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Best Ways to Share Photos with Family and Friends

Best Ways to Share Photos with Family and Friends

Staying connected to loved ones can be increasingly difficult these days. Social distancing and travel restrictions have interrupted some of our most longed-for family get-togethers, leaving many to catch up through other means, such as sharing photos and letters. There are numerous ways to snap a pic and send it to loved ones, so which one should you use?

When you capture important milestones, consider our list and choose the best way to share photos with family that matches your personality and tech preferences.

1. Social media


When you take a photo of Baby’s first smash cake, where do you go first? For many, it’s social media, with Facebook and Instagram leading the others as the places families share the most. While this may be the easiest way to share photos online, there are limitations. Some people just aren’t comfortable putting their children’s faces online in such a public manner, while others avoid social media altogether.

If you do decide to share, use common sense before publishing. You can enforce private photo sharing with these tips:

  • Restrict the audience for each post to just your friends or connections. Consider creating a custom audience for your closest friends and family that excludes people from work, for example, then publish your photos only to this custom audience.
  • Look into creating a private and unlisted Facebook group with just your immediate family as members. Then, only share photos in this group.
  • Make your Instagram account private to only those who request access and you approve.

Avoid sharing private details of your child’s life, such as their full name or age and where they go to school. Some parents pick nicknames as an added layer of protection. Don’t allow Facebook or Instagram to automatically “tag” photos of your children in friends’ pictures, either. And don’t include photos with other children in them, unless their parents or guardians give you permission to do so.

2. Photo storage sites

Another option is to share your photos by first storing them on a public photo drive and then choosing how and when you want to share them. Drives made specifically for photos include Amazon, Google Photos, and Apple iCloud.

You may already use the Google or Apple services if your phone automatically backs up your data each day. If so, your photos will be on their drive services. To share from your cloud storage, select the photo or album you want to share and choose from the sharing options.

You can set up Amazon Photo to automatically back up photos from your computer or phone. It offers free unlimited storage and up to 5GB for Amazon Prime members.

When using these services, set your permissions to make photos private by default. Make it so that you have to actively click and set each photo or album to share. Or, better yet, use a share link that only you can give to family and friends. This will prevent accidentally making your photo albums public when you don’t intend to.

3. Cloud storage services

You may already use both Google One (formerly Google Drive), Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox to store your computer files and work documents. Did you know that you can also upload photos to a specific folder for the purpose of sharing?

By uploading a collection of photos to a folder and then changing that folder's settings, you can invite those you trust to access the photos. All 3 services offer free storage for the first few gigabytes of data. If you plan to store and share a lot of photos, you need to upgrade to a paid plan.

4. Photo album companies


Photo album companies like Shutterfly and Snapfish are good storage options for keeping photos accessible to loved ones. These sites helped start the online photo revolution and now offer photo sharing apps that let you order custom gifts, like T-shirts, mugs, and calendars.

For example, when image uploading, you can choose to share through email, a link, or social media. For the most privacy, use the email option. However, the person you give access to may need their own Snapfish account to view or order prints for the photos you shared.

Online photo storage is free, but you may be asked to order from time to time. The sites will also message you if you need to take action to keep your stored photos active. Prices range from a few dollars to $50 or more for custom gifts.

By using the Snapfish family album app you can print and receive up to 100 free photos each month. You just pay the shipping cost.

5. Flickr

One of the first notable image sharing websites, Flickr remains a popular option for everything from professional events to weddings. It currently hosts billions of photos and 2 million groups, and you can start your own group to share your special moments with just those you choose. It offers one of the best photo sharing app options, too.

Consumers get free image hosting, and Pro features – stats, ad-free viewing, and discounts on SmugMug memberships – are available at an additional cost. You can also find the Flickr app in the app store.

6. SmugMug

Do you need a hybrid photo storage and professional site? SmugMug and its picture-sharing app have a lot to offer and you can easily access them with different devices. Many pro photographers use this site to store their client work, then grant access for those clients to order prints and custom gifts.

It even has a portfolio and ecommerce website builder, domain services, watermark tool, and event management offerings, as well as a custom selling platform to help creators market and profit from their work. Those without career aspirations can still enjoy the most basic features with packages that start at $7 per month.

7. Printed photos


Not everyone is on Facebook, so how do you get them the latest baby pics? Send them good old-fashioned, hard-copy color photos, which can really make your most special moments stand out. Use some of the services above to print photos or work with your local photo processor.

You can also skip the store entirely by using your own HP color printer, which takes the guesswork and the wait out of getting your photos printed. From sharing whole albums or a single snap, these models are top choices.

HP ENVY Photo 7155 All-in-One printer


Print from just about any device with the versatile HP ENVY Photo 7155 printer. It sets up in minutes and delivers rich color on a variety of paper types. You can even insert an SD card and edit on the printer’s touch screen.

You can also print straight from your mobile device at a speed of up to 9 beautiful color pages per minute (ppm). It works over dual-band WiFi or Bluetooth.

HP ENVY Photo 7855 All-in-One printer


The HP ENVY Photo 7855 printer provides a faster output with up to 10 color ppm and lets you scan with your phone's camera before sending it off to print. It also boasts a USB slot for easy printing from a thumb drive. You can use the smartphone-style 2.7-inch color touch screen controls to edit prints and specify how many copies of each photo you want.

8. USB

While there are many online ways to share, storage sticks still have a purpose. When you need to back up and hand over hundreds or thousands of pics, this is an ideal way. Be sure you account for the total storage capacity you’ll need from a thumb drive, and look for one that’s already formatted to store photos and videos.


Photos have changed in resolution and novelty (filters, anyone?), but their importance in our lives is just as important as ever. Have a few of the above options at your disposal before a big event, like a wedding or graduation. It can take the hassle out of getting those photos off your phone or camera and into the hands of those you love the most.

About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.


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