Google Photos: What is the best way to give my kids all the photos I have of them?

If you want to share photos with family or friends, they don’t have to use Google Photos. You can get a link from your Google Photos album and anyone you send the link to can open it and view the photos in that album, even if they don’t have a Google account. But, if they do use Google Photos then you can share photos with simple methods that allow them to view your photos from their own Google Photos app in the Sharing section, and they can copy your photos and save them to their own Google Photos library.

A friend of mine recently asked “What is the best way to give my kids all the photos I have of them?” Since her kids do use Google Photos, here’s my answer:

Sharing by using an Album

The first step is for Mom to make an album with all the photos of each kid. She can start with the Face grouping that Google Photos has already gathered. Find the face group for Andy and click the button at the top for “Share as Album.” This will make a regular Album with all the photos of that face. Name it something like “Andy’s photos from Mom” Then she shares the album with Andy by clicking the share button and then clicking on Andy’s profile photo since, I’m sure he’s in Mom’s contacts right? Once she has that album, she is in control. She can delete some of the photos, and maybe add others.

Note: since this album was created from the face grouping, it will continue to automatically add any new photos with that face in it. Andy, in this case, will get notifications when new photos are added. If you don’t want this, open the album, click the 3-dot menu at the top right and select Options. You will now see the face that is being automatically added, click it and then click Stop.

Andy will see the Shared album in his Google Photos under the Sharing section. He can open it and see all the photos. But, those are still Mom’s photos. The album is just a window to Mom’s photos. If Mom should delete any of those photos from her library, they will disappear from the album shared with Andy. If Andy wants the photos, he needs to Save them to his own Google Photos library. Saving makes a copy. It’s easy. To save the entire album full of photos, just click the Save button at the top of the Album. To save any individual photo, open it and then click the Save icon. Or you can select several photos and save them.

Where do Saved photos go?

Remember that Google Photos displays photos in order by date taken. So, if Andy Saves the entire Album of photos that were taken at various times, they will be distributed throughout Andy’s library according to those dates. What Andy needs to do is to view his library in order by Date Added – now, all the photos he just saved from Mom’s album will be together at the top. Change the sort order by going to the Search/Explore tab and selecting “Recently Added.” Andy can now select them all and create his own album. If Mom later adds more photos to the album, Andy will get a notification about that (if he has the notification setting turned on) and he can view the new photos, save them, and add them to his “Photos from Mom” album.


What Mom needs to do:

  • View the face grouping for the desired person and “Share as Album.” Give the album a name.
  • Click the Share button and choose the profile of the person you want to send to.
  • Review the album, delete bad photos, add other photos from your library that are relevant

What “Andy” needs to do

  • Look in the Sharing section of his Google Photos and open the album from Mom
  • Review the contents and decide if he wants to copy all or some of the photos to his own library
  • Use the Save icon for the entire album, or for selected photos
  • View his photo library by “Recently Added” to put all Mom’s photos at the top
  • Select all Mom’s photos and make his own album