One of the most popular ways to share digital images is by e-mail. You just write a message, attach or insert the image file, and send it to one or more recipients. E-mail has become so universal cell phones and personal digital assistants have integrated this feature into their products. Even a few cameras have tried building in e-mail capability so you could send images right from the camera. You're sure to see more of this.
There are two basic ways to include a photo in a message, as an attachment or an insert.
In the early days of computing, e-mail was as basic as you could get. A message could just contain letters, numbers, and a few symbols such as punctuation marks and dollar signs. Because it was so basic, the only way to send photos, or other files, was to attach them to the message—much like you'd paper clip a photo to a letter you were sending. When the e-mail arrived at the recipient's end, the attachment had to be opened to be viewed.
Almost all e-mail program's still have an Attach command somewhere on their menus. When you use this command, you then enter the name of the image file you want to attach, or browse to find it on your system. After you've attached the photo, you just click the Send command and the message with
the attached photo is on its way.
When an e-mail with an attachment arrives at the recipient's end, they can open the attachment to see the photo. At that point they can even save the photo so they can use it just like any other photo on their system.
The one big problem with attachments is that they can be used to spread viruses so many people have stopped opening them and some firewalls or filters block them.
Instead of attaching a photo, you can insert it right into the body of a message. When the recipient opens the e-mail, the photo is displayed along with the text so there is no need to open an attachment. To create this enhanced form of e-mail, the e-mail program uses HTML, the same language used to layout and format Web pages. If inserting a photograph isn't enough you can create more elaborate e-mails using your e-mail program's background, stationary, and font commands, but programs have been developed that make it even easier. They let you create and send the equivalent of a photo album page or colorful postcard. The background, called stationary, is usually a GIF or JPEG image file added by selecting one the of templates included with the program. Of course, things being what they are, there is no guarantee that the recipient will see the message the same way you formatted it.
Since enhanced e-mail is such a popular way to send photos this feature is frequently integrated into programs you use to edit and organize your images, or create postcards, albums, and sideshows. For example, Photoshop Elements lets you create cards, albums, and slide shows and then print them,
burn them to a CD/DVD, or e-mail them as fully formatted PDF files.
1. You open a new e-mail and select the Insert > Picture commands to browse your system for the image you want to send.
2. After selecting an image, it's inserted into the e-mail and goes wherever it goes.
3. The recipient sees the e-mail embedded in their message and can then save it to their own hard disk so they can print it.
There is a certain etiquette to be observed when e-mailing photos, especially regarding file sizes and formats.
Some people are still on slow dial up systems such as AOL. When sending a photo to one of them be sure it's small enough that it won't bog down their system when it arrives. Many image files are over a megabyte in size and take forever to download to a computer connected to the Internet through a dial up system. These images are also too large to be seen on most screens so the user has to scroll them up and down and side to side. It's like looking at an image through a paper tube. Not only is it impolite to send too large an image (or too many images), they may also be blocked by an e-mail gateway somewhere along the route or by the settings on the recipient's computer. They may also fill the recipient's allotted space on their e-mail account, blocking other e-mail. To make an image smaller, use a photo-editing program to reduce the size to 640 x 480 or so, and increase compression. A smaller image will still look great on the screen. If you are using Windows XP, Windows Vista or Apple's OSX, you can resize an image at the time you're sending it.
Be sure to send images in a format, such as JPEG, that most e-mail programs support. If you send Photoshop (PSD), RAW, or TIFF files, the recipient won't be able to see them unless they have a program that supports those formats.
To transfer large image files that are being blocked by e-mail gateways or mail box limitations, try a peer-to-peer exchange discussed later in this chapter.
To share a large collection of photos by e-mail you can Zip them using programs such as WinZIP or Stuffit. This puts all of the images into a single file that can then be unzipped by the recipient.
On-line Greeting Cards
A variant of e-mailing photos is to send them as on-line postcards or greeting cards, sometimes called eCards. You can send a card with a message and a photo to anyone with an e-mail address and a Web browser. Card sites are either free or charge an annual subscription fee. These sites offer a wide variety of cards with various themes from which to choose, but you can add your own photo to a card along with a personal message. For example, at bluemountain.com you click Add-a-Photo to browse through images on your computer so you can select one for your eCard.
When you send a card, one of two things happens: some sites display it on the recipient's screen when they open an e-mail, but most send just an e-mail message with instructions on how to view the card. This takes the form of a link to the page on the Internet where the card is stored. If the link is highlighted, the recipient just clicks it. Otherwise, they have to copy and paste the link into the address box on their Web browser. Some sites notify you when the recipient has looked at the card. If you have second thoughts after sending a card, many sites let you delete it—hopefully before the recipient sees it.
If you don't want to use an on-line service, there are many photo-editing programs that let you create cards to mail or e-mail. For example, Photoshop Elements provides templates and lets you send finished cards as PDF files.
. photo greeting cards
. photo cards