Digital photography not only gives photographers and snapshot enthusiasts new ways to produce images, but also new ways to store, display and archive them. While many people still enjoy flipping through a physical photo album, photo galleries on compact discs are a popular alternative. Digital galleries located on a hard drive or online represent other options with their own advantages and disadvantages.
One major advantage of photo galleries on CDs compared to physical albums is their capacity. A single CD can store hundreds of images that would otherwise fill several large, bulky albums. This makes CD photo galleries easy to transport and store.
However, a computer hard drive or online server can store thousands of photos without any additional physical media. CDs are more portable, but have a much lower capacity, than desktop hard drives that can store millions of images on a single device. Online photo sharing websites allow users to log on and view photos from any computer or portable device connected to the Internet. CDs may be ideal for storing smaller collections, such as all of the photos from a specific event or year, but they can be cumbersome for storing a larger image collection.
Photo CDs offer photographers and image collectors the ability to keep their photos safe in the event of a fire or other disaster. Individuals that have CDs with digital photo galleries can copy and reproduce them many times without any loss to the quality of the images. Physical albums are vulnerable to theft and fire, and can decay over time even under ideal conditions.
While it's easy to make multiple copies to prevent loss, an individual CD photo gallery is still vulnerable. Improper handling can produce scratches that render a disc unreadable, and rewritable CDs are subject to accidental deletion.
Another advantage of photo CDs is the ease with which many people can share in the viewing experience. Many DVD players, and nearly all computers, can display photos stored on a CD photo gallery in standard file formats like Bitmaps and JPEGs. Only two or three people at a time can view a photo album, making it difficult to use with a large group.
Online galleries offer an even more far-reaching form of exhibition. While CD photo galleries may be able to entertain a room full of people, online galleries can give family members and friends access to a photo album from anywhere, at any time, making them much more versatile than CD galleries..
Photo CDs also make it easier to edit photos. Instead of going through the process of removing images from the pages of a physical album and scanning them, users can import files directly from the CD to retouch, crop and resize images with photo editing software. Photo CDs share this advantage with photo galleries on a computer's hard drive. However, in the case of rewritable CDs, individuals can quickly save the edited photo back to the same disc without disrupting the organisation of the gallery or needing to produce a new disc.