I have to re-think what it means to me to email someone a photo. I don't send many photographs via email, certainly less than 2 per month. Most of the time the photos I send are related to a birthday or an event. The photos are always resized for quick access, they are always hand-selected and of high quality (no snapshots), and I only send a few photos at a time (less than 5 photographs per email).
The photos are sent to people with direct connection to the event or to the subject photographed. They often go to grandparents, uncles, ants, godparents, and the likes. Yet, without fail, 95% of the emails go unanswered - it is rare to get even a single reply. This really used to bother me, to the point that I started trimming down the email distribution to fewer and fewer recipients. If I keep this up, pretty soon I will be emailing these photos only to myself.
Maybe I am looking at this all wrong. I don't photograph because I expect others to comment. When I blog, I don't blog with any expectation that the entry will be read by anyone other than myself, and I don't blog with the expectation that it will be commented on or linked to. I blog because I like it, because it means something to me, because I think it will help someone. Maybe that's how I should look at the photo emails that I send - not expect a reply, not expect a comment, and certainly not expect a photo in return. Just send the email with a grandchild or a wildlife subject and hope that it will bring a smile to the recipient, that it will bring fond memories of the event, that it will bring a distant relative closer to our daily lives - no more, no less.