SendPhotos Gold 4
by: Lianne Reitter, November 2005
by: SendPhotos, Inc.
Requires: Windows 98-XP Professional, Virtual PC for installation on a Mac, Internet Explorer 5 or higher, 17MB free hard disk space, Internet access
Much to my delight, I get to revisit SendPhotos Gold, my all time favorite piece of software. For those of you who may have missed both of my previous reviews, let me first give you an idea of what this gem does and how it works.
If you have family or friends, a digital camera or a scanner, you undoubtedly know the pains involved in sending pictures over the Internet. You may not think that attaching photos to e-mail is really that difficult, but remember those on the receiving end? I got really tired of getting pictures from my sister-in-law of my niece’s nostrils. The pictures were so large, that’s all I could see of her until I saved the attachment to my hard drive and viewed it using another piece of software. And then I would get five or six pictures of their trip to the beach in one e-mail and by the time I was able to see the last picture I didn't even care anymore; it was too long and too convoluted a process until SendPhotos Gold came along.
In a nutshell, SendPhotos Gold 4 allows you to send your pictures over the Internet in a friendly format using colorful backgrounds, frames and caption text. The software installs easily and immediately gives you the familiar Windows explorer tree to choose the pictures you want to send. Once your choices have been made you proceed to the layout area where you can pick the background (or stationery), the size of your pictures, the frames you want to use, shadow effects, text color and how you want the pictures to line up in the final e-mail. Once you are satisfied with your creation, a simple click of the finish button brings up your e-mail software and you are ready to send your pictures; you need only pick the lucky recipients.
You can also edit your photos on the fly. By mousing over the picture in the layout screen, a box pops up to let you know that you need only click on the picture once to enter the editing menu. You can quickly and easily crop your picture, correct brightness and contrast levels, even get rid of red-eye. These editing features are not as sophisticated as what you might find in full photo editing software packages, but for sending your digital pictures quickly, and just the way you want them, they are just what you need.
SendPhotos Gold 4 allows you to make your own stationery too. Now I wouldn't have thought this a necessity at all as the stationery available for free download from the SendPhotos web site is plentiful and all of it is really quite creative. However, now that I can make my own, I've thought of all sorts of different ideas using my own pictures and my collection of clip art.
But what would a new version of a favorite piece of software be without some great improvements. The first notable change is in the number of picture file formats that SendPhotos supports. While JPG is still the most popularly used file format, SendPhotos Gold 4 also supports TIFF, GIF, BMP, PNG and WMF. The software will create your e-mail in JPG format only, but it’s still great to know that you can now use your clip art and older digitized photos without having to go to the trouble of converting them to JPG first.
Another great improvement is the ability to purchase prints of your pictures through LifePics photofinishers and it’s available to you right from the software’s front page. LifePics is available in the U.S. as of the review date, but there are plans for expansion into Canada and Europe. You don't have to use a professional service with SendPhotos Gold Version 4 to print your pictures. You can easily access your own photo printer with preformatted picture package layouts too. So if it’s one 5x7 or 9 wallet size prints, you can use SendPhotos Gold help you do that too.
But if you really just want to easily share your memories with everyone and anyone interested, the best way is to make use of a PhotoBlog. Quite simply, SendPhotos Gold now has it’s own blogging service for use by owners of the software. PhotoBlogs work pretty much the same was as e-mailing your photos. You design exactly how your photos look and how they are laid out and presented on the page, but instead of e-mailing them to all and sundry, you just post them to your SendPhotos weblog page with a special web page address. Anyone interested in seeing your pictures can visit your page and get the latest on the whole family.
SendPhotos Gold 4 is actually worth its weight in it . . . gold that is, but you can download the full program from the Novatix web site for just $29.95. Toss in another $5.00 and they will mail out a boxed CD to you in addition to your download. There is even a fully detailed PDF formatted manual available to take you through the product step by step. If that all sounds like a sales pitch, you're right—it is, and I love this software. Don't stop with just buying a copy for yourself either. Remember that old saying: “’Tis better to give than to receive!" Well in this case if you give SendPhotos to your family and friends you will receive their pictures in a manner far more pleasurable than the old fashioned way. No more niece’s nostrils! Great software. Highly recommended.
Comments? Questions? Qualms? Technical problems? Send an e-mail!