You are on vacation, on a remote beach, and take a photo of yourself. A minute later, on the other side of the world, your mother is walking around her house and sees that same photo of you smiling back at her from the digital picture frame in her living room.
That’s the world we live in today. Photos can be shared across geography in all sorts of cool and creative ways.
Previously, Spot Cool Stuff reviewed the best travel cameras. But how to share your trip photos once you’ve taken them? Here are three creative sharing options that you can use while you are still traveling. None require use of a computer (either your own or one in an internet cafe) through you will need to be traveling with either a smartphone or a tablet.
Send photos directly to a wifi-enabled picture frame
The Kodak Pulse digital picture frame can be remotely managed and updated from any internet connection. Once it is set up (an easy process), a new photo can be uploaded for display on the picture frame simply by sending that photo to a particular Kodak Pulse’s unique email address.
The Pulse can also be configured to automatically display photos from a Facebook album or from specific accounts on the free Kodak Gallery photo sharing service.
The technology behind all that isn’t new or complicated but the result is near magical. A Kodak Pulse can become like a sort of portal for a friend or family member to look at photos from your trip almost as soon as you take them.
The Kodak Pulse is available in 7-inch and 10-inch screen sizes. There are no reoccurring or subscription fees involved in owning one. It is one of our favorite gift recommendations, especially for parents and grandparents. Read more in our review of the Kodak Pulse digital picture frame.
If a photo is on your phone it’s easy to email it to a Pulse picture frame (above) or to upload it to Hazelmail or Path (below). But what if your photos are on your camera? How do you get them onto your smartphone or tablet while traveling without using a computer?
Some tablets, like the new ASUS Eee Slate, have a USB port you could use to connect to your camera with a cord. Others have camera adapters (like the connection kit for the iPad and iPhone) that you could use. But such options can be clunky.
The graceful way of transferring photos from a camera is with an Eye-Fi memory card. An Eye-Fi card replaces a standard SD card and essentially turns an ordinary camera into a wifi-enabled camera.
Set up is easy. First, download the free Eye-Fi app onto your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Android device. Then put an Eye-Fi card in your camera’s SD slot and establish a wifi link between it and your phone/tablet. Voilà! Your photos will appear on your iPad (or Xoom or iPhone or whatever) where you can edit, store and share them, all sans cord.
Send your own photos as postcards
The postcard is dead. Long live the postcard. Or, at least the postcard in Hazelmail form.
Hazelmail is a cool service that sends out your own photo as a snail mail postcard. You upload your photo—either on the Hazelmail website or using their iPhone app (via iTunes for free)—and then type in the postcard recipient’s mailing address and a message. Hazelmail will print your personalized postcard and mail it for you.
Hazelmail postcards are printed and shipped from a location relatively close to its final destination. Admittedly there’s something a little sad about that—if you are in an exotic location your postcard will not have an exotic stamp to match. On the other hand, your Hazelmail postcard won’t have a long trip through the postal system, making it more likely that it will reach its destination before you arrive home.
Share photos with friends, not “friends”
Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, blogs—there’s no shortage of ways to digitally share your photos with the entire world. Path is a photo sharing social network that puts a premium on privacy and the closeness of person connections.
The Path service was inspired by the research of anthropologist Robin Dunbar. He concluded that members of the human species optimally form close relationships with between 20 and 50 people1. Path is designed for you to share photos with a group around that size; indeed, the site limits users to a maximum of 50 friends. Once online, you can choose which of those friends get to see any particular photo. You can also to tag people, places and things within your photos. Coolest of all, your pics are geotagged and sorted on a map. The idea being that, over time, you’ll have a record of the virtual photographic path of your life.
The Path app is free and is available on iTunes (for the iPod and iPad) and on the Android app store.