By Elissa Baxter

The beauty of the digital camera is that it costs nothing to take as many photos as you want. Click 50 shots of the baby to get one smile? No problem. Email the gorgeous one photo of the baby to family and friends? Done in an instant.

Technology has created some great alternatives to the traditional photo album. If you are willing to learn a little about some new ideas, you can forget awkward filmy pages and sticky corners forever and start making albums for any occasion with a fraction of the hassle.

 

Share photos online

One way to create a twenty-first century photo album is to put your pictures online by uploading them to a photo-sharing website.
Services like BigPond Photos (www.telstra.com.au/abouttelstra/advice/mobile/mobile.cfm) and Flickr (www.flickr.com) let you restrict access so you can make sure only your friends and family see your shots. If you prefer, you can make them available to the world.

It?s easy to upload your pictures to create a digital album the world can see. You can also include them in your blog, organise them into groups, and it saves your computer storage space.

Mobile photos are even easier. If you have a Telstra MMS-capable mobile you can upload photos directly onto BigPond Photos without having to use a computer. Family and friends can view your handiwork, either online or using their own phones, and order prints in a flash.

Photo books

Another new option is the chance to design your own hard-cover, professionally-printed photo album that resembles a slick coffee table book.

To create these books, visit sites like www.albumprinter.com.au or www.blurb.com, both of which offer the software you need to create your own album. Album Printer only does books up to 40 pages, but Blurb has very competitively priced books up to 440 pages, complete with dust jackets ? although you?ll need to pay postage from the USA.

Layouts for these books are extremely flexible and photos can be in a range of sizes or grouped together into photo collages. There?s space for just a caption or larger spots for anecdotes to remind you of the good times.

Digital photo frames

Like a screensaver for your mantlepiece, digital photo frames are never boring. These machines have a screen set inside a traditional photo frame which shows off your digital photos in an ever-changing slide show. With up to 1GB of memory, that?s a whole lot of holiday snaps to scroll through. The frames come in traditional leather, wood or more contemporary acrylic styles.

Using the devices is as simple as moving some photos from your computer onto a memory card. Slot the card into the photo frame and off you go!

Canvas

If your inner artist is being stifled by the strictures of your screen size, it?s time to let them loose on the walls of your home.

Canvas prints are light, durable and easily transported. High resolution digital images will come up beautifully on canvas which can be given a ?gallery wrap?, where the image wraps around the edge of the canvas for a truly professional look.

Canvas is also surprisingly affordable. A large format canvas print (say, 1m x 1.5m) can be cheaper than the same-sized photograph framed behind glass. Without the annoying reflections bouncing off the glass, the canvas print is much easier to carry when you move house.

Quality prints

The DIY photo printers you find in chemists and mobile phone shops do a good job on your pictures. But if you really want top quality prints, it can still pay to take them to a dedicated photo processor.

The printers in dedicated shops are better than the small printers found in DIY machines and you will get crisper details to make your shots stand out.

Source: Australian GO magazine