By: Maralee McKee
Digital photography has unlocked the once-private
door of the photo lab for all of us. Now, from
home, with a brief plug-in and a few_
quick clicks, we can share every captured
moment of our lives with the world in just
minutes, and for free.
Speedy and free are both good, especially these days when the only thing in shorter supply than our time is our money.
I don’t know about you, but I’m just now
getting how this whole digital photo thing
works. Honestly, I’m enjoying it.
With the new technology and some great
photo-sharing sites friends have told me about,
I’m uploading and downloading with the best
of them! (Or at least the rest of them.)
I only wish I had come to the digital table sooner. I feel like I’m showing up for dinner just as they’re clearing away dessert. My boys are 12 and 6. I’m disappointed that I missed so many opportunities to digitally capture their precious baby and toddler days!
With this new technology come opportunities for us to initiate polite boundaries and common expectations — in essence, new etiquette rules for our photo sharing.
Here are a few to get us started. I’m sure there are more.
Your aunt might be just 45 but just not that into computers. She may use hers only to send emails back and forth, and she might have no idea how to size, edit, or print out pictures on photo paper, and no desire to learn.
As for generational differences, even if Great Grandma has a laptop, she’ll probably be more comfortable bringing a brag book of photos of the new baby in the family to share with her peers than she ever would be gathering them around her computer screen to view your latest slideshow.
2. You send your family the links to your photos, but do you need to send them actual photos? Photos make great gifts, so you certainly can. These days, you don’t have to, except for those who mention not having received any photos from you lately.
First, ask to make sure they’re receiving the links. If they are, then go ahead and offer to send them a photo. The small cost and effort on your part isn’t worth them feeling slighted. “Aunt Deb, I’m sorry you feel left out. That wasn’t my intention. I send links of all my photos of the twins. I didn’t know you wanted a framed one, but I’m honored. Look online at the link I sent and let me know which one is your favorite and what size you’d like. I’ll print it out, frame it, and send it to you next week.”
These days it’s fine for the receiving person to be the one who prints out and frames any photos desired. The exception is a special baby photo sent to both sets of grandparents at least once during the first year!
Oh, and annual holiday photos sent in Christmas cards are thoughtful, too. (There are special things to keep in mind for wedding photos, but that’s a topic for a different post.)
3. What if you never see the photos you gift others with? If you send a framed photo and don’t see it displayed in the person’s house, it’s nicer not to ask about it. However, at a later date, it’s fine to ask whether the photo arrived safely.
If your photo isn’t on display, try
not to take it too personally.
There’s only so much room on
shelves and walls. Once everything is nicely displayed, sometimes it’s impossible to find a good spot for
even the cutest of photos of the people we love most.
In the future, stick to online photos, or print out a photo book and send it via snail mail. It’s easier to find room for one more book than for one more photo, so they’ll appreciate you more for sending the book and saving them the awkwardness of feeling like they
should display your photo but just don’t know where to put it.
4. What about when people forward your photos to others? Mention if you don’t want photos forwarded! When sending a link to private family photos, you can ask that the recipients don’t post or forward them without asking your permission first. If your request isn’t honored, then your best bet is to send that family member traditional photos rather than links next time.
5. Always, always, ask before posting! If you have plans to post photos online, tell the person(s) ahead of time where you’ll be posting them and give them a chance to opt out. “Keith and Kathy, I’m going to post photos of tonight’s potluck on my Facebook page. Do you mind?”
6. Expect to be online! When you or your child(ren) are photographed as part of a group (class field trip, college reunion, or your neighbor’s Christmas party), you should expect that the photos will be shared. If you have any apprehension about where the photos might end up, then make it a point to stay out of camera range.
7. It’s Usually Not Nice to Tag! It’s usually best not to tag people in photos, especially when they don’t look their best. Be hyper-cautious of tagging someone, because most of us are hyper-critical about photos of ourselves.
There’s a terrible-looking photo of a beautiful twenty-something woman I know that was tagged on Facebook this week. She posted this comment: “Eek! I really don’t look like this. I must have been yawning!” I know she’s embarrassed by it. It’s sad her friend hasn’t removed it for her.
Well, there’s the start. The first ever list of Photo-Sharing Etiquette!
I’m sure you’ve had your own experiences that bring up lots of new ideas for more tips.