A Picture is Worth A 1000 Words

This is the start of a series on how to get the most out of your digital photographs.

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Who looks at a photo album anymore?  I’m guessing there are some out there asking what a photo album is.  For the younger generation let me explain, back in the day you purchased film for a camera, took your pictures, sent the film in to be processed, then went back and picked up your printed pictured and put them in a photo album to save the memories.

You wouldn’t know if you had a good photo or a bad photo until you got your pictures back, which by then it was too late to retake it if it was bad.  We would flip through the photo album laughing at all the pictures of the photographer’s thumb covering half the shot, someone’s head being cut off in a group shot, or the one person whose eyes are always closed in the shot.  We accepted this because the film and the processing were expense so you didn’t want to waste shots taking the same photo multiple times.  The photo album worked for storing our photos because we didn’t have that many.

Digital photography changed all that.

Photos have essentially become free.  This has led us to take more photos.  We take photos all the time now; birthdays, holidays, vacations, school events, back yard fun, everything is photographed now.  We don’t just take a few photos of each event we take dozens or hundreds.  Why not?  They are free.  No need to worry about getting “the shot”; take ten shots and one is likely to be “the shot” you hoped for.

So where do we keep all these photos?  Many people keep them on the memory card not knowing what else to do with them.  We know the traditional photo album doesn’t work anymore:

  • While taking the photo is free printing it is not.
  • Most do not have the space needed to store hundreds or thousands of photos.
  • Organization is a nightmare; do you really want to flip through that many photos to find the one you are looking for?

Something else is needed.  Enter digital photo albums.  Digital photo albums are software packages that allow you to organize your photos on the computer to make it easier to view them.  Most of the camera manufacturers have digital photo album software that ships with the camera (or can be downloaded from their website).  Many of the printer companies have photo management software that has a digital photo album capability.  There are free solutions (FastStone) and paid for solutions (Adobe Photoshop) from third parties as well.  Lastly, there are cloud based solutions (Shutterfly) to help you well.

Asking which one is best is like asking what car is best.  It depends on your needs.  Questions to ask when looking at photo management software:

  • How many photos do I expect to have?
  • Do I need to edit photos or just display them?
  • Do I want others to be able to see my photos?
  • Where do I want to be able to see my photos – digital frame, phone, computer?
  • How much time do I want to put into using the software?

I’m starting a mini-series on digital photography.  I’ll try to stay vendor neutral as much as possible.  This will be written for the average home user – not professionals or enthusiasts.  One thing to keep in focus (see what I did there) is this series will be on photo management after you have taken your photograph; not how to take better photographs.  I hope after reading this series you are able to get more enjoyment out of your photographs.

If you are interested you can see a collections of my photographs at my photo site; let me know what you think.

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