Sharing photos with SkyDrive albums

Sharing photos by using Windows Live SkyDrive albums is a many-splendored thing. SkyDrive serves many purposes and there are many ways of creating and sharing albums. How you start and the order of your procedure results in different outcomes. This can be confusing and interesting, useful and aggravating.

A SkyDrive album can be created at least three different ways. These methods also define how such an album is shared. Several sharing approaches are available. What the recipient sees can vary and even be different from one person to another. That is the magic of SkyDrive, a rapidly evolving “cloud” service, much promoted by Microsoft, scarcely explained, and little understood.

Creating a SkyDrive album

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  1. A SkyDrive photo album can be created when signed in online to Windows Live.
  2. Windows Live Photo Gallery offers two ways to initiate a SkyDrive photo album. One method is to share to SkyDrive the other by Photo email (see the white and red arrows in the illustration).
  3. Live Mail can be used to initiate an album. This is really also the second method listed for Live Photo Gallery.
  4. You can produce a new album in the online Hotmail “new message” page.

OK, so I have already listed four ways of doing it. Each one of these leads to different results in some way.

Sharing an album

Two of the methods for creating an album, Photo email, Live Mail, and online Hotmail, imply sharing in the way the album is created. Yes, I listed three here, Photo email and Live Mail are really the same. When you select thumbnails in Live Photo Gallery and click Photo email, Live Mail is loaded (if it is your default email client) and the photos are already preloaded. Of course, you can use Live Mail manually. There are some nice features in this method that I will skip in this article.

When you create an album as part of starting an email, of course, you will be sharing it with the recipients. That takes care of creating the album and sharing  it. An email goes to each of the recipients advising them that you shared an album.

The other method is to share an existing the album from the SkyDrive album page. There are several option there for doing this. You can send a link  – again there are several of ways of doing this, two ways to generate an email with the link, you can get the album web address and paste it manually into an email.

SkyDrive albums can also be set to share with “friends”. This method will also automatically inform your friends provided they use and pay attention to Live Messenger.image

Let’s look at the options in SkyDrive.

Go to the album in your SkyDrive. Note the “Sharing” section in the information pane on the right. There are several links for sharing there.

Edit permissions

imageSetting permission for an album defines who you are sharing with. There are a lot of options there. First there is the “Who can access this” slider. The bottom, “Me”, setting is the most private. With this setting nobody is automatically informed via Messenger. The settings for “Some friends” and “Friends” have additional options to permit your friends to contribute to the album. Note the setting of either “Can view photos” or “Can add, edit details, and delete photos”. You can share an album with friends and their friends, or set it to “Everyone (public)”. Albums that I use to illustrate this blog are set to public so that you can get to them and see the photos.

In addition to the slider and the access options, you can add additional people, they do not have to be Windows Live friends. You enter their email address. After clicking the Save button there is an option to send those folks an email with a link to the album. You should inform your friends of such an  email as it may wind up in their spam or junk folder since it comes from an address imageother than yours.

The illustration here shows how such an email looks. The email contains several links. Your logo and name links to your Windows Live profile page. The thumbnail and “View album” links go to the SkyDrive album.

Send a link

Another way to share a SkyDrive album is with the “Send a link” option. This sends an email just like the “Add additional people” option in “Edit permissions”. The recipient is added to the list and is shown on the permission page.

Get a link

imageThe “Get a link” option opens a page with the URL in a text box. If the album is public only one URL is shown. Click Copy to copy the URL to your clipboard. You may have to give permission to allow access to your clipboard. The web address is rather long, don’t try to type it out, just paste it into an email from the clipboard.

imageIf the album permission is not set to “Everyone (public)”, the “Get a link” page shows two URLs.

One URL is for sharing with Windows Live friends. They will need to sign in to their Windows Live account to get to your album with this link.

The other URL is marked “Share with everyone”. The note says: “Anyone can use this link to view the item without signing in to Windows Live”. You can send this to someone who is not a Windows Live friends. This even works for albums with the permission set to “Me”, that is, to you only! So be careful with this option!

There are a couple more sharing options shown farther down in this article. Options that allows sharing in a blog post or on a website.

Viewing a shared SkyDrive album

For the email methods the recipient, of course, receives an email. imageOne version of such an email looks like the illustration here. Each of the thumbnails is a link and there are a couple of links in the email.

The links show the album a couple of ways. The prettiest version opens a Live Photo Gallery window showing the clicked photo. imageThere is a “start” button to run a self-changing slide show. You can display this full-screen. The only shortcoming is that the slide show does not repeat automatically.

imageThis Live Photo Gallery slide show is also reached from Messenger. Your Windows Live friends will see a small slide show of your album in Live Messenger.

The alternate album link is to the SkyDrive album directly.

Most links to a SkyDrive album go right to SkyDrive, for some people signing in to their own Windows Live account is required depending on the album sharing permission setting.

imageThe album can be seen just like you see it except that there may be fewer options in the information pane. Here are two views of the info pane. The left one is your view and those friends who have “edit” access, the right illustration shows what other visitors see.

It is not noted anywhere, but to display the photos full screen, just click the F11 key (click it again to return to normal view).

Some more ways to share

If you have a blog or a website you can share a SkyDrive album quite easily. Make the album public so your site visitors will not be blocked. In a blog post prepared with Windows Live Writer, you can have something like this:

For a website you might include a photo with a link to your album like this:

Cafe Art at Cafe Ludwig

The link, of course, is one you obtained with the “Get a link” option.


© 2011 Ludwig Keck

About Ludwig

Lending a helping hand where I can. . . My motto: If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
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6 Responses to Sharing photos with SkyDrive albums

  1. Sheilah says:

    How do you send just one picture and not the whole album?

    • Ludwig says:

      With the latest SkyDrive update (November 2011) the sharing system has been completely changed. It is now possible to share just one photo. The recipient still has access to other items on your SkyDrive that are public, or that are shared with a group including the recipient. Go to the photo in SkyDrive and click “Sharing” then “Share” in the information pane. You can then enter the email address of one or more recipients in the new dialog. They will receive an email with a link to the photo. The recipient has to sign in (or be signed in already) with a Live ID of the same email address. That can be a hassle.
      The easiest way to share just one photo is to attach it to an email – not a photo email, just plain “attach file”.
      I expect some more changes to SkyDrive, so I have not yet updated the sharing instructions.

  2. izzy says:

    My album has the 3rd photo I uploaded as the lead photo. I would like the first one, but I can’t change it and don’t know why it did it in the first place.

    Any suggestions?

    The first photo is of flowers, the third is a person.


    • Ludwig says:

      The last photo in a folder is used as the cover photo that is seen first. Keep in mind that the “cover” runs a mini slide show of all the photos in the folder. It starts with the last photo. You can change the order – click Arrange photos in the right pane. Then in the arrange page, just drag and drop the photos into the order you like.

  3. charles cron says:

    This is totally confusing.I still don’t know how to send something to skydrive or how to tell the recipients how to access the photos.CC

    • Ludwig says:

      Thank you Charles for commenting. This worked well back when this post was published in September of 2011. SkyDrive has been totally overhauled and looks and acts much different today. I will just have to work up a new post on this, thank you for the nudge!

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