Free Photo Sharing on the Imaging Resource!
From the beginning, the Imaging Resource 'web site has had
the goal of helping our readers get the most from their digital
camera and scanner purchases. So far, most of our focus has been
on before-the-sale support; providing in-depth product info and
reviews, as well as thousands of "reference images",
captured in a variety of modes, and under circumstances intended
to reveal as much as possible about each device's performance.
Now, we're extending our vision to support our readers after
their purchases! In the coming months, you'll begin finding a
variety of new information here, including tutorials, articles
on peripheral gadgets, and software reviews. As always, our mission
is to help you get the most from your digital photography experience.
Free Photo Sharing with ClubPhoto
One of the first concrete results of this expanded vision is
a new relationship with ClubPhoto, which we view as the premier
photo-sharing and finishing service on the Internet.
There is now a dedicated Web-based photo-sharing domain available
for our readers at http://ir.clubphoto.com/.
(We're calling it the Imaging Resource Photo Club, for lack of
a better name.) When you visit this site, you can not only sign
up for a great FREE photo-sharing and finishing service,
but also download for free a really excellent (Windows, Mac coming)
image-management/album-creation software program too!
When you post an album, you can share it with friends, family,
or the Imaging Resource digital photo community. Friends can
order reprints and/or photo related gifts of your photos on-line,
and you can even distinguish between "private" and
"public" photo albums.
Why Photo Sharing?
Initially, we saw this as an easy way for our readers to share
sample photos from various digital cameras and scanners with
each other. (If you post an album of samples on the ir.clubphoto.com
domain, email us, and we'll link to it from the product review
on our site!) We firmly believe that our own standardized test
images captured with the various cameras and scanners we review
provide an invaluable resource for making meaningful comparisons
between various devices. (That is, true apples-to-apples comparisons,
where you know that the picture conditions were the same for
each device being compared.) Still, there's no way that tests
we could put together would represent everything someone might
want to do with a camera or scanner! We're really constrained
by the huge amount of time it takes to shoot and process these
images, and make meaningful comments on them. At the same time
though, we have thousands (and thousands!) of readers out there,
who are buying and using these products, many of whom take the
time to come back to our coments
pages to let others know how well (or not) the products
worked for them. An online photo-sharing service looked like
a great way to let our readers also share their photos with each
Beyond just simple "sample" photos though, we see a
huge benefit for our community, simply in making it easier to
share your photos with family, friends, and each other. The ClubPhoto
approach really makes it incredibly easy to share photos on the
web (see the "Why ClubPhoto" section immediately below),
and we think it's a fantastic expansion of what you can do with
your digital camera or scanner.
No more hassles with e-mail file formats, different operating
systems, or long download times for images you maybe aren't particularly
interested in seeing at full-resolution anyway: A web photo album
makes it easy to share images with the world, or just a few special
people, with none of the hassles of email or snail-mail methods.
In addition to general photo sharing, we expect to develop the
"gallery" concept further over the next few months,
to create a forum for people to support each other via critiques
and feedback on individual images: There's literally a world
of opportunities available here!
There are a number of Web-based photo-posting services out there,
so it's fair to ask why we settled on ClubPhoto as our partner
in this. Most importantly, Club Photo is the only true "photo
sharing and finishing" community on the Internet. There
were two other primary considerations that went into our decision:
First, we needed a service that supported people using purely
digital capture devices. Services such as Kodak's PhotoNet Online
(and similar services from Fuji, Agfa, and others) provide excellent
sharing opportunities, but only for photos coming from traditional
photofinishing services. If you're starting with your photos
already in digital form, you need to look elsewhere.
The second factor was ease of use, and this is where we think
ClubPhoto really shines relative to other photo-sharing services.
The key issue has to do with what it takes to get images up onto
the sharing service's computer: Most services involve a rather
convoluted process, in which you first either email or FTP image
files to their server, then go on-line with your web browser
to organize those images into albums. This works fine, but frankly,
is a lot of hassle. (ClubPhoto also has this way of working available
as an option, if you're using a computer platform other than
Windows.) With ClubPhoto, along with your free album -sharing
account, you also get a free copy of their excellent "Living
Album" software. (ClubPhoto began as a software company,
and developed a very strong photo-organizing and album-creating
program as their main product. This commercial-quality program
is now available free to ClubPhoto members.)
We view Living Album as a real breakthrough in the world of online
photo sharing: It not only serves as a very handy photo-organizing
tool on your own computer, but makes publishing 'web albums with
dozens of photos in them a matter of a few simple mouse-clicks!
No lengthy email or FTP sessions, with later work in a sluggish
web-based album creator: Create an album quickly (may we say
effortlessly?) on your own computer's desktop, click the mouse
a couple of times, and it's published automatically to your free
web space on the ClubPhoto server! Want to add captions to your
images or change what's there? Just make the changes on your
local copy of the album, hit "publish" again, and the
program will automatically update the on line album for you!
It really couldn't be easier, and represents a major step forward
in personal web publishing!
What's in it for Imaging Resource? ("Mission"
Well, first and foremost, lots of new opportunities for our readers!
We want our site to grow, and the best (only!) way to do that
is to continue to give our readers more value! We believe that
online photo sharing is going to be the "next big thing"
for people to do with their photos, so we want to highlight it,
encourage our readers to take advantage of it, and do everything
we can to advance the field. We played with the various sharing
services, gave it a lot of thought, and chose ClubPhoto as the
one that we were going to get behind. This is the "mission"
reason we chose to do this.
Of course, there's more to it than that: It's no secret that
"advertising makes the web go 'round," and the whole
ClubPhoto system is based on that premise. Obviously, someone
has to pay for all those servers, gigabytes of disk space, and
high-bandwidth internet connections to host your photos. In this
case, it's the advertisers, whose banner-ads you'll be seeing
on your album pages as you (and all your hundreds of friends
and associates ;-) view them (hopefully over & over &
over!). As the co-host of this service, we'll get a slice of
the ad dollars from those banner ads. (It'll probably take a
few months for us to get the ad space populated over there though:
In the meantime, you'll just see lots of banners for ClubPhoto
or IR on your pages.) This is the "money" reason we're
If you have any interest in sharing your photos online, and have
found The Imaging Resource to be in any way useful to you, this
is another way you can help support us: Post your albums on the
ir.clubphoto.com site, tell all your friends they're there, and
encourage them to sign up for their own sharing service too!
Each album won't bring us a huge amount of money (about $0.01
per "click"), but if thousands of you do this, it could
definitely help the cause!
It's a "Win-Win-Win"
We're excited about this relationship, because it truly looks
like one in which everybody wins: Our readers get a neat
service for sharing their photos for free; the community gets
a chance to see a LOT broader range of sample images for the
products we review; ClubPhoto gets to grow their business (and
become the next HotMail?); and we get a more dynamic site, and
(eventually) increased ad revenue. Hard to beat!
Check it out!
Follow this link,
and sign up for your own
photo-sharing site right now! Download the Living Album
software, and you could literally have your first album of pictures
online in 15 minutes! Do you have family out of town (maybe across
the world)? Here's a great way to share your life with them!
What do you think? - Leave a note on our comment server about
the Imaging Resource Photo Club! Share your success stories of
web-based photo sharing! NOTE: If you have any problems
with this service, or any suggestions for how we might improve
it, please let use know, by emailing email@example.com!
Thanks for your support!
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Imaging Resource home page.