Sign up for a free account. This includes 7 GB of free storage.
You can download the SkyDrive Pro Client for Windows which allows you to easily manage your files “offline” (on your computer).
They also have a mobile app available for Windows Phone, iOS, and Android.
Sharing photos with family and friends is as simple as copying a folder filled with photos and sharing the link. However you need to be very careful of where you copy that folder. Intuitively you would think to copy the folder to the “Public” folder, however anyone in the world can then see all of the folders you have placed in Public.
The better way to better control who has access to your folders would be to copy the folders into your main SkyDrive folder. Have them alongside the default SkyDrive folders of Documents, Favorites, Public, and Shared Favorites.
You can right click on your copied photo folder and share it with family and friends by emailing them the direct link to that folder. By not having your photo folder shared in Public, it will help prevent people from easily seeing your other folders you have shared with different people for different purposes. Certainly you can make use of the Public folders if you have photos you would like to share with everyone (this would be similar to posting them on Flickr).
Note there is also a setting which allows people to edit the photos you have shared. The default appears to be allow and you want to remove this checkbox when sharing the photos.
SkyDrive automatically displays thumbnails of the photos to people and also works well on mobile devices. It also allows them to download all the photos at once or just certain ones. This appears to be quite a good solution for people who want to easily share photos with family and friends if they don’t use another alternative (facebook, google+, flickr, smugmug, dropbox, photobucket, etc). I just caution everyone to be aware of what is being shared.
I recommend you share the photos first with yourself or a close friend. Go on that different computer (where you have not installed SkyDrive) and test out the email link. Ensure it works as you would expect and it is only showing the photos you intended to share.