Best tech for sharing baby pictures with grandparents?
February 16, 2012 9:58 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way for us to share pictures with moderately tech-unsaavy grandparents?

Baby Betelgeuse is now 6 days old (previously) and absolutely adorable (if I do say so myself). The grandparents are clamoring for more pictures; always with the "more pictures."

I have a lot of pictures and have emailed them to them, but I feel like there has to be a better way. We got them both iPads for Christmas, so that seems like they have the perfect tool. I'm pretty tech-saavy, but both my parents and inlaws are less so.

Here's my ideal setup:

1. Either myself or Ms. Betelgeuse upload the pictures to a web site whenever we have new pictures. The upload process is easy and supports different platforms (MacOS and iOS are first priority, but Windows and Linux support would also be great).
2. Any time they want, the grandparents can open up an app on their ipad and see whatever pictures happen to be in the account.
3. If they want to, they can also download the full-resolution pictures onto a computer and print them out (so they have "real pictures," as my mom says).

Optional but also great would be to be able to sometimes share some small number of pictures with a wider circle.

So, what's the right way to do this? I'm will to pay a bit to make this work, although I'd like to avoid making them have to pay much more than a couple bucks for the iPad app.
posted by Betelgeuse to Technology (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
There are WiFi-enabled digital picture frames that can be pointed to a flickr account and even managed remotely. You might not be able to print physical copies from it, but such a digital picture frame might be an excellent way to passively receive and view pictures.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:01 AM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Minus is easy to use, has multiple apps, and best of all they offer 10GB free disk space!
posted by fix at 10:03 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

It doesn't meet all your requirements, but for one set of grandparents, the best system we have seems to be uploading pics to an actual store site (Walgreens or Target) and as part of the upload, it sends them an email alert. This allows them to both view the pictures and order prints. It's not iPad dependent, but they also don't have to go through the trouble of saving individual photos to the iPad.
posted by mattbucher at 10:04 AM on February 16, 2012

What I did with my un-tech savvy sister and my equally vocal parents was:

I created a Flickr account for her. She sends photos directly from her phone to Flickr at her Flickr email address. The grandparents have the Flickr page set as their homepage. Sister takes photos all day long, grandparents have fresh baby porn fodder constantly. Sister also uploads sets and stuff now, but before she learned to do that the Flickr stream was sufficient to all needs.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:05 AM on February 16, 2012

Flickr or Picasa, a la what DarlingBri says.
posted by k8t at 10:15 AM on February 16, 2012

Kodak Pulse. They are stupid expensive but you can manage the content of the picture frame. No tech savvy needed. You can even tell it when to turn on and off. I have given away two as gifts right now, one to my not so tech literate grandmother, I just email the photos Poof they are on the frame.
posted by Felex at 10:19 AM on February 16, 2012

We use Flickr for this. Additionally, our AT&T cable has a Flickr channel that lets you view pics directly on the TV. Pretty neat. I dunno if Comcast or Verizon has a similar feature.
posted by gnutron at 10:20 AM on February 16, 2012

Yeah a Flickr account for them that is set to their browser home page [or get the flickr app] and then you can mark all the baby photos "family only" so that they can see them but every person on the internet can't. It will be free for them if they're not uploading photos. Adding more than 200 photos would cost you $25/year BUT you can keep it as a "last 200 photos" sort of situation and it will be free for you as well, you don't even have to have it be using your main Flickr account. Flickr also has a "print these photos at Target"option [they used to, I assume they still do?] which is good for this sort of thing.
posted by jessamyn at 10:31 AM on February 16, 2012


I sent my family the URL for my and my husband's Flickr stream. (My family is, at least, web-savvy enough to know how to click on and bookmark a link, but not much more than that, and they're also somewhat intimidated by the world of apps.) I get messages from more-distant family members ALL THE TIME about whatever cute thing my kid did that day--that is a nice side benefit about this setup. We do mark some pictures with greater privacy settings, but the family had little interest in setting up a free account, even with the tantalizing promise of Baby Butt.
posted by tchemgrrl at 10:43 AM on February 16, 2012

No mater what you do online, you should also sometimes just order prints for them via Snapfish. It's super cheap! They'll get the photos in the mail, and be sooo happy to have something tangible to look at and share with their friends.

Trust me, I've gone over this stuff with my mom endlessly, and even though she gets it, she just doesn't care about looking at photos on a screen the same way she does about holding them in her hand or keeping them in her purse.
posted by hermitosis at 10:48 AM on February 16, 2012

posted by empath at 10:50 AM on February 16, 2012

Great advice so far. I'll check out some of the great options provided here, but I have a question:

With Flickr Pro, can I do the following?

1. I upload the pictures to my Flickr Pro account.
2. Sign the grandparents up for a separate Flickr account and share the pictures with that account.
3. Give them (with their free Flickr accounts) the ability to download the images and print them (or send them to Snapfish/Target/Walgreens/whatever).

I love hermitosis's idea of ordering them "real pictures" using Snapfish, which we'll definitely do, but I'd like them to also have the option to do it themselves.

As a follow-up, does anyone have iOS Flickr apps that they particularly like?
posted by Betelgeuse at 11:42 AM on February 16, 2012

Yeah they will probably love the chance to order the pics themselves! I only recommended doing it for them because it seems like my mom just DOESN'T ever do it. Something about the extra step just bogs her down. Whereas if I send the prints, they go straight on the fridge and she makes a big fuss over them.

Flickr Pro should do all those things you mentioned.
posted by hermitosis at 11:56 AM on February 16, 2012

I would really encourage you to assess if the 2nd Flickr account for each set of gransparents is needed. They have to log in. They will get mail from strangers. They will forget passwords, have no idea how to reach your account, and will be sad.

FWIW my experience mirrors that of hermitosis. My mum just tells my sister what to print. My sister orders on photobox or snapfish or whatever and has the prints sent directly to Granparentville.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:10 PM on February 16, 2012

With Flickr Pro, can I do the following?

Yes. You can opt to share the images with friends, friends and family or family only [or "no one" but that's a little esoteric] and you can do this by batch or by image. So if you already use Flickr Pro you can set just your grandaprents' free account as "family" and then make 100+ baby photos "family only" and then your friends won't get drowned in 100+ baby photos. Unless that's what they want.... You can go to this page and set up who can print your photos so you could setup, again, family only for printing. And this all goes through snapfish, which I would also set up for them ahead of time, so it's easy peasy.
posted by jessamyn at 12:13 PM on February 16, 2012

Thanks guys, this is super-helpful.

I perhaps undersold my parents' and inlaws' computer abilities a bit. My inlaws are actually quite reasonable. My parents are clearly a level below, but they are both capable of web searching and email logging-on. Plus, my brother currently lives with them and will live near them for the forseeable future, so I think this will be a good solution.

The problem with the only one account thing is that I *totally* don't trust my mom to not (accidentally) delete all of the pictures in the Flickr account. I'd like to have some reasonable wall between her and write-access to the pictures.
posted by Betelgeuse at 12:40 PM on February 16, 2012

You might also look at Posterous. They could set it as a bookmark on their iPad screen. Easy to upload via email with a little text blurb to go with it.
posted by amanda at 3:12 PM on February 16, 2012

Posterous also sends out email alerts with each new post, so lots of folks can 'subscribe' to that blog. People love the email, and they forward them onto other friends and relatives.
posted by barnone at 9:41 PM on February 16, 2012

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