How to Make the Most of All Those Digital Pics
Even though 14.5 billion digital photos were snapped in the United States last year, only 35 percent of America's digital camera owners actually printed any of their pictures. That's a confounding statistic, especially when you consider the current slew of options. We tested photo-organizing software, printing Web sites, portable storage devices, and travel-sized printers to get you started. So what are you waiting for?Post your pictures on-line, blow them up to wallpaper size, or just print a shoeboxful and squirrel them away for old times' sake.—ROBERT MANIACI
1 Get Organized Toss the software your digicam came with—it's less user-friendly than Picasa 2 (picasa.google.com; free), which searches your computer for new photos, offers basic one-click editing tools, and lets you swap pics via its own instant messenger. For enhanced editing, try Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 (www.adobe.com; from $90), which adds tint filters and retouching tools.
2 Store and print on the go Leave the extra-large memory cards at home and take Archos's PMA430 (www.archos.com; $750) with you. This 30GB portable media center serves as a storage device and lets you upload photos directly from a camera's USB port. You can also view your entire collection of pictures and watch movies on its crisp four-inch screen. Not everyone wants to pack a printer—but the latest designs weigh less than most laptops, so you can hand out family reunion snaps before everyone scatters. · Our favorite portable 4'' x 6'' printer is Canon's SELPHY CP600 (www.usa.canon.com; $250), which weighs under two pounds and prints directly from a wide range of cameras—no computer needed— in 63 seconds. Epson's PictureMate Deluxe Viewer Edition (www.mypicturemate.com; $250) weighs in at 51/2 pounds but has a color LCD to preview and edit images and lets you plug any memory card straight into it, taking even the camera out of the picture.
3 Jump on the Web When you're ready to make prints, the Internet is the natural place to start. Here, our favorite imaging sites.
PRICE FOR ONE 4'' x 6'' PRINT 25 cents. NICE SHOT The new incarnation of Ofoto has plenty of editing and special-effects features—from tints to cartoon-style filters—and dozens of borders to slap on your prints. We love the guarantee—Kodak reprints any orders you're not happy with. Next to Shutterfly, the site provides the highest-quality prints. OUT OF FOCUS The default zoom-and-trim function sometimes crops images too closely; turn it off if your family photo fills the frame.
PRICE FOR ONE 4'' x 6'' PRINT 29 cents. NICE SHOT A well-organized site with an uncluttered look; great for beginners. The photo search function—look for images by date, caption, or print order—ensures you'll never lose a picture. You can upload directly from iPhoto, a bonus for Mac users. Shutterfly's prints were the best, hands down. OUT OF FOCUS The only editing tools are red-eye fix and crop (everything else involves tints and borders).
PRICE FOR ONE 4'' x 6'' PRINT 12 cents. NICE SHOT The Web site's uncropped digital prints— sized 4'' x 5.3'' instead of 4'' x 6''—leave the image intact (other printers crop around the edges). Book a trip on Travelocity.com, and you get 20 prints free. Like Kodak, Snapfish reprints pictures you're not happy with; they also give 10 percent off your next order. OUT OF FOCUS Editing tools are difficult to find. Their prints looked a little flat and yellow.
4 Keep It Old-School If you're making tons of prints, you'll need somewhere to display them. Sukie's silk-screened, linen-covered albums (www.sukie.co.uk; $62) are our pick for your best travel pics.