We looked at a new instant photo transmission service that is geared for professionals and is currently being used by NBC and some news magazines to let editors see what their photographers are shooting, as they shoot it.

It’s called LightBox Network ( and is surprisingly reasonable. For $20 a month, you get online collaboration tools for photo editing, organizing and distributing. The Live tool, which costs an extra $10 a month, works only with Macintosh computers, but it lets others watch what you’re shooting while you’re shooting it and share notes with you before downloading.

The camera needs to be linked to a computer to get the photos up on the Web site. Then the art director or client, anywhere in the world, can see what’s being shot and make suggestions before the shoot is over. This can be done with a Bluetooth link to a laptop or desktop computer nearby, or by what used to be called “sneakernet.” That’s when someone takes the memory chip out of the camera and plugs it into a computer that’s connected to the Internet. It’s low-tech, but that’s how NBC did it at the Golden Globes awards ceremony.

The LightBox system is somewhat similar to a free service fromĀ With Sharpcast, previews of your photos drop instantly into the photo albums of everyone on your “share list.” The instant you update your own album, others can download the photos at full resolution.

But Sharpcast users only share photos and comments; LightBox offers dozens of options for each photo. Viewers can rank them, correct the color, add watermarks, include copyright info and add info about the kind of camera used.

Most LightBox users now work in photography studios and have their cameras tethered to computers. But times are changing. Some photos are now being sent to Web sites through a high-speed cellular network called 3G EVDO. The letters stand for “Evolution Data Optimized.” Photos and other data can be transmitted at 300KB to 700KB per second. A three-megabyte photo would take four to 10 seconds to transmit. You could be out in the field and send photos from your camera wirelessly to your cell phone and from there to the Web. The cost for this service runs about $40 to $60 a month.

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