Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Now everyone's a photographer

But are you sharing your iPhone photos with anyone but yourself?


Editor’s note: Because this series of posts is all about the iPhone and, to a lesser degree, about its interconnected siblings (iPad, iPod Touch, Mac computer), the following tips will be Apple-centric—Android and Blackberry users: sorry, but you’re on your own; my brain can only process so much.

Attend any photo-friendly event—as grandiose as a visit by the Pope, or as mundane as an award ceremony at your kid’s elementary school—and you won’t be able to escape the complete penetration of smart phones into the outstretched hands and arms of nearly everyone. Look into the crowd as the bicycles passed during the recent Tour de France, and you’ll see one real camera (defined as a camera that doesn't make phone calls) lost in a sea of a few hundred smart phones, each phone functioning as a still or video cameras-of the-moment, and doing an excellent job of it, to boot.

 Because a goodly percentage of these smart phones are iPhones, Apple has created a software world (often referred to as the Apple ecosystem) to allow you to easily share these photos with yourself across all of your Apple devices. This is facilitated by iCloud and the Photo Library on your iPhone, allowing your photos to be pushed to your other Apple devices, creating a tidy world for you to enjoy.

But with all this investment in capturing these high quality photos and videos with your phone’s camera, how many of us are taking the next step and actively sharing these photos with the wider world, other than occasional social media posts, text, or email?

For that, Apple has designed a shareable world to compliment its personal one.

One of these methods of photo sharing is called Family Sharing, but because this really goes beyond the scope of simple photo sharing, let’s delay the details of using this for a future post.

The most straightforward and useful method is to create a Shared Album in iCloud Photo Sharing

From your phone’s home screen tap Photos. When the photos app opens, tap Shared at the bottom of the screen which opens iCloud Photo Sharing. From here, click the plus (+) sign next to New Shared Album. At the prompt, give a name to the Shared Album that you are creating. In this example, let’s say that you want to use Hell in Hawaii. Tap Next. At the following prompt, enter your email address and tap Create, then tap on the Hell in Hawaii folder to open it.

At the bottom of the screen, tap Photos. Then, at the top left, tap the plus (+) sign. This will open your Photo Library and allow you to bore any chosen recipient silly with up to 5000 photos that can be added to your shared folder. Just tap on each photo you want to add. A white check mark on a blue back round will appear in the lower right hand corner for each photo you choose. Tap Done. A small window will pop up that prompts for any text that you might want to add to this album. Tap Post.

Once you have identified yourself as the only person to every dislike Hawaii (and you have added photos to your Hell in Hawaii folder to prove it), you need to share your rotten experience in paradise.
  
You could Invite People to subscribe to your shared folder by sending an email invitation, and this will allow each recipient to gain access to it.  A better way, though, is to make your folder Public—conditionally—allowing you to post a link to your Hell in Hawaii folder that resides on all of your Apple devices and in your iCloud.com account that only recipients will have access to. This link gives access to this folder and this folder alone, not to any other photos in your iCloud.com account.  

From your phone’s home screen, tap Photos. At the bottom of the next screen, tap Shared, then tap the folder you created to share (Hell in Hawaii, in our example). On the following screen, enable Public Website.  This will automatically create a link with a URL address to access your Hell in Hawaii folder. To copy the link, tap Share Link. Now, share that URL link to whatever venue you desire—website, email, social media, billboard—and whoever clicks on this link or enters it into a web browser will be able to access the photos in your Hell in Hawaii folder. They can even click Play to view them as a slide show.

There are a plethora of other ways to share in the Apple world, including Air Drop, but that, like Family Sharing, will just have to wait for another time.   

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