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Drowning in Digital Photos

How are you managing your digital photo collection?

Is it just me or are you too feeling like you are drowning in digital photos?  Back in the day when we bought film to load our cameras, and paid to have our pictures developed, I was a bit stingy with my picture-taking compared to today.   I took a moment to evaluate, is this worth the shot?   Now that we take photos digitally, and can instantly view them without costly development I generously click away.   I find I often take multiple photos of the same scene or object at different angles or zoom levels.  Since I always carry my phone, I always have a camera with me ready to capture the moment, which I do almost daily.   Now I take more pictures of greater quality at less monetary expense than before, but alas now there is a new cost, the maintenance of all these pictures!

First we have to decide what to do with our digital images.  After uploading the images to our computer and admiring them we have some decisions to make.  Do we edit them?  Do we print some?  How do you organize these photos?  Which ones will we post to Facebook, or other photo sharing sites like Flickr, Shutterfly, or Picasa?  Or maybe you’ve been dabbling with Pinterest, or Instagram and want to add some photos there too.

If you take 200 or more photos on vacation, this can start to be a chore.  If photography is your hobby you are in heaven.  If like me you enjoy taking and preserving pictures for the memories, and tend to capture many moments at multiple zoom levels, well, now you’ve got a small project on your hands.

Next we have to think about backing up our digital creations.  You don’t want to lose your photos if your computer’s hard drive fails.  Now that storage costs are so low, buying a backup external hard drive is a simple way to keep a backup.  Just copy your new picture file to the backup drive.   Sadly even a backup hard drive can fail and won’t last forever.   Technology changes, and someday the CD or DVD you saved your photos on will be obsolete.  In the future, the website that is storing your pictures may no longer exist.  Are you using Kodak Gallery? Who would have thought that a Kodak site would shut down?   Fortunately Kodak is moving your photos to Shutterfly.

The best advice for preserving your photos may be to print those pictures that you don’t want to lose. Somehow I thought the digital photo world would free me of all the clutter of photo albums, and photos stashed in shoe boxes, drawers, etc.   But the truth is I can’t help not looking at these photo albums, they are there on the shelf or the storage boxes, they are tangible.  My digital photos must be retrieved, are in danger of being lost, and yes to my fault are overwhelming and not as well-organized as my printed photos.   Sometimes less is more?

For easily understandable tutorials on organizing and preserving your digital photos I recommend visiting http://www.savemymemories.org.

While I don't think we should lose sleep over the safety of our digital photos, as options for digital conversions should be available, I do think I will try to take FEWER pictures, and be disciplined about printing my favorites.  Happy snapping!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe L June 09, 2012 at 01:00 AM
As a photo supervisor at CVS, a great way to save your memories is our new Kodak Archive DVD (I SWEAR this isn't a shameless plug). It holds around 1,500 pictures (and some video depending on your camera's quality) and only costs $6.99. People like to pop this in the DVD player at family gatherings and such to have a nice slideshow for guests.
Tom Gillen June 11, 2012 at 08:42 PM
I've been managing my workflow by first uploading my photos to my laptop. I went out and bought a 1 Terabyte (1,000 gigabyte) external hard drive and I back up all my photos from my laptop to the external hard drive. I'll be the one to give a shameless plug..... I love flickr. I have tons of albums on there that I share with friends and it's really easy to navigate www.flickr.com/thomasgillenphotography
Jeri Usbay June 12, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Thanks for your suggestion, Joe. Good idea!
Jeri Usbay June 12, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Excellent! You have a backup (external hard drive) and and a contingency backup (Flickr) which allows you to share. Great photos, Tom - thanks for sharing!
Mike Klubok June 15, 2012 at 03:53 PM
For those who edit their pictures, I would suggest a folder for pictures unedited. These are the uploaded version. Create another folder to copy the unedited pictures where you edit and then save the pictures. This way, you have the pictures as you took them should you need to go back to them at a later date. If you have many pictures, you will need to create multiple unedited and edited folders.

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