When my last computer's hard drive died on me, I lost most of my pictures in the My Documents folder. I was devastated. Luckily, I had some of my favorite pictures stored online. If I didn't have those photos online, I would've lost them all. Don't let this happen to you. Upload your pictures to an online photo website where they will be kept safely, while you can still share them with your friends and family.
Social Networking Web sites ( www.myspace.com , www.facebook.com )
A fun way to share your pictures is with MySpace and Facebook. I'm sure other social networking websites have the picture option, but I only have experience using MySpace and Facebook so far. If you already have an account, you have the ability to share your pictures with all of your friends on that website who also have an account. Both social networking sites allow you to upload your personal photos to albums. Then, your friends can view your pictures and leave comments about them. If you set your account to private, then only your friends are able to see your pictures.
Picture Trail ( www.picturetrail.com )
You get your own homepage for your pictures, free to join, create slideshows, many different ways to personalize your albums from page borders to background music, free photo editing and uploading software, customized image hosting for other websites, camera phone uploads, optional password protection
My Photo Album ( www.myphotoalbum.com )
Unlimited photo storage, free to join, ability to add videos, add multiple pictures at one time with the "easy upload" tools, personalize your albums and choose from hundreds of different album layouts, decide whether you want your albums to be public or private, camera phone uploads, order prints and photo keepsakes right off the website
Shutterfly ( www.shutterfly.com )
Free to join, save on shipping with the ability to pick up prints at Target stores, unlimited photo storage, prints start at 12 cents each for 4×6, create a photo book, create greeting cards, excellent wedding accessories like save-the-dates and invitations, order gifts like calendars, apparel, picture frames and more, free photo software, optional password protection
Snapfish ( www.snapfish.com )
A photo sharing and ordering website by Hewlett Packard, free signup with 20 free prints, 9 cent prints for 4×6 pictures, create personalized gifts, ability to earn free credits and free stuff from Snapfish, upload videos, add contacts to an address book for easy sharing of pictures, cheap shipping charges, unlimited albums
Photo Bucket ( www.photobucket.com )
Free to join, upload up to 10,000 pictures, image hosting service for other websites, upload videos, room for hours of video, share pictures on your MySpace, Facebook, or blog page, create slideshows, find and download pictures
Webshots ( www.webshots.com )
One of the most popular online photo sharing websites, free to join, share photos, get free wallpaper and screensavers from this site, download pictures, order prints and customized keepsakes, full screen slideshows, free software download, Webshots toolbar for Internet Explorer
Wal-Mart Digital Photo Center ( www.walmart.com)
Free to join, upload unlimited pictures, order prints and gifts, pictures can be delivered to your home or picked up at a Wal-Mart store, prints start at 9 cents each for 4×6, create group rooms where your friends and family can upload pictures to one specific private group, free software to upload pictures
I have used all of the above services for both print ordering and online photo storage. I haven't had a problem with any of the websites, and I will continue to use them. However, there are hundreds of other websites that you can use, not just the ones I reviewed. Right now, my main photo storage websites have been Picture Trail and Webshots, and I order my prints from either Walmart or Snapfish. Look around to see which website is for you, since they all have great features to offer to you. Don't worry about strangers viewing your pictures, since most of these websites offer password protection that only your friends and family need to know about. I recommend using password protection if you're able to do so. Once you have your pictures online, you can access them on any computer with internet access, and you won't have to worry about carrying a disc or USB drive around with you. Online photo albums are a great way to share pictures, and store them at the same time without having to worry about creating a backup.