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Print Pictures Yourself or Have Them Processed Elsewhere?

Digital camera users are quick to learn that taking hundreds — or even thousands — of snapshots can be done at practically no cost. The real cost is in turning them into prints. Even with discount ink cartridges, having pictures printed by services such as FedEx Kinko or Costco can be cheaper than doing your own. It pays to compare.

However, using an outside service can add driving expenses to the total price. Well, you can save transportation costs by emailing your digital files to the various photo processors, who can then send the prints to you via US mail or a parcel service.

Another option is the do-it-yourself kiosks popping up in places like Target and your local drug store. You simply insert your camera's memory card into a slot and then choose the photos you want printed from an on-screen display. Many also have a scanner for digitizing conventional prints and a CD drawer for copying files from a disc. It can all be done while you wait.

As for emailing photos as attachments, all email programs have a paper-clip icon and/or an Attach button, which let you browse to the target photo(s). However, it's easier to find your pictures first (usually in your My Pictures folder) and right-click them, followed by choosing Send To>Email Recipient. If you're sending multiple photos, hold down Ctrl while left-clicking each. Then right-click the selection and follow the "Send To" drill. Limiting attachments to about six per email should work just fine.

Displaying Your Photos Online

I've been asked what's the best way to display one's photos online so they can be seen by friends and family around the world. To me, the ideal way is to have your own Web site. Although most ISPs offer subscribers free sites, along with help and templates for setting them up, many users are intimidated by the thought of dealing with HTML and other aspects of maintaining a personal home page.

Well, companies like Kodak used to promote "family photo" sites that allow you to simply upload the pictures and let them handle all the high-tech details.

Their hope in offering such free services was that you would end up buying glossy prints, leather-bound albums, and other goodies from them. However Kodak ended up filing for bankruptcy protection because they were late in realizing that the world was quickly moving away from film and photo paper to digital photography.

Nowadays, however, the Internet is awash in sites that invite you to upload photos, videos, artwork, and text messages of all kinds. Any teenager can tell you how this is done with Google+ or Facebook. The dozens of other "social networking" sites are too numerous to be listed here, but can be easily found by typing phrases like "free photo sites" or "how to upload my videos" into Google's Find box Google.com.

I believe the most popular is Flickr.com, where the main thrust appears to be displaying personal photos in a more or less traditional "postage stamp" view, whereupon a clicked thumbnail will display the full-sized picture. If someone knows of a better site, let me know and I'll be glad to tell about it here.

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