Another way to share photos

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iWeb’s Photos page makes it easy to share slide shows of your favorite snapshots with others. But what if you’d like to share the actual files—giving friends and family the power to print your photos? If you have a .Mac account and iPhoto 6, you can do all of this by setting up a photocast.

Photocasting lets you broadcast any picture in your iPhoto 6 library simply by dropping it into an album. The pictures are then distributed to other viewers using a syndication technology called RSS. Anyone with an RSS reader, such as the one built into Safari, can then subscribe to your photocast to see your latest pictures. Recipients with iPhoto 6 can even add your photos to their own photo library.

Step 1 You can select any iPhoto album to use as your photocast, or create a new album. Be sure to give your new album a catchy name. This description becomes the title of your RSS feed.

Step 2 Drag images from your iPhoto library into the new album. If you have images in the Raw format, you can add these as well. iPhoto automatically sends out a JPEG version of your Raw file.

Although it’s not required, you may want to give each image in your photocast a descriptive name and a caption. This data accompanies your pictures during syndication so your recipients can learn a little bit about their context. To add titles and captions, use the Information pane (if it’s not visible, click on the blue i in the lower left corner of iPhoto’s main window).

Step 3 Once you have your album set up, make sure that your Mac is connected to the Internet and that you’ve signed into your .Mac account in the .Mac preference pane. In iPhoto, click once on the album you want to broadcast and then go to Share: Photocast. In the resulting dialog box, specify a size for your syndicated photos. This option affects only the photos you send out to others. iPhoto leaves your originals untouched. But keep in mind that larger image sizes will require more time to publish and download (see “Photocast Image Sizes” for the image size resulting from each choice).

Photocast Image Sizes

Image Size Small Medium Large Actual Size
Resolution (in pixels) 640x480 1,280x960 1,920x1, 1440 Determined by camera
Suggested print size (in inches) 3x5 5x 8x10 Determined by camera

If you choose to send out high-resolution versions of your pictures (a great option for recipients who want to make prints), I recommend password-protecting this feed so you don’t make your master files readily available on the Internet. Select the Require Name And Password option and add the password information.

Select the Automatically Update When Album Changes option, and iPhoto will update your syndication feed anytime you add or delete a photo from the album. When you’re done, click on the Publish button to make your pictures available to the world via RSS.

Step 4 Once you’ve published your photocast (this can take a while if it includes high-resolution files), iPhoto gives you the option of sending an e-mail message with instructions to your audience. I recommend adding a few notes of your own. For example, you may suggest a free RSS reader to friends who don’t have iPhoto 6 and who don’t use Safari—I often recommend Ranchero’s NetNewsWire Lite.* To make visitors to your Web site aware of your photocast, include the feed URL on your iWeb page. Keep in mind, however, that you can add this feed only to the Blog or Podcast pages. To add a link, go to Insert: Button: Subscribe To Photocast.

If you have new subscribers who didn’t receive the first e-mail announcement, you can generate a new one by clicking on your photocast album and then clicking on the URL link in the Information box. iPhoto will give you the option to announce your photocast again.

* (DISCLAIMER: Mac Publishing, publisher of Macworld, recently entered into a business relationship with NewsGator, publisher of NetNewsWire, that could include providing services on and selling a news reader application based on NetNewsWire.)

Cast Out: Your Photos When you select an iPhoto album for photocasting, iPhoto gives you the option to announce your photocast.
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