Drowning in Digital Photos

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!

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Matt McDonald
    Jun 06, 2012 @ 09:22:31

    Ironically, I read this great post minutes after backing up my 18GB of photos from my laptop to an external hard drive. Great post, Jeri. It’s refreshing to know that I’m not the only one trying to keep afloat with my digital pictures.


  2. Marci
    Jun 07, 2012 @ 10:28:42

    I was just having this conversation with my mother. I have been creating a scrapbook for Janet’s first year, something i would not have done had someone not given me a photo-ready scrapbook for a baby shower gift (great idea, btw!) My mother asked why I didn’t include more active pictures (I have two pages of baby sleeping – on picture per month) and I said capturing action is difficult in a scrapbook.

    We then got into a discussion of digital video scrapbooking, and I pointed out some of the same things you’ve touched on: there’s no guarantee that the technology or the sites will exist long enough to make the digital scrapbook worthwhile for the baby when she’s old enough to want them. There is a site, for instance, that makes digital scanner codes that link to their website. You buy the code sticker, which pays for the video space on your server. Upload the video and place the code sticker in the scrapbook. You can then scan the sticker with your phone while leafing through the book to view the companion video. But when the technology becomes outmoded or the company goes out of business, all you’re left with a meaningless code sticker in your book.

    But the advantage is the incredible versatility of the photos. The same photo can be emailed, posted to facebook, tweeted, uploaded to my digital picture frame, printed for the scrapbook, uploaded to my website, and turned into photo gifts using a shutterfly or one of the many competitors. I saw a website the other day (not to take this too far afield) that does earrings from your digital images.

    That said, I continue to transfer photos from machine to machine, to cd and dvd, and (attempt) to maintain an archive on my website. I suspect that at some point we will continue the trend of centralized computing and all have our own photo clouds which we’ll pay for along with our internet service, run by our own service provider.


    • Jeri Usbay
      Jun 07, 2012 @ 12:44:33

      Wow Marci I did not know about the scanner codes for a digital scrapbooking – very interesting, but as you point out, what will become of the company and future technology? I agree with all the advantages of digital photos you mention and also enjoy these advantages. Why is it that holding a physical picture rather than holding a smart phone with a picture feels more satisfying to me? Perhaps it is the baby boomer in me, or perhaps being able to hold a photo or view one in a book makes me feel more connected to it? Thanks for your valuable comments and prediction!


  3. http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQSkehBUG0C3MyObx8VMldg
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 15:10:19

    This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I’ve found something that helped me. Appreciate it!


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