlimited storage and allows users to include 1.000 photos per album. As with many social media sites, access may be limited in certain countries. Facebook is blocked in China, for example.

If you’ve got a real eye for aesthetics and want to share your photos in a creative way, consider Pinterest. Pinterest is a social photo sharing site that allows users to create an electronic pinboard and share their own images or those of others.

 Self hosting
If you’re a bit tech savvy and have a lot of photos to share, consider setting up a very basic website with your photo albums. Self hosted Wordpress.Org sites can cost less than upgrading your Picasa or Flickr accounts and also allow you to personalise your site.

Mobile photo sharing sites
As the camera quality in our mobile phones has improved, a number of sites allowing users to easily share photos from cell phones have been developed. The idea is not to share large photo albums, but an occasional single photo. Most social networking sites, such as Facebook and Google Plus, allow you to share photos from your phone.

Twitpic is a popular and simple service which allows you to share photos via Twitter. If you’re looking for something a little more creative, consider Instagram, which allows users to customise photos before sharing.

How do you share your photos? Do you find photo sharing helpful for keeping in touch with your family and friends?

Molly  Quell


Molly Quell

I'm an American expat living in the Netherlands, working as a social media consultant and writer. When I’m not working, I cook, bake, play softball, and hang out with my...

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