All the Ways You Can Share Your Photos and Videos from Google Photos

Google Photos allows you to share your photos and videos in a number of ways, including privately with friends and broadly across social media. Here are some of our best practices for the most common use cases to ensure successful and enjoyable sharing.

You can share your photos and videos from your Google Photos library via in-app notifications and features, email, messaging apps and social media. We’re going to focus on the most common types of sharing we’ve come across.

Quick “in-the-moment” shares

Many times, using messaging apps (e.g. — iMessage, Messenger, Whatsapp) or sending an email is the quickest way to share that funny photo you just took of your friend. This is as easy as:

  • Find the photos/videos you wish to share and select them
  • Click the share button

From the sharing menu simply select a Google Photos user OR your preferred messaging app (e.g. — iMessage, Messenger, Whatsapp) or email app (e.g. — Gmail, Mail).

In the mobile app, select your photos and videos, click the share button and select how you want to share
On desktop/laptop, select your photos and videos, click the share icon in the header and select how you want to share

Pro Tip: If it’s a recent photo, it’s easiest to simply navigate to the Photos tab which is sorted in reverse chronological order. What you’re looking for is probably right at the top. If it’s not so recent, we always recommend using search. Also note if you send an in-app notification, Google creates a shared album labeled with the date you shared the photo or video.

Sharing photos and videos via social media and other apps

Google Photos makes it very easy to share individual items or entire albums via social media sites like Facebook. Follow the same steps outlined in the “in-the-moment” shares section above.

In the mobile app, tapping the Facebook icon shares your selected items to Facebook
On desktop/laptop, clicking the icon shares your selected items to Facebook

Sharing SPECIFIC photos and videos of your child or pet that YOU CHOOSE on an ongoing basis

You are the curator in this instance. You don’t want your Mom and Dad to see every picture of your child, but you do want them to see the ones you choose. This has become more and more relevant as concerns over privacy persist. Many users are looking for ways to share in a more private setting with their closest friends and family. Shared albums in Google Photos are best for sharing photos/videos with specific people such as your friends and family without posting to social media. Only the creator of the album is able to:

  • Make changes to the album
  • Control who can add photos/videos
  • Can adjust who has access to the album
The settings in shared albums give you complete control

If you’re not familiar with how to create an album leveraging the Google Photos search feature, please be sure to check out our guide as it can save you quite a bit of time for certain types of projects.

Be sure to click “Select photo” during your shared album set up

Sharing EVERY SINGLE photo of your child or pet

For sharing every photo and video of a specific person or pet, use the Live album feature recently launched by Google. You can select your newborn child or your pet and every time that you add photo/video that includes your child or pet, it will automatically be added to the album for anyone with access to see.

Creating a shared space for others to share from an event (e.g. wedding, birthday party, etc.)

We all have those instances. You had an epic weekend trip or your best friend got married and it was the time of your life. For some reason with all the tools today it’s still difficult to share photos/videos from a recent event. We suggest starting a Google Photos shared album before the event and encourage people to add their photos/videos there. The limitation here is that everyone will need a Google account, but given the fact that Google Photos supports nearly every mobile device and computer out there, we feel this is by far the easiest and most flexible option.

Make sure you enable the Collaborate setting so others can add to the shared album

If your collaborators use Dropbox, have them share the Dropbox folder with their uploaded photos/videos. Once you’ve accepted the shared folder invite in Dropbox (please see our help article on this if you need more details), you can use Gather to pull them into your Google Photos library.

Sharing EVERY photo with your partner or spouse

For sharing every single photo and video in your library with a partner or spouse (and vice versa) we suggest using the partner account feature. You can link your account with your partner and automatically access each other’s library and easily add photos to your own library if you wish.

Add your partner account in the settings menu in Google Photos

Some suggestions for successful and enjoyable sharing

Google Photos is not a social network. Everything you upload to Google Photos is private by default. Once you share, assume it’s open season for people to download, reshare on the web, etc. Yes you can restrict access at a later date, but if they already downloaded the photo/video, there’s not much you can do.

When sharing albums, we recommend a “group first, share second approach” in most cases. Pick the photos and videos you want to share and add them to a standard (private) album first. Check for duplicates. Check for mistaken adds. For example, when sharing photos with your parents of a trip with your friends, make sure you only share the photos of sightseeing and your meals, the rest you should probably leave out. When you have the right group of photos and videos, you can share more confidently.

Use search to help you identify the photos and videos you wish to share. It should come as no surprise that Google Photos has an incredibly powerful search capability built-in. Filter your library by searching for people, places and objects first and then make your selections for the album.

Let the Assistant help you. Don’t be creeped out that the Assistant knows when to suggest specific albums and who to share them with (often referred to as “suggested shares”). It’s actually a very simple process and a brilliant execution by the Google Photos team. They’ve built logic into the Assistant which looks for groupings of photos by the date, time and location metadata as well as information Google adds like facial recognition. You can choose to dismiss the suggestions or automatically create and share with specific people. It’s a great feature and we suggest you use it early on in your Google Photos experience.

Don’t be shy. Google doesn’t have a limit on the number of shared albums you can have and you can always delete ones that you’re no longer using. They also have massive limits for items in an album. In a shared album, each person can add up to 10,000 photos. We’d say that’s plenty.

We hope this guide has been helpful to show you all the ways you can use Google Photos to share your photos/videos. If you’re hooked on Google Photos like we are, here are some other Google Photos guides we created.

Articles on this topic by other people

Sharing Online Albums With Google Photos (New York Times)