Image Editing 101: Sharing Photos Online

Lesson 5: Sharing Photos Online



There will likely be a time when you want to share your photos with others. In this lesson, we'll cover some of the most common ways to share digital photos, along with general tips for sharing photos online.

Photo sharing options

There are many ways to share digital images. You can learn more about some of the easiest and most popular methods below.


If you want to share a photo with a small group of people, you can send it as an email attachment. It's important to realize, however, that email isn't a very convenient photo sharing tool. Depending on your email provider and Internet connection speed, you may need to resize your images to be small enough to send as attachments. Resizing will also make it easier for your recipients to download and view photos.

screenshot of gmail


Whether you need to share one photo or an entire album, Facebook makes it easy to share photos with multiple people at the same time. 

A screenshot of a Facebook photo album.


As one of the most popular ways to share photos from a mobile device, Instagram allows you to edit photos and apply a variety of filters.

screenshot of Instagram


Another good option for mobile sharing, Twitter makes it easy to share photos with any post.

A screenshot of a Twitter post.


Flickr is one of the most popular photo hosting sites online. It allows you to store up to 1,000 photos or videos for free. You'll also have the option to share some photos publicly while making others private.

screenshot of flickr

Simple image sharing sites

If you just want to post a single image online, there are a variety of image sharing sites, such as Imgur and TinyPic. These services allow you to upload an image and share it with others by sending them a link.

screenshot of Imgur

Online photo sharing tips

Before sharing photos online, there are a few final changes you may want to make to ensure they look as good as possible. These changes will also help to optimize your photos for web viewing.

Save as JPEG

As we mentioned in the first lesson of this tutorial, the JPEG format provides a balance between image quality and file size, which makes it a good choice for web sharing. If your image isn't already using this format, we recommend saving a new JPEG version to share online.

Resize when needed

Many photo sharing services, such as Facebook, will resize images automatically when you upload them. If you're using a service like this, you probably won't need to worry about resizing your images manually.

However, if you're not using a service like this, you'll likely want to resize the image to suit your needs. Most modern digital cameras take large high-resolution images, which will have much more detail than you actually need for online sharing. Resizing will allow you to dramatically reduce the file size. For example, take a look at this photo. It should open in a new browser tab or window, so you can click the image to view it at full size. It is 4608px by 3072px and 4.5MB (4500KB).

By comparison, take a look at the resized versions of the same image below.

400px by 267px, 22KB. This is a relatively small version of the image. You might use this for decoration next to some text on a webpage or document.

image of flower at 400px wide

800px by 533px, 60KB. This is a relatively large version of the image. You might use this as a featured image on a webpage or document.

image of flower at 800px wide

While the 800px version has a slightly larger file size (60KB) than the 400px version (22KB), both of these are much, much smaller than the original version (4500KB). The 800px version is actually about 99 percent smaller than the original, which will make it easier for people to download and view online. If you want to resize an image, you should also keep an original unedited version of the file. This way, you'll have the full-resolution version if you need to print it or make additional edits.

You can review our lesson on making basic adjustments to learn how to resize an image.

The tips above will help your images to look their best when sharing. Again, most online photo sharing services, including most of those we discussed earlier in this lesson, will resize your images automatically. This is one reason these services are so popular. They make it easy to share great-looking photos without a lot of effort.