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(ARA)-As sales of digital cameras continue to outpace traditional film camera purchases, many consumers are now first-time digital camera owners. Years ago, when everyone had traditional film cameras, you'd drop off a finished roll of film at the drugstore and come back a few hours or days later to pick up your prints. Today, consumers have so many more options for storing, viewing and printing photos.
But how do you get started?
With a visit to one of the many online photo-sharing services and just a few clicks of your mouse, it's easy to build online photo albums or create and order prints, photo cards and cool photo gifts, such as tote bags, T-shirts and coaster sets. You can then e-mail or instant message your favorite photos to friends and family, or just print them out at home.
The following are five tips on fun ways to share photos of the first visit with Santa or the annual holiday gathering with friends, family members and co-workers.
1. Build an Online Photo Album. To store all your digital photos in one safe and convenient place, it's easy to create an online photo album with an online photo service. You can then direct friends and family to visit the online picture book. This is ideal when you have many pictures to share, like images of the holiday get-together, gift opening or "thank you" shots with new toys and clothing. Try AOL's You've Got Pictures service, which is now free to all Internet users and available at http://pictures.aim.com.
2. Send an E-Mail Message. These days, many digital cameras come with photo sharing software that makes it easy to click and send your favorite images to anyone and everyone in your e-mail address book. Even if yours does not, it's just as simple to type an e-mail message and then attach your chosen photos to the message.
3. Type an Instant Message. If you're seeking instant feedback on your holiday photos, it's easy to share pictures while instant messaging back and forth with friends and family. In fact, most instant messaging applications, including the popular AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service, enable easy photo sharing with friends. You can even use AIM's "Instant Imaging" service to create a slide show for friends on your Buddy List.
4. Print Your Photos at Home. While you can still have your photos printed at the drugstore, or in a stand-alone kiosk, it's easy to turn your digital camera into a "digital darkroom" with home printers. Visit your local electronics store to find the right printer to meet your needs or shop online on sites such as In-Store.com where you can view printers side by side to compare prices, features, availability and more.
5. Create Fun Photo Gifts. For a fresh way to share your memories, consider creating unique photo gifts, such as placemats, golf towels, mousepads, and wall clocks bearing your favorite images. It's also easy and inexpensive to create a hard cover Memory Book of your favorite photos and captions, making the perfect addition to any coffee table.
There are a number of photo sharing services available on the Internet to help you make the most of your digital pictures. Some services, including AOL's You've Got Pictures, even offer unlimited photo storage and photo editing tools to help you adjust brightness, crop images, convert color photos to black and white or even correct red eye. But most of all, sit back, relax and enjoy your new camera. Don't forget to smile and say "cheese."
Courtesy of ARA Content
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