Make an online photo album

How to create an online photo album.
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  • Updated:13 May 2008

01.Organise your photos

Please note: this information was current as of May 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market.

One of the advantages of digital photography is that your photos no longer have to be locked away within a physical photo album.

As digital images, you can transfer and copy them to other devices, send them in emails, and even create online photo galleries ­— allowing you to share photos with friends and family all around the world.

And it’s a lot easier than it sounds. If you have a digital camera and an internet connection, you’re already half way there. All you need is to prepare your photos, then find an image-hosting website to upload them to.

Fine print

Be sure to read your photo sharing site’s terms and conditions before signing up. Some sites may include a clause that waives your ownership rights to uploaded content, essentially allowing your photos to be used for marketing purposes.

Sort your snaps

The first step is to transfer your photos from your camera to your computer. For users with Windows XP the easiest way is as follows: 

Connect your camera to your computer with a USB cable. Windows XP will then detect your camera, and ask you what you want to do. Select Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard. When the Wizard opens, click Next, select the images you want to transfer to your computer, click Next, type a name for this group of pictures, and then choose where you would like to save them. Choose Next to begin the transfer process.

For Mac users, using iPhoto or Image Capture will assist in transfering your photos in a similar manner.

Once your photo files have been copied to your computer, you can browse your photos through Windows Explorer or Mac OS X’s Finder. Once your photos have transferred to your computer, you may want to delete them from your camera’s memory card to save space.

Image software

Before uploading your photos to an online album you may want to clean them up and reduce their size (or even change image format) so they are easier to upload and view online. See Preparing your images below.

Windows XP comes with Paint, which although basic, will allow you to rotate images and save them in a compressed format such as JPEG or PNG. However, for more flexibility and control you could get GIMP, a free open-source image manipulation program.

Windows Vista comes with Windows Photo Gallery, a useful photo organisational tool that also allows you to manipulate images, including applying red-eye reduction. Mac users with iLife can use iPhoto to sort and edit their photos.

For our guide we will be using GIMP, as everyone can install this, even Mac users (see

Step by step: Preparing your images


Step by step: Uploading to an album

An online photo album is a website that allows you to easily store, categorise and view your images. Some photo sharing sites on the internet offer their services for free, though the functions are often quite basic. Premium subscription-based accounts offer more storage space and sometimes reduced advertising.

There are plenty of sites to choose from (see Free image hosting below), but for the purpose of this guide, we'll focus on Photobucket.

Step 1


Surf to and set up an account.

Step 2


Once your account is active, you will be taken to a page where you can upload your photos. Click Browse to search your computer for pics you'd like to upload. If you have a large collection, select Bulk Uploader. Your browser will ask if you'd like to install the bulk uploader application. You can also add a description to each photo here.

Step 3


Once your photo are uploaded you can organise them by creating sub-albums. To do this, type a name in the sub-album field (located in the top left corner of the My Album page) and click Save. Now click the Move link above your photo, and choose the sub-album you'd like to move it to. Done!

Step 4

Photobucket accounts are set as public by default, however they can also be password-protected. To make your account private, click Account Options on the top right corner of the page, then Edit my album settings.

Friends and family can access your album by searching for your username on the Photobucket homepage.

Jargon buster

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a common image format on the internet. It offers high compression at the expense of some image quality.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) is used for professional printing and publishing. These files are usually significantly larger in file size than JPEG and therefore generally not suitable for use for display on the internet.

BMP (Bitmap) is an older format primarily used for very basic graphics. This file format is known for its large file sizes, and as a result, it is rarely used on the internet.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is better suited for graphics rather than photos. While it is still a commonly used format on the internet, it is generally better suited for smaller images, icons or animations that use less than 256 colours.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics) was designed to be an alternative to the GIF format, which carries a patented compression scheme. PNG files are patent and licence free, however unlike GIF, PNG files don’t support animation.

Lossy compression reduces data size by decreasing image quality. The extent of quality loss is variable, with higher compression levels having the greatest impact on quality.

Lossless compression reduces the data size of an image while still maintaining the same picture quality. This compression type doesn’t compress data to the same degree as lossy compression, but preserves image quality.

Free image hosting

Try these websites:

My Photo Album
Google Picasa
Kodak Gallery

Fine print

Be sure to read your photo sharing site’s terms and conditions before signing up. Some sites may include a clause that waives your ownership rights to uploaded content, essentially allowing your photos to be used for marketing purposes.



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