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Project: Store Your Family Photos Online

The Web is teeming with online photo processing services. These are the twenty-first century alternative to the drug store or supermarket film roll processing routine. Web-based outfits such as dotPhoto, Ofoto, and Snapfish are designed to sell digital photo print services. One way they attract customers is by offering free online album posting and sharing services. You can use the photo album feature of these services as a way to store and back up special family photos.

To take advantage of these services, you need to register for free and access your collection occasionally to keep your account active. Online albums are a good first step to protect and back up precious photos or prints digitized via a scanner. And as a bonus, you’ll discover it’s fun to use email notices to invite friends and family to view your albums online.

For this exercise, we use dotPhoto (http://www.dotphoto.com), which is a good representative example of a web-based photo album and print processing service. According to the dotPhoto tech support web page, you may upload and store as many photos or albums as you wish, so long as you remain active. Active, in this case, means you access and update your online photo collection regularly. I recommend accessing your account at least once a month to preserve your active status and storage space.


To complete this project you’ll need

  • Personal computer connected to the Internet

  • Digital photos on your hard disk (from a digital camera, scanner, or photo CD)

  • Online photo album service—This project uses the free http://www.dotphoto.com service.


About one hour to set up a free account on dotPhoto, create your first album, and upload it to the service.

Step 1: Register with dotPhoto

  1. Fire up your PC, connect to the Internet, and point your browser to http://www.dotphoto.com.

  2. When the opening page appears, look for the Join Now button.

  3. Click it and follow the instructions to set up your free account and password.

Step 2: Create an Album

Log in to the dotPhoto service with your new account and password and click on My Albums at the top edge of the screen. On the next screen, scroll down until you see the toolbox area on the left and click Create New Album.

The next screen presents a fill-in-the-blanks form that helps organize and identify the album’s content. Here you should give the album a name, assign a password for access, provide a brief text description, and enter start and stop dates for the subject matter. You can also assign it to one of the service’s premade categories, from Art and Culture to Travel and Vacations.

After completing the form, the next screen announces that your album is empty. Look to the lower left of the empty notice, where you are prompted with the words Please Add Your Photos or Create New Subalbum. Click Add Your Photos and a new menu appears, as shown in Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1

Figure 3.1 Hey, does this screen look familiar? It’s a lot like the file attachment screen in Yahoo! mail we saw in Chapter 2.

Use the Browse feature to find and fill each photo box with an image to be uploaded to your dotPhoto online album. When you’ve targeted all your snaps, click the Start Upload button at the bottom of the screen. Sit back and relax. Depending on the resolution of your photos, the number of images in your album, and the speed of your Internet connection, it could be a few minutes or even an hour or more for the upload process to complete. At the end of the upload routine, a dialog box appears, announcing the process was successful.

After the upload is complete, you should review your album. Scroll to the top of the screen and click My Albums. The display refreshes to show your album(s) as clickable icons, as shown in Figure 3.2.

Figure 3.2

Figure 3.2 The My Albums screen shows all of your online albums as clickable icons.

You now have your first online stored album! Repeat the process to create a collection of albums.

Step 3: Tour dotPhoto

Now that you have an album in place, let’s take a quick tour of dotPhoto and learn about its various benefits and features.

  1. Log in to your dotPhoto account and when you arrive at the page displaying the online stored album(s), explore the tool icons and features contained in the vertical box areas to the far left.

  2. To start, learn how to add a text caption to a photo in one of your stored albums. Click the icon for your stored album. Select a photo from the album and click it. A larger image of the photo is now displayed. Look to the left for the toolbox and find the Edit Title icon. Click the Edit Title icon and the screen refreshes to display an Edit Photo Information worksheet. Follow the intuitive fill-in-the-blanks forms to add a caption.

  3. If you have not already done so, you can edit your snaps by clicking the adjustable wrench Edit icon found in the toolbox or at the upper-right corner of a highlighted image. The small set of tools includes an auto adjust, a red eye fix, and a rotate set of buttons.

  4. Don’t miss the Edit Sound feature in the toolbox. Look for the icon with musical notes. Click this button and, after downloading a small utility application (prompts will guide you), you can record narrations for each photo in your album.

  5. Sharing your albums via email greetings is a standard feature with online photo and print services such as dotPhoto. When you have the My Albums page displayed, showing your album, look to the far left for the Actions vertical box and find the Share Album icon. Click this icon and a very intuitive menu appears to guide you through the process of emailing a greeting to a friend. The email notice will contain a link to allow the recipient to see your album online.

  6. The Actions and toolbox options contain a ton of fun things to try. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with all the goodies and project ideas.

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