Online Print Services
Of all the services available from the Internet, there’s one that you should definitely explore. You must check out online photo processing services. You can find sites by simply surfing the Internet, including Ofoto (http://www.ofoto.com), FujiFilm (http://www.pictures.fujifilm.com), Snapfish (http://www.snapfish.com), and Shutterfly (http://www.shutterfly.com). Photo processing Web sites offer more than just the option to get professional-looking prints though, they almost all also offer basic editing tools such as cropping, adjusting brightness and contrast, adding effects, sharpening, and reducing red-eye. Many also allow you to e-mail directly from their site.
Another option offered by most photo processing sites is the ability to store photos online. Storing your photos online at a place like the ones listed earlier, or any of these: http://www.www.xdrive.com, http://www.ibackup.com, or http://www.imagestation.com, may actually be safer than storing them on your own computer. These sites have extensive backup capabilities, and they work hard to keep your pictures safe. In addition, often times these Web sites allow you to create a personal area, where family members and friends can have access. Storing photos online is usually free, too, or at least there’s a free trial period; the Web sites count on you purchasing prints from them, due to the ease at which you have access.
Great Options for Those Without the Hardware
If you don’t have (or can’t afford) a good photographic printer and expensive third-party image-editing software, or if you don’t want to hassle with expensive inks or papers or don’t want to learn the nuances of getting professional-looking prints at home, getting prints from an online source is your best option. It’s convenient, it’s cheap, and it’s easy to learn. You can quickly become skilled in using the site’s online tools for color-correction, cropping, and editing, and you can view the picture before you order it.
Besides not having the proper hardware for getting good prints though, (photographic printer, correct inks, papers, etc.) you most likely don’t have the resources, materials, or the time to manually create photo books, calendars, mouse pads, t-shirts, greeting cards, coffee mugs, stickers, notepads, and similar items. Online photo processing sites usually offer these items and more.
Finally, if you haven’t yet upgraded to a computer with a CD or DVD burner, if it doesn’t work, or if you have limited hard drive space, you can have these Web sites store your images for you or burn the images to a CD or DVD. Storing images online also a good choice if your computer is in an unsafe place like an open office, a home with children, or in a flood plain. In addition to storing your images on a third-party server or burning them to a CD for archiving, CDs also offer a good option when sending photos to relatives and friends anywhere in the world. While it may take you 45 minutes to compile photos, burn them to a CD, pack the CD, get to the Post Office, and get the CD mailed off, a Web site that specializes in this can not only do if more quickly, but also for very little cost.
Note: If you have a dial-up connection, expect a good wait when uploading images to these sites. Photos, especially those with high resolutions (1024 X 768 or higher) can be quite large.