Share Original Photos with Friends

How many times have you received that email from a friend with a link to an online album of all the wonderful pictures taken on their camera from an event you attended? I am so frustrated by the difficulty that exists in online photo sharing. In the age of digital cameras, photo albums are larger then ever. Unfortunately, most of the pictures you want are from someone else’s camera. Yes, this is not a new problem and I do remember the day when one had to ask, “Can you make a copy for me?” I realize that was much more difficult then the process today where at least I can purchase a printed copy of the shared photo. But!, I want to have the original so that I can keep it forever and maybe modify it myself in Photoshop.
I have reviewed the major online photo services out there and have yet to find one that does not charge both users a large fee for this convenience. Now, you may be thinking, “where is the business justification for them providing that service?” Well, here are my thoughts on that:
1.) Unique differentiator
2.) Increased “eye balls” on your site as customers spend more time clicking through images and choosing, which ones to download. You could for example allow only one download at a time, after which you present a splash screen trying to up sell on other products.
3.) Bandwidth costs could be shared with the consumer by leveraging a peer-to-peer technology such as employed by Bit torrent.
Latest News – Service providers that DO allow downloads of the originals:
Google’s Picasa

Service providers not allowing downloads of the originals:
Kodak Gallery (a.k.a., Ofoto)
Simple Star
Yahoo Photos
Now, there are a few ways to share the originals (e.g., uploading them onto your own web server). However, they’re too cumbersome. Another alternative is to use Hello, which is part of Google’s Picasso application suite. It allows you to share the originals, but your computer and your friends have to be online at the same time for the exchange. PiXPO does the same.
If anyone knows of a service that solves this problem, please let me know!
P.S., during the course of writing this entry, another friend of mine sent out pictures from a trip this summer. Argh! I want the originals!
September 8, 2006 Update: Finally!!! It’s arrived. Thanks to Google we will soon all be able to share original photos for download with friends. It’s currently in “test” as it looks like they haven’t committed to this product, but I’m hoping they do. Imagine when we all won’t have to sit through camera after camer during group photos because everyone will be rest assured they can get the original file off of one of the cameras! And, it’s FREE!
– A free download of the Picasa software for uploading your photos to the web in one or two clicks.
– Your own shareable Picasa Web Albums homepage showing all your public albums.
– Enough free storage to post and share approximately 1000 photos (an option for upgrading to more space is also available).
– Big, high-resolution pictures that set a new standard for online viewing. You can even download friends’ photos off the web to print at home or view a full-screen slideshow.
– Fun easy-to-use online tools, like captions, comments, rotate, and zoom.
Learn more about what’s new in Picasa here:
Update: Snapfish allows sharring an original photo for download. It costs $.49 a pic.
Dear Snapfish Customer,
Thank you for writing to us.
Please find below how to download FREE pictures from Snapfish to your computer:
Images available for free download are of lower quality than the high-resolution versions we have stored on our computers. The High Resolution scans are used for making reprints when you order them, for creating Photo CD ROM’s, and are available for purchase in direct download form as well.
You can use free images where you would view them with a computer, but they won’t print high quality photos.
For Free downloads, we recommend that you download a picture from the “slide” view, as opposed to the “entire album” or “thumbnail” view, as the slide show view has larger images. Instructions are below.
A little technical information for customers who need it: the resolution of the “Slide View” photos is 384×256 pixels and the resolution of the thumbnail view is 96 x 64 pixels. The high resolution scans provided in high resolution download or with a Photo CD are 1536×1024 pixels.
All photos are in “JPEG” or “.jpg” format.
The instructions below cover FREE downloads for both Windows and Macintosh Computers. Please check our site for information and instructions on High Resolution Downloads at

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