If there's one thing to remember about online photo sharing and storage, it's this: The services and options change as quickly as the weather. So, too, do their terms of service, which can be a sticky, confusing mess that results in other people using your pictures for their own profit.
Understand that more than a few social media sites (such as TwitPic and Instagram) make picture sharing very simple and fun. But use these services with this caveat -- you may be giving that site permission to use or distribute your pictures in any way they see fit.
Protect yourself by reading the terms of service or by searching for TOS complaints regarding specific sites. One upside is that these sorts of TOSes are more common with social-media sites than storage-centric services.
Finally, keep in mind that there isn't a one-size-fits-all photo storage and sharing system. Your needs may even change depending on the project. To wit: Facebook is great for random snapshots, but Flickr is sleeker and slicker for a burgeoning album of vacation photos.
No matter which road you take to the cloud, you should be excited for the future of digital photo fun. As these services expand and companies tweak their business models, your options will continue to increase exponentially.
This is truly a golden age in the era of digital photography. The technology just keeps getting better, cheaper and more innovative -- to the point where there are so many options and capabilities that your imagination is the only limiting factor.
The same goes for storing and sharing your images through the cloud. Now your images can be at your fingertips, anywhere you can find a 3G or WiFi signal. The potential for communicating your ideas and your vision of the world is now just a touchscreen away, no matter where you happen to be.
Not only are your sacred family images safer than ever before, but more and more people have the opportunity to see them. These days, there really is no reason that grandma can't see pictures of the new baby, updated daily, or even on the hour, for years to come.
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- Pinola, Melanie. "What Cool Things can I do with All This Free Cloud Storage Space?" Lifehacker.com. May 17, 2012. (June 14, 2012) http://lifehacker.com/cloud-storage/
- Pinola, Melanie. "Upgrade from 7GB to 25GB of Free Microsoft SkyDrive Storage while you can." Lifehacker.com. April 25, 2012. (June 14, 2012) http://lifehacker.com/5905111/upgrade-from-7gb-to-25gb-of-free-microsoft-skydrive-storage?tag=cloudstorage
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- Shih, Gary. "Dropbox Heats up Cloud Battle with Photo Upload Feature." Reuters. Feb. 24, 2012. (June 14, 2012) http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/24/us-dropbox-photos-idUSTRE81N0BZ20120224
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Forget those awkward family photos! HowStuffWorks talked to two photography experts on how to look your best in every photo, every time.