Inserting Images Into VAF Forums Threads by Doug Reeves 
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Nothing 'free' is really free...

There are many photo-sharing websites online and just about anything will work, but as with everything in life you get what you pay for.  'Free' sites are rarely free, so spending $20/yr for a high capacity, high res photo sharing account somewhere might not be the craziest idea.  Thank goodness these things exist, because the last thing in the world I want to be responsible for is the pictures from 23,000+ people!!!  I work hard enough now, and don't want to add THAT headache to the pile!  Every now and then I'll get an email along the lines of I *should* be hosting my own pictures, that it's my responsibility to take care of these images forever, even after the original poster passes on.  I would ask those folks to consider just how much disk space that would require (the pictures uploaded by over 23,000 users), what that might cost to host, and what effort it would take to manage.  MUCH more than the money coming in would pay for, I can assure you that!

Related: Do you know how many Facebook users die daily?  Ten thousand (428 every hour).  My point is that users come and go in all forms of social media, they live and die.  Nothing is forever.  It's life.  If you see a picture you really like, please save a copy to your local drive.

So hopefully now you see why I have folks host their pictures elsewhere.  It's your choice to host them on a 'free' site that may or may not stick around, or pay to have them hosted for decades.  It's the same reason I don't host videos.  Or podcasts.  It would take up HUUUUUGGGGEEE amounts of both disk space and bandwidth, which would cost me money I don't have.  It's already hard enough to keep this business afloat without being asked to be responsible for the digital images of 23,000 people.

Related, you know how much money YouTube makes hosting all those videos?  Even with all the commercials they tack on to the beginnings of millions and millions of clips for over a billion users? 

YouTube has never made a profit (source).

Now, how to insert a picture into a forum post:
Pick a photo sharing site, and once you've uploaded your picture use the embed image button in the forums to display it.

Occasionally a photo hosting site will go out of business or will change something internally, so if a thread full of pictures is important/meaningful to you, you might want to get a copy on your local drive for backup purposes.  It happens.  It's capitalism at work.   A recent example is Google absorbing Picasa (they bought it) into their Google Photos product (2016 story).  While the pictures aren't going away, some of the embedded pics might break.

Embedding a picture in a post:

  1. In your photo sharing site, look for the 'direct link to image' URL, or something similar to that.  This is the address you will copy/paste into the forums.  Tip:  You can paste the image URL into your browser address window to see if it's going to work before you try it in the forums.
  2. While replying to or creating a thread look for the 'Insert Image' icon .  Click on the icon where you want your pic to be.
  3. A user prompt box will appear.  Put your cursor in the text box and paste the address from your photo sharing site.  Click 'OK' to embed the image.



  • I get my text and picture all squared away using Notepad before copy/pasting it into a forum post.  I keep a little notepad doc open on my desktop all the time with little pieces of text that I use often.  One section has a few [IMG] tags that I can drop in a photo URL between, and insert some descriptive text above/below.  Wrapping [IMG] and [/IMG] tags around the picture link is what the 'embed pic' button does - you can also do it manually is the point I'm trying to make.


  • You can embed up to (10) pictures in each post. 
  • Making the image around 900 pixels wide or less preserves the proper word wrapping best on most monitors.
  • If you have a 'build log' type thread with many pictures of your project in it, and you want a backup in case your photo sharing site goes out of business someday, you can bring up the thread in question and select Thread Tools, Show Printable Version, then select File/Save As......or 'Print' to a PDF or XPS file depending on your browser.


PS: As a parallel regarding those who use online build log sites.....if you think that data is there forever, I would beg you to get a backup every so often.