One of the best and most used features of nearly every smartphone available today is its camera.  Now, you really don’t have an excuse to not be able to capture memories, where in the past, you would need to have purposefully gone out with your camera with the intent of taking pictures (or brought it along, “just in case”).  Even though fancy DSLR cameras enable amateurs to produce professional-level photographs, the technology in today’s generation of smartphones allow you to take photos of amazing quality in their own right.  It is true that “the best camera is the one you have with you,” though in some cases, the best camera you have may be the one on your phone!  In this post, I am going to explain some of the many methods available to you by which you can share some of your captured memories.

Camera app icon

I don’t want to go into too much details about how to actually capture photos on your iPhone (or other iDevice – they all have the same interface), but I do want to share a new feature which frequently goes unnoticed.  It is a shortcut to get into the included Apple camera app.  When you push the home button to wake your iPhone, you are greeted with the familiar “slide to unlock” screen.  On this screen is a new icon, which is an image of a camera with a couple of horizontal lines above and below it.  This is Apple way of indicating that if you touch on the camera, you can slide it up and down, which will take you directly into the Camera app without going through the process of slide to unlock, enter password (if you have one set up), finding the Camera app and going into it.  It’s a brilliant shortcut whichwill save you valuable seconds if you are trying to capture a fleeting moment.  Of course, once you are in the camera app, you have access to all of the regularly available options, such as front or back camera, HDR photography, or switching to panorama (in iPhone 4S or higher) or video mode.  Another often overlooked shortcut is to slide from the left to right anywhere on the camera display to take you to your photo collection.  Sliding from right to left will take you back to the camera.  As an added security feature, if you entered into the camera from the lock screen, you can only view images that you have just taken.  You won’t have access to the rest of your camera roll, which means that someone can’t just pick up your phone and get easy access to your personal information.

Now that you know how to quickly and easily take photos, here is how you can use a simple and new methodto share them with people.

Photo Stream setup on iPhone

The first method I will mention here is new to iOS 6, and that is the shared Photo Stream function.  This is built in directly to your Apple Photos app, so you don’t need to download any other app from the App Store.  To make use of this, you can use a couple of different methods, with both achieving the same result.  You can create the Photo Stream first, and then populate it with images, or you can immediately share an image to a new or pre-existing Photo Stream.  To do the first method, you need to open the Photos app, and then tap the Photo Stream icon at the bottom of the screen.  This will take you to a list of available Photo Streams.  By default, any photo that you take with your iPhone is uploaded to your personal stream (which is likely the only item listed), so that you can view it on different devices without the need of extra steps to transfer.  It’s a really neat and helpful feature that Apple has introduced.  However, this stream is only viewable by yourself.  To make additional streams, you simply need to tap the + button in the top left to start a new one.  Here you have the options of designating who to share with,naming the collection, and saying whether you want to make the stream public or private (private is on by default).  So, for example, if you are going to a birthday party and want to share your photos with other invitees, you can tap the +, name the people that you want to share with (either by selecting from your address book or specifying by email address), call it something like “My Birthday Party!”, leaving Public turned off, and then tapping the blue Create button in the top right of the screen, which appears once you have filled in enough information.  This will create the empty Photo Stream, and send notifications to whoever you specified to share with.  The next step is to populate the stream with photos from your party, which is related to the second method I mentioned.

iPhone photo appIf you have now taken a bunch of photos and want to share them, you can do this by selecting the Albums button along the bottom of the screen, and then go into the specific folder (likely the Camera Roll).  To share them, tap the Edit button on the top right, and then tap to select all the photos that you wish to share.  Doing so will add a red checkmark, and tap again to remove it.  When you have selected all of the photos you want to share, simply tap the Share button on the bottom of the screen to load the Apple Share Sheet, and then select the Photo Stream icon (the one with the sunflower).  The following screen is the “Add to a Photo Stream” setup page, when you can now specify your previously created “My Birthday Party!” stream, or a new one by tapping the bottom option of “New Photo Stream…” which will take you through the steps listed above.  If you tap one of the previously made streams, you will get a neat little card with a paperclip indicating that photos are attached, with the stream’s name on the bottom, and allowing you the option of typing and optional comment, such as “Check out the photos I took with my iPhone at my birthday party!  I’m sharing this over a private photo stream.  I didn’t realize how easy this was!  It’s awesome!”  Or something like that.  :)  Then tap the blue Post button in the top right, and the photos are automatically added to the stream, and those who you elected to share with are notified that you have shared photos with them and they are available for viewing.  If you wish to change who you are sharing these photos with later, you can load the list of Photo Streams, tap the blue arrow next to the relevant stream, and then make any change that you wish

In my next posts, I will talk about some more options that you have available to share your photos, including sharing by text message or email, and also by using some other services such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, some of the most popular services currently available.

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