Using Your Own Web Space for Sharing Digital Photos

Whether your ISP provides the space for free or you've enlisted a paid host to provide you space for your own domain, you can use your Web space to store and display photos that you want to share with friends, family, customers, and business associates.

Be kind to your Web site visitors: You can save your image recipients' time, hard drive space, and aggravation by creating a single repository for all the images you want to share. You're also making it much easier for yourself to keep an up-to-date selection of images available to all who want to see them, so the Web option is a win-win proposition.

Putting the images online requires a series of simple steps:

1. Prepare your photos for use on the Web by opening them in a photo editing program, such as Photoshop Elements, and saving them in a Web-safe format.

Two formats that all Web browsers can deal with are GIF and JPEG. JPEG is best for photos because it supports the multitude of colors and shading within the images.

2. Set up the Web page where you want to display the images.

You can use a variety of graphical tools to design the page (Microsoft FrontPage, Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe GoLive) or you can create a page by writing HTML code. If you're using an ISP's free Web space, the ISP gives you step-by-step procedures for creating a Web page, and the software does most of the work for you.

3. Upload the Web page and the images.

This is typically done with FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software. If you're using AOL or your ISP, it might provide an Upload page that loads both the Web page you set up and the images you want to display.

4. Visit the page online to see how it looks.

You always want to check your page online (using multiple Web browsers, if possible) to see whether it's okay before you send people there to see your images.

If you want to make changes, open the Web page file on your computer, make the changes, and upload it again.

If you check your page online and you see red Xs (in Internet Explorer) or gray icons with a question mark (in Netscape Navigator) where images should be, this means that the browser can't locate the image that's supposed to be there. Check your Web page settings to make sure that you have the right pictures in the right places, and check to see that you've uploaded all the images to your host's Web server.

Before you share a batch of photos with the world, check the photos for anything you'd regret sharing with the rest of the population. You probably want to avoid sharing identifying features, such as addresses and people's last names, which may enable strangers to make undesired contact with you. Another thing to check for is embarrassing content. Going over the images with a very discriminating eye before you share them will pay off in the long run.

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