Only want to share your photos once this holiday season? Here’s how

Passing around your iPhone or making everyone stand behind you glaring at a tiny screen is not the best way to show a group of people your photos. Following, friending, sharing and inviting can be a time-consuming process when all you really wanted to do was show a few people a couple of your best photos. The following is a list of ways to quickly and easily share a collection of photos, without extending your online social circle. That way you can have multiple people viewing your favorite moments of the year all at once.

Share Your Photos URL with a Keyboard Shortcut

If you have already shared your photos with the entire world, sending a link to your online photo album may be all it takes. FlickrSmugMugShutterFly, whatever online photo service you have chosen to store and share your photos from all have the ability to publicly share your photos via a URL. All you need is just a quick and convent way of sharing the URL to your photo album. And a keyboard shortcut is the way to do just that.

As an example, you can set up a keyboard shortcut like ‘shrpho’, short for ‘Share Photos’. To do so, go to Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts and add a new Keyboard Shortcut on your iOS device. Set the phrase to the URL that points to your online photo library and set the shortcut to ‘shrpho’. Now every time you type ‘shrpho’, your keyboard will give you the option to replace it with your photo library’s URL. It works much the same way as the keyboards auto correct feature works. This should make remembering, cutting and pasting access to your photo library much easier. One group message of the URL and your done.

Apple’s iCloud Photo Stream Sharing Public URL

Apple’s Shared Photo Stream is by invitation only. Each new Photo Stream you set up can have its own unique list of viewers. These invited guests will then automatically get notified each and every time you add a photo to your Shared Photo Stream. Adding someone you just met or someone who may be interested in seeing your photos just once is not always practical; you may not want to let them know every time you add a new photo to your Shared Photo Stream.

What you can do is temporarily turn on the Public Website for a given Shared Photo Stream. You can enable this in much the same way you add people to your Shared Photo Stream. Open the Photos App and select the Shared Photo Stream you would like someone to view. Tap on “People” and scroll down to the bottom of the screen. From here you will be able to toggle on and off the Public Website for this Photo Stream. When you do enable this feature, a URL will be generated that you can share with anyone.

Share Your iPhone’s Camera Roll Over Local Wi-Fi

The app that I have used over and over to quickly and easily move photos around from device to device has been the Photo Transfer App ($2.99 Universal). It works on iOS, OS X, Android and Windows. Originally designed to download photos off of your device, it can also be used to create a Wi-Fi based photo gallery directly from your device. You can even select only the photos you wish to share.

You start out by choosing to “Send” photos to another device, or “Other” device. Then select the individual photos from your devices photo library. Once the photos have been selected you are ready to start sharing them using the URL created by the app. Share this URL with anyone else on the same local WiFi network and they will be able to browse and download any photo you have elected to send to them.  This will allow others to view your photos at their own pace.

Your Own Pocketable Media Server

If you would rather carry your photo albums with you in your pocket — that is to say all of your photo albums — then perhaps a small media server is what you need. The advantage this method has over other methods is volume. You can carry terabytes of photos and home movies with you all at once. It is limited only by the capacity of the device you buy. Not only are these Wi-Fi enabled portable media servers small in size, they also come with rechargeable batteries.

The one that I settled on was from LaCie, the LaCie FUEL which ships with either a 1TB or 2TB internal hard drive. It comes with a companion app, LaCie Media (Free Universal) which appears to be identical to Seagate’s own app Seagate Media app (Free Universal).

With it you can easily manage your music, photos and videos. It is powered by a rechargeable battery and can either create its own WiFi network as well as join an existing one. Once your photos are on the device, they can be accessed either by the custom app downloadable from the app store, or via a direct URL to the device. Other devices like the Seagate Wireless Plus work in much the same manner.  They can all provide instant access to tens of thousands of photos instantly.