Letting Go of Your Digital Photos

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Lets talk about our photos. If you’re like most parents in the United States you own a digital camera. And if you’re in Orange County, its pretty much a part of your new baby must-have list, just as important as diapers. Now, lets open up that picture folder on your computer… how many photos are just sitting there? I bet its hundreds, if not thousands, right? Yes the Photo Addict understands. As a photographer by profession, its ridiculous the amount of photos I have of my kids, but lets really take a hard look at our computer space and the need for all these photos.

Lets go back a little bit, not very far, lets go back just 10 years ago. I have an almost 12 year old, Big E. When I had him we bought a 36 exposure roll of film to take to the hospital with us. We thought about the photos we would take because we only had 36 exposures. Then after we completed the roll of film we had them developed. Of those 36 exposures, we chose approximately 10-16 of the best images, labeled them, made a few copies for parents and finally put them in the photo album. At Big E’s 1st birthday, we get another 36 exposure roll of film and take 36 pictures at the celebration and have them developed. Once again we pick out our favorites for a small 2 page spread in our photo album consisting of maybe 6-8 photos.

Now fast forward 8 years later when Little C was born. Ahhhh, age of the digital camera. There is no need to edit, just take as many photos as you want, you are only limited by the size of your memory card (which in my case could hold well over 1,000 images). Fantastic right? well… not really, let me explain.

I’m really good about editing my photos, sharing them with my friends and family and getting them into albums, but I am also a Photo Addict, so it makes sense. I’ve looked at the hard drives of some of my parent friends and almost had a heart attack! Or when I ask to see the photos of a very special event, like a vacation to Europe or Susie’s third birthday, I always get the same answer, “oh we have them, but they’re on my computer”. This gets me so frustrated, because I want to say, “why have a digital camera then?”.

Don’t worry, I am here to help you. I’m going to give you a 6 step program for getting out of this mess.

Step 1.
Say this with me “I am not a bad mom if I delete a photo of my child”.
This is a really important step. I think a lot of moms feel bad, like your deleting your child or something. Its ok to delete files, I promise.

Step 2.
EDIT EDIT EDIT. When you transfer your files to your computer that is the time to truly edit your files. Be honest with yourself. Think in terms of creating albums, do you really need 50 pictures from the party? Do you really need a photo of your child opening up every present? No, you don’t. Edit the photos down to roughly 20 of the best pictures.

Step 3.
SHARE. There are so many fantastic online photo sharing places out there. One of my personal favorites is Flickr. You can see one of my previous posts on how to share your photos through Flickr. Remember, your family and friends want to be included and really do want to see your photos, but not 100 of them, that’s why we EDIT.

Step 4.
PRINT. There are many ways to accomplish this step. If you like to buy albums that you add lose prints to, go ahead and have your favorites printed though any service, snapfish, Costco, even Walmart has some great prices on printing. This is a great time to make duplicates for parents and friends. Imagine how appreciative they’ll be when you send them copies.

Step 5.
The ALBUM. Remember when you actually had albums. Wasn’t it fun as a kid to open up that album and look at your photos. And then when we got older, our parents bestowed on us our album. Don’t you wan to provide that for your children? At this rate, what are you going to do, give them a hard drive and say here honey, here’s 10,000 photos of your life, have fun sifting through them! I sure hope not.

Personally I do digital albums. I love how they look and they are so much less bulky than traditional albums. Plus I can add design elements to them if I want to. Since I am a professional photographer I have access to fantastic albums and software, but for the everyday person there are several album companies out there. I do one for each child each year and then a family album each year. I highly recommend Heritage Makers. what’s nice is you can start the project and just add to it as you go and save it. So when you do go to Timmy’s piano recital you can create that layout and save it to the album, then just add to it with every event. Then at the end of the year, print. You can also make copies if you want for grandparents. If you like the scrapbook look they have that option as well. There are other companies that do albums, Snapfish, Costco, most major photo printers will also print albums. I just like how Heritage Makers saves your projects and allows digital scrapbooking.

Step 6.
Please make sure you backup your photos. Hard drives crash all the time. Don’t let your memories get lost due to poor archiving. Every year I make a DVD with those photos on it. I make 2 copies just in case one goes bad I have an extra. Of course it wouldn’t be the end of the world because I have my albums made.

Ok Gen X’ers, I hope this has helped a little, remember… you can let go of those digital files! If you don’t have time to make your albums, Sprouts Photography offers album creation services, even if its with your photos.

The Photo Addict.

The Gen X Moms blog is now accepting submissions for our Silent Sunday feature! If you’ve got a cute kid picture, or a kid-related picture, and want the fame, fortune, and adulation of being featured on the Gen X Moms blog, shoot us an email!

And don’t forget to comment, we’d love to hear how this is working for you!

Works For Me Wednesday – Online Photo Sharing

Gen X Moms has moved to www.GenXMomsBlog.com. Don’t forget to update your bookmark!

Do you have a ton of photos just sitting on your computer? If your like most moms, you take tons of photos, and then do nothing with them. Does this sound like you? Let me tell you what works for me. I’m not going to get too fancy here, because as a professional photographer I could go on and on about what to do with all those photos. Instead, I’m going to tell you about the easiest, fastest way to share your photos, and ultimately DO SOMETHING with them!

FlickrI know you’ve heard of Flickr. But are you actually using it? Do you have an account but have never used it? Let me tell you how wonderful Flickr is. I’m going to take you through a typical scenario in my house. My son big E just has his 11th birthday party. I upload all the photos from the event and edit out the ones that don’t look great or have no significance. I’ll have a whole other post on “letting go” of digital photos. Just because we take them, does NOT mean we have to save every digital file. Ok, moving on. The next step I do is use the Flickr uploader to upload the photos into my account. There are several ways to upload, you can do it right through their site, by email, your iPhone, but I like their stand alone desktop uploader. Make sure to select if you want them private or public. If you make them private your friends and family can still see them, you just have to invite them, I’ll get to that.

After the files are online, go to “organize & create”. Here you can create sets of photos, categorize, add descriptions, permissions, you have complete control of your photos in this menu. The beauty of this page, is the drag and drop feature. It works like your computer desktop. You just drag the photos you want to work with and then do what you like with them.

So now I have my photos of Big E in a set called 11th Birthday, private to only friends and family. Now I want to share the photos with everyone that attended the party and a few family members that live too far away to attend. I go to my Flickr photostream and select the set I just created. Under the search selection there’s a button, “Share This”. I always select the option of creating a link, that way I can send out a personal email with the link attached. If you created the photo set as a private set, make sure to create a “Guest Pass”, this will allow your friends and family members that are not Flickr members to view your photos. Voila! You just shared your photos.

Now what? You’ve shared your photos with the world, fantastic, but now what are you going to DO with them. Let me share what I do. Every year around Oct/Nov I create an album. Its really easy, you just select the tiny drop down menu next to Organize & Create and select Prints & Photo Products. Select all the photos to go in your album, drag them to the working area and select photo album. This takes your to Snapfish where you finish up the album.

It really is that easy! So stop letting your digital photos collect digital dust and DO SOMETHING with them.

The Photo Addict.