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Using Facebook to Share Family Photos

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People of all ages use Facebook to connect with friends and family. But did you know you can also use Facebook for photo sharing? Learn how in this article by Michael Miller, author of Que’s Facebook for Grown-Ups.
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You probably know that Facebook is the world’s largest social network. But did you also know that it’s one of the web’s top photo sharing sites? That’s right, Facebook not only lets you share your status updates, but also your family photos. It’s actually quite easy, especially with Facebook’s new Photo Updater—and the ability to upload and share photos in high resolution.

The Way It Used to Be: Photo Viewing, Not Really Sharing

Facebook is a great site for sharing with friends and family. You can share your status, your notes, your events, and even your photos and videos. It’s all part of how Facebook works, and why it exists.

It’s actually easy to share photos on Facebook. You can share a photo as part of status update, or attach a photo to a private message. You can even create your own photo albums and share the contents with your Facebook friends.

In the past, however, that sharing was limited to viewing, not downloading. That’s because Facebook didn’t accept high resolution photographs. Oh, you could choose a high-res (multi-megapixel) photo to upload, but Facebook would automatically convert it to a picture no more than 640 pixels wide. It didn’t matter if you had a 10 megapixel digital camera that produced 3600 x 2400 pixel photos; Facebook still converted them to 604 x 400 pixel pictures.

Now, a 604 x 400 photo is okay for viewing in a web browser on a computer screen, but it’s not good enough to print; the resolution is way too low to look good on photo paper. That might be why Facebook didn’t have a “download photo” link or button. Facebook’s low-res photos weren’t good enough to print, so why bother downloading them?

All this is why, in my Facebook for Grown-Ups book, I recommended against using Facebook as your primary photo sharing site. I wrote that “Facebook is great for viewing other people’s photos, and for letting them look at yours. But if you want others to download or print your photos, or if you want to download or print other people’s photos, Facebook leaves a lot to be desired. For this type of archival sharing, a site such as Shutterfly or Snapfish would be a better choice.”

That certainly used to be true—up until quite recently. Fortunately for all of us Facebook users, Facebook has rolled out a new Photo Uploader and introduced new photo sharing features—all of which combine to make Facebook a much better site for viewing and downloading high-quality digital photos.

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