Gmail is arguably the best free email service for photographers. It comes with 7703 MB of free storage space, a neat interface that has recently been enhanced and excellent spam protection. On top of this, Gmail also comes with several little-known but useful features called Labs.
Labs make it easier and more fun for photographers to read and reply to emails.
Activating Gmail Labs
To activate the extra features, log into your Gmail account, press the cog icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and click on settings. The Labs tab is to the right of the screen, between Web Clips and Inbox. Click on it to check the available features. Activate the features you want by clicking on enable, and then saving the changes.
You’ll notice plenty of features there. Most of them are interesting, but only a few are useful for a photographer. Here are the 6 Labs you should definitely activate:
1. Undo Send
With this Lab activated, you can stop messages that are being sent for a few seconds after you’ve pressed Send. This feature is extremely useful if you frequently forget to attach promised photographs to your emails, like I often do.
2. Insert Images
Insert Images lets you put images into the body text, instead of merely attaching them to the email. This is useful whenever you want to show a friend or a potential client a photo quickly, without having them download it first on their computer. Insert Images is especially useful if you regularly send emails to people who use Gmail on their Smartphones.
3. Default Text Styling
This feature lets you change the default font style and size for the emails you send. It’s useful in that it helps you personalize the emails you send to your clients, making you look more professional. Once you activate Default Text Styling, click on Settings and go to the General tab to change the font style and size.
4. Flickr previews in mail
If you have many friends who use Flickr, you’ll love this lab. It basically shows photo previews for the Flickr photo links sent to you in emails. Flick previews in mail helps you check the photos in the emails you get much faster.
5. Picasa previews in mail
Much like Flirck previews in mail, this lab shows a photo preview of any Picasa link you receive in an email. This makes it easier for you to view photos without having to leave your inbox.
6. Multiple Inboxes
With Multiple Inboxes you can add additional emails lists in your inbox, so that you check the most important emails first. Basically, you can create separate email inboxes that are all displayed on the same page. You can use this feature to differentiate between important emails that you need to read and respond to immediately, and less important emails that you need to read but don’t necessarily need to respond to.
Finally, remember that while extremely useful, Gmail Labs are ultimately experimental features that may disappear unexpectedly, or that may have some glitches. I myself have used the Labs listed above for months now, without any issues.