Millions of us already have a digital camera, and millions more are buying this year.  Sure, most cameras come with software, and some computers come with software for photo editing, but none make it truly simple and easy to send photos in an elegant fashion through email . . . until now.  No matter what image editing software you may have, you will want this program, too.

The program is a $30 direct download called SendPhotos and it really is among the easiest found to date, and certainly one of the most creative.

Ideal for everyone, SendPhotos automates in simple, prompted steps, everything required to send photos from anywhere on your PC to anyone, and with extra touches you and your recipients will love. SendPhotos is exactly the kind of transparent, idiot-proof and useful program that has the opportunity to help every Windows-PC user really enjoy sharing photos, whether from a digital camera or scanned-in. It is unlike any other program of its type about which I am aware.

Once loaded and launched, there are a few simple settings, including automatically checking for a new version of the software.  The user fills in forms with name and sender’s email address.  Then comes the critical question: What email method is used?  Is it Outlook2000/XP or Outlook Express?  Or is it some other, such as AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo?  SendPhotos is fully integrated with Outlook, so much so that a link to SendPhotos appears directly in the email window.

Once configured, the rest is a snap, and lots of fun.  Choosing photos, one or many, is accomplished through a clean user interface, with PC folders on the left and thumbnails or lists, your choice, in the large window to the right.  Select the check box for the chosen pix and click to the next step.  Here is where SendPhotos’ elegance and simplicity shine.

Select from several useful layouts – single photo, multiple rows of photos, top photo prominent and many others.  Choose from more than 50 built-in stationery designs with even more available for free download (there is even a link to these in the SendPhotos window). Once at the site for additional downloads, there is also a link for suggestions.  Currently, there are designs for holidays, vacation, pets, new babies, sports, greeting cards, and more. Select background colors, photo appearance from smaller to larger, photo frames or other borders, drop shadow, or plain, and so on.

The selected layout seen by the sender is exactly the way the recipient sees it in the received email, regardless of whether it is in AOL mail or any other program.

It may appear to be a bit complicated by listing all the choices as I have, but trust me, in practice, it is really easy and I have to say, fun to do.

Then, add a personal message (or none at all) at the top of the window right where you are prompted to do so, with choice of fonts and styles, and go on to caption your selected photos, the way YOU want it.  Add smileys or other emoticons, too.

Choose the placement order of the selected photos and rotate them if desired.

Finally, add more text in the “window” below the photos.  When it’s just the way you want it to look, click on the “Send” icon the off it all goes, with each photo resized for maximum viewing pleasure and minimum number of bytes.

This last item is among the most important.  Upload and download speed is critical to the usefulness of such a program and the enjoyment by the receiving party.  If you take a 3 or 4 megapiixel photo and decide to just send it as is, that will be a long upload and long download. By automatically resizing the photos, SendPhotos assures that any user and recipient will not only send photos as fast as possible, even using dial-up, but the recipient will spend the least amount of time receiving until being able to see what is sent. Your thoughtful photo email will appear right in their received email window and NOT as an attachment.

Depending upon how you have set up the program, your email may be sent through the developer’s facilities, so it does not have to launch your AOL or Web-based e-mail program.  But, that is all transparent to the user.  It still looks as if it came directly from you.  This, however, is yet another reason why SendPhotos is so easy to use. When your photo email is being sent, you will see a progress window.  There is even a link in the program so you can see past sent SendPhotos emails and also build your own address book of recipients.

To sum it all up, it’s an easy three-step program, if you count sending as the last step.  First, select your pictures.  Next, choose your stationary.  Finally, send your photos.  One, two, three, just like that!

There has been thoughtful development to make this is as user friendly as possible, and it shows.

I even tried to use the program with VirtualPC on my Mac and it works just fine, if a bit slow, but that is only because VirtualPC is slower than a real PC.  I can only hope there is a real Mac version some time in the near future.  However, Mac users already have an easy to use photo-sending program built into the free iPhoto software available to all Mac OS X users. As simple and uncomplicated as iPhoto is in sending photos in email, I like the sharing options offered in SendPhotos even more, because the photos are not attachments but, rather, part of the email itself, and you get to do that cool stationary formatting.  Apple would do well to work with this developer to integrate the best of SendPhotos into their iPhoto program.  SendPhotos automatically makes the images the right size with the least amount of data and you have to do, well, nothing.

If you want the recipient to be able to print photos that are sent, you CAN attach the original photo files to send along with your SendPhotos email.  Of course, as indicated, that increases upload and download time, but the flexibility is there just the same.

SendPhotos operates on all current Windows flavors – 98, ME, 2000 and XP.  Find out more from the developer at www.novatix.com. Check it out, select to have a sample email sent to you so you can see the program in action and then download the free eval.  When you buy, there is a risk-free 30-day money back guarantee.  There is no doubt you will love this program and recommend it to your friends and family!

Please let me hear from you with your experiences!

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