Kodak EasyShare

It's free. Let's get that out of the way first, because if you are seeking the economic way out, this is the way to go.

It's also available for both Macintosh and PC, so anyone can use it to organize their digital photographs. About the only requirement is that you need a broadband connection to download the software from Kodak's web site. The EasyShare software is a pretty big file to download.

Once you've downloaded the installation file, the rest is easy. The installation program will take you through each step to get the software up and running on your computer.

Benefits of Kodak EasyShare

A program named EasyShare should not be hard to figure out. It's good news for Kodak then that the software is easy to use. Large buttons let you create albums, add photos to albums, and rotate and edit your photographs.

You can add captions to your photos and mark ones that are your favorites.

If you want to print at home, there is a feature that will help you see your photos before you print them, so that you don't waste a lot of nice photo-quality paper on bad prints.

Kodak EasyShare works in conjunction with Ofoto, and you can upload your galleries to Ofoto's web site. Once your photos are uploaded, you can order prints directly from Kodak.

The thing that I like the most (and this might seem like terrible nit-picking) is that EasyShare has a feature that automatically stores each and every photograph you have in a gallery by date (year, month and even day). You don't have to set up anything special for this to work — it just does it.

The reason that I like this is that even if I can't remember all the details of every photo I take, at least I can remember when I took them. Example: how about photos from last year's vacation to Hawaii? Just go look in the 2003 folder and they'll turn up.

For those who want to go the extra step, you can also create your own albums. Albums can be used for just about any occasion (Thanksgiving 2004, New Pet, Trip to the Zoo, etc.). Once you store photos that are thematically similar in an album it makes it much easier for you to find them later.

Sharing With EasyShare

The sharp-eyed folks in the audience have noticed that the word "share" is in the software's name. This is a big part of this program, and there are many ways that it helps you share your photos with others.

First, if you have someone over to visit, you can select one of your galleries and let your guest see it as a full-screen slideshow. This really lets them get the full impact of the photos (since full-screen is much larger than a standard print).

I already mentioned that Kodak EasyShare is integrated with Ofoto, Kodak's online gallery and print service. EasyShare makes it pretty simple to select any gallery you have on your computer, and upload it to the Ofoto web site. Anyone with an Internet connection can see all of your photographs. Those without broadband should not try this at home.

For anyone with dialup, don't despair! There is still a way to share photos, even if the person you want to share with is not sitting right next to you. Kodak EasyShare has a feature that helps you e-mail your photos to anyone you like. The nice part about this feature is that it automatically reduces the size of the images that you send, so that you don't tie up your phone line for hours on end.

Limitations

In case you haven't noticed, I really like this program. For all the features it has, you really can't beat the price. Since it is free, it does have some limitations.

There is no search. Even if you take the time to diligently caption each and every digital photograph you take, you won't be able to search the caption text for important words later on. You can get around this with the date feature and albums, but if you have 6000 photos, it might be hard to find the one you're looking for.

Albums are one category at a time. This means that an album cannot be a sub-category of another album. For example, you cannot set up albums like this: Family > Brothers > Bill (where each subcategory is automatially associated with the one above it). Instead, you create 3 separate albums (one for family, one for brothers and one for Bill) and make sure that a photo that represents all 3 gets put into each one of the albums.

Both of these issues reflect the fact that Kodak EasyShare is designed to help you view and share your photos, not keep them all organized for the next 5 years. If you are looking for something that will keep better track of each and every photo you take, you'll want to take a look into Digital Asset Management (DAM) software, like Canto Cumulus.

More Information

You can find out more about the Kodak EasyShare software straight from Kodak's web site: Kodak EasyShare Software Features Overview