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How To E-mail Digital Pictures the Right Way


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Some people are the bane of the Internet, sending off mass e-mails to all their family and friends that are huge and take forever to download. Or they are in an uncommon file format. Or they freak out the virus-phobic. Or they are in some other way annoying. Are you one of those people? Knock it off! Find out how to please instead of pester when you send your favorite digital images by e-mail.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Brief amount of time

Here's How:

  1. Select the picture you want to send. (Yes, I said picture, not pictures! OK, sometimes it is OK to send multiples pictures. But try not to). Make a copy of your original and work with THAT file only. Save it as a jpeg (preferably) as it is a very common file type.
  2. Open your photo in an image editing software program and crop it (if needed). For e-mail, unless you know for certain the recipient has high-speed internet access and a high allowance for received attachments, I would resize it. Something in the area of a 3-inch by 5-inch or a 300 by 500 pixel photo is usually plenty large enough for e-mail viewing (or even small prints).
  3. To be sure you are sending a relatively small file, look at the properties of your image. You can do this in Windows by clicking "Start," then "My Computer." Locate your image in its folder, then right click. You should see the file size. Keep it below 100K per image for recipients on dial-up internet access.
  4. If you are 100 percent sure this person wants to get attachments and recognizes your e-mail address easily, I guess you can send it. You can be nicer, though, and shoot a quick e-mail first to find out if they want it. Some people might even get into trouble at a work address. Others might fear it is a virus.
  5. If they do want it, go ahead and send the file as an attachment. Make the e-mail subject very clear (i.e. "The Smiths at the Beach"). If you are sending multiple pictures (hopefully with clearance from the receiving end first), break them into a couple e-mails or compress them into a "zip" file.
  6. Stop. Take a breath. You don't need to send any more pictures right now. Sleep on it first.


  1. Avoid this entire issue by using an alternative route. Post your pictures on your own Web site or use an online photo gallery (like http://www.snapfish.com). This eliminates the entire attachment issue, as you can just send a link.
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