If you ever take photos with your iPhone, iPod or iPad then you probably use the My Photo Stream feature within iCloud to send your photos via wifi to your Mac or to other iOS devices that are linked to your personal iCloud account. However, iCloud includes another option, called Photo Sharing, that lets you share photos with other people as well.
See: How to share your photos through iCloud
To be honest, the Photo Sharing options in iOS are a bit of a mess, mainly because they’re rather untidily split between iPhoto – which does all the editing work – and the separate Photos app, which does all the organising. So let’s switch to Photos on our iPad and take a look at how things are set up there. At the moment, Photos shows us the standard Camera Roll, My Photo Stream, and a few other sets of photos imported from our Mac. And, down at the bottom of the screen, you can see two options for viewing either albums or the entire photo collection.
The first thing we need to do is to go into the iCloud Settings on our iPad. As you can see, My Photo Stream and Photo Sharing are separate options that both need to be individually activated if you want them to work on your iOS devices. One thing that isn’t really explained properly here is the fact that you can use Photo Sharing to share both videos and photos with your friends. That’s in contrast to My Photo Stream, which is limited to just photos. Let’s just turn Photo Sharing on and then switch back to the Photos app.
Look at the bottom of the screen in Photos and you’ll see that there’s now a third option – called Shared – alongside the options for viewing albums and photos. This sharing option works differently, depending on which versions of iOS and OS X you have on your various devices. If you’re running iOS 7 you can share both photos and videos, but iOS 6 will only let you share photos. Your friends also need iOS 7 or Mavericks (10.9) on their Mac if they want to share both photos and videos. There’s also a version of iCloud available for Windows, so you can share photos and videos with friends who have PCs too.
We’ve covered the creation of shared photo streams in our Mac tutorial, so we won’t repeat that side of things in too much detail here. Just click Create New Stream and you’ll be prompted to give your shared photo stream a name, and then to enter the email address of each person that you want to share the stream with. You can then browse through your albums in the Photos app and select the photos and videos that you want to share. There’s a problem here, though, and that brings us back to iPhoto again.
This is where that division between Photos and iPhoto gets messy. Here’s a photo that we were working on in last month’s tutorial. If you look at this photo in the Photos app you’ll still see the unedited original photo – not this later, edited version. If you want to add the edited version of the photo to your shared photo stream you need to open up the Share menu in iPhoto and click on Camera Roll. That allows you to save a new copy of the edited photo onto your Camera Roll, which you can then add to your shared photo stream.
When you select Camera Roll in the Share menu you’re given a number of options for adding photos. You can just add the current photo that you’re working on, or tap Choose Photos to quickly select multiple photos. You can then tap individual photos in the preview pane to add them all to the Camera Roll. There’s also the Range button in the toolbar at the top of the screen, which allows you select a series of consecutive photos. Just tap the first and last photos in the series and iPhoto will automatically add all the photos in between to the Camera Roll.
The edited photos that we just selected in iPhoto – rather than their unedited originals – are now copied onto the Camera Roll. Now we have to go back into the Photos app again. Tap on the Shared icon to view your shared photo stream and then tap on the Add button to add photos or videos to the stream. You can add some comments to introduce your photos and then tap Post to add them to the shared stream up in iCloud. All the people that you’ve invited will then be notified that there are new photos ready for them to view.
That’s a rather messy way of doing things, but there is one option within iPhoto that might make things a little easier. There’s an option in the Share menu within iPhoto to create slideshows. Select the photos that you want to include and the slideshow will automatically be added to the Projects window within iPhoto. You can choose from a variety of templates that include predefined transitions and effects, and there’s also a number of ready-made music tracks that you can add to the soundtrack of the slideshow. When you’re ready you can just tap the Share menu in the top-right corner again.
Tap the iCloud button in the Share menu and you’ll see a set of controls that allow you to publish the slideshow on the iCloud web site. The Share Slideshow Link command allows you to email a link to the web site to any of your friends, who can then just open the link in a web browser on any device that has an Internet connection. If you want to create and upload multiple slideshows you can also use the Add To Home Page command to create a Home Page that shows previews of all your slideshows so that people can quickly move from one slideshow to the next.