Outside of business, the four main uses for a personal computer appear to be email, web browsing, music, and digital photos. Apple’s iPhoto is the undisputed king of photo management software for Mac users.
Even iPhoto does not do a good job of creating attractive photo albums. What could be better? JAlbum is priced right (it’s free) and makes short work of great photo albums. All you need is a bunch of photos and a web browser. Share photo albums online or on CD for friends and family. How easy is easy? Drag, drop, click.
Why Photo Albums?
The digital photo revolution has all but destroyed photographic film. Printers print high quality photos at home for less than Walmart.
Instead of using a 36 shot roll of film that lasts a whole year, digital camera users snap dozens of photos at every event. The cost of a digital photo has dropped to almost nothing.
That means Mac users with digital cameras have lots of photos, most of them stuffed into iPhoto. Making those photos available to friends and family is just a click or two away.
The real problem with digital photos shows up when you want to share photos of an event. What’s the best way to share an attractive album of digital photos?
Let Me Count The Ways
Sharing is easy. Pick one of the twenty eleven ways. Even iPhoto makes it easy to share photos on Flickr or MobileMe’s Gallery.
Or, just export a whole bunch of photos, or burn an album to a CD, and share the CD with friends and family. Or, put the photos into a QuickTime movie and share online.
The only real problem with those point and click albums is that they’re boring. Boringly boring. Flickr is handy, yes, and priced right, but certainly not reflective of your personality. Even the customizations are not personal.
The Solution Is Free
What Mac users need, want, and deserve is a simple application that takes your photos, and, with a click or two, creates beautiful browser-based photo albums. For free.
That’s JAlbum. Download, drag and drop into Applications to install. Then, double click. You’re ready to create an attractive, almost professional digital photo album you can share online or anywhere.
Initially, you’re prompted to set up a JAlbum account online. Go ahead. It’s free, too, and gives you yet another option for sharing photos.
JAlbum’s interface is Mac simple. The tools and buttons are self explanatory, so you’ll be able to create an album in just a few clicks. Start by using drag and drop. For example, export an album from iPhoto. Drag and drop the photos onto JAlbum’s open window. Or, click the Add Photos button to find digital photos on your Mac.
Click to Create
JAlbum is not Photoshop but comes with tools to help you enhance your photos. These include crop, color levels, red eye removal, sharpen, flip, straighten and more. Double click any photo to edit.
You can add a caption for each photo and change the photo name. Mary’s Cat is better than DSCN1039.jpg. JAlbum’s photo albums use special skins to create different styled albums.
Click the Skin and Style buttons to select from a bunch of album styles and colors or to get more online. Clicking each displays a pop up example of the album and color schemes.
When you’ve selected a color theme and style, simply click the Make JAlbum button. Seconds later the album is done. Click Preview to see the album in your web browser. Click Publish to upload the album to your JAlbum site online (think of it as Flickr Lite).
Wait! There’s More!
Making digital photo albums that don’t look like all the rest is easy in JAlbum, but there’s even more control and options hiding under the Settings and Preferences.
General Settings change each album title and description. Pages are controlled by column and row, and images ordered by date. Even image linking can be controlled by the Pages tab in Settings.
Additional image controls show up in the Images tab to sharpen or enhance the jpeg image quality, and to set thumbnail and image sizes. The Advanced tab features encoding options, date format, meta data, naming and other variables.
The Chameleon tab has more settings for design, album information, startup page, slide page, and much more. In other words, it’s a snap and a click to create, but customization is available for the die hard album maker who demands control.
If you find that iPhoto falls short in the photo album department, try JAlbum. There are more options, more albums, and more ways to display, distribute, and share your digital photos.