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Hopefully you are enjoying the tips on taking better pictures, ideas for what to do with them once you take them and even the ways you should protect & back up your digital images. Today’s post will be slightly different but just as applicable to anyone who takes pictures whether it’s with a high-end camera, a portable point & shoot or even your cell phone. Today, I want you to think, WHY do I take pictures?

Do you take them to preserve a memory? Maybe it’s to be able to come back to that moment in time over and over again. Maybe you don’t consciously think about it but there is a reason you are taking that photo (unless of course you are a professional, then it’s because you were hired and it’s your livelihood!).

I’m asking you to ponder this for a moment because you may just fall into the HUGE percentage of the population that takes photos and then does absolutely nothing with them! I hope not, but if you are, I want you to really think about this.

Time is precious – there is a finite amount that each of us gets and the problem is that we don’t know when that time will be cut short. A friend of mine recently lost her husband after only 20 years of marriage. I cannot possibly understand the loss she is experiencing. It makes me think of all the moments my husband and I have shared and how many more we have yet to share. Those moments are and will be captured in our photos. But the photos come alive when we can truly relive them with the stories. Our memories fade, even with photos; details are lost to most of us. But by writing the stories that go with our pictures they become vivid memories again.

I encourage you today to think of an event that you have photos from that you treasure the most and go back and read my earlier post about what kind of album you could create – just click here. We don’t know when our finite period of time will end or when it will end for that of a loved one. I also know that for me, personally that if I already had completed albums with stories, that those photo albums & photo books would be of comfort to me. However, if I only had pictures, I can’t imagine being ready to tackle turning them into albums for a long time. And what if it was my time to be cut short? How would my family find comfort without those completed albums and stories of our family? I encourage you to make time today to do something with your photos.

Share your thoughts here by submitting a comment. Why do you take pictures? Are they in some sort of album or are they in boxes or on your computer? Would you find comfort in being able to look at a completed album of a loved one you recently lost?

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I recently attended an event where renowned photographer Nick Kelsh shared this very interesting quote. “There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who have had their hard drives crash and have lost everything and those who are going to have their hard drives crash.”  Well there might be a third – those who don’t own any computers! But if you are reading this post, you likely don’t fit into the third category!

Think about this. Do you take digital photos? Where are they? If they are not printed, you better not have all your eggs (digital photos) in one basket (hard drive)! You truly need to have those photos copied in more than one location.

There are several options to choose from and to play it really safe you might want to choose more than two of these. I personally know someone that had not only the hard drive on her computer crash, but her external hard drive crashed the same weekend! YIKES!

  • Hard drive on your computer – yes, this is better than the memory card in your camera, but this is now your primary location so you should choose at least one other of the following and maybe even two!
  • External hard drive – this plugs into your computer and sometimes needs its own power source to run as well. You can read more about this in my very first post. Click here.
  • CD’s & DVD’s – these at least do not have any running parts. They may still become corrupt but they are a good 3rd backup location. You should do this with ALL your photos periodically. More will be covered on this in another post.
  • Off-site backup services – this usually involves a monthly fee where the service connects to your computer connects to the remote location and backs up everything on your hard drive. Another post to follow.
  • Photo sites – some companies that you use to order your digital photos as 4×6 prints will store your photos and allow you to re-download them if you need to for a per photo fee. Be sure that they will allow you to re-download the photo at the original resolution and size that you uploaded if you want to use this as one of your options – often the file will be reduced greatly. More to come.
  • Finally, there are software programs that will help and even prompt you that it is time to do a back up of your photos. And the really great software programs back up every time you use the program. And the smart ones know to only do a backup of the new photos or those you changed so it only takes a few minutes as you close the program. If you want to know which software I use, subscribe to my newsletter for more information.

Do you have additional back ups of your digital photos? Which method(s) are you using?

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Have you taken photos of a special occasion only to find out too late that the

washed out flash photo

Turn off flash

faces of the people in the photos are all washed out? The most likely reason for this is the automatic flash on your camera. We all think when we are indoors we need to use the flash but there are many times you can get a much better photo by turning off the flash. You can do this more easily than you think regardless of the kind of camera you use. Whether you use a point and shoot camera or have the best camera on the market, you should be able to manually turn off the flash.
You want to look for a symbol that looks like a lightning bolt or sometimes an eye. Typically it’s the same button
close up flash symbol

Top is sample flash symbol

that lets you select a red eye option for your flash. If you have a screen display, the flash symbol will either disappear or have a circle with a slash through it.
If there is daylight available, move your subject near windows or open doorways. You will want to position them so their faces are being naturally highlighted by the incoming light. You don’t want to position them directly in front of the windows with the light streaming behind them because their faces will be completely dark. Instead you want the light to shine on them.
If it is evening or outside light is unavailable, see if you can get closer to their faces or position them in the best light in the room.
Good light from window

Use the light coming in through windows


Additionally, you may want to use a tripod or do your very best to keep the camera extremely still since the shutter will be open for a longer period of time.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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Research shows that 79% (click here for stats) of people

Pictures

The pictures I'm using

do nothing with their digital photos. In this post, you will see just how quick & easy it can be to complete an album with your photos & stories. You will be able to see step by step the entire process and just how quickly you can create a book, one page at a time, or the entire book if your software has the added feature to auto-populate your photos like my software does.*

    Basic Black page

    Just add photos

  1. Decide which digital photos you would like to see in a completed album. I’m using photos from our recent winter storm (yes in October!). I’m going to choose two themes to show you the variety available to you. I’ll show the steps in each theme. You will see the page in the basic black theme which comes free with the software program I use and I will also use
    Predesigned jewel

    Again just add photos!

    the Jewel theme, which has more color in the background pages as well as added embellishments. Here are the photos & blank background pages I’ve selected.
  2. Simply select each photo & drag it over & drop it into one of the gray boxes that say ‘place photo here’. Here is the finished page.
  3. Look to see if you need to zoom
    Could be finished

    Finished page

    in any of the photos or adjust how they fit in the frames.
  4. Tell the story. A future post will be devoted to how to do this so that writing about your photos & memories is not such a struggle.
  5. Decide if you would like to add any ‘stickers’ or other embellishments.
    That’s it, page complete – from start to finish, the black page took me less than 2 minutes & jewel page
    Finished Jewel

    Option 2

    took 2 ½ minutes. Time for the next page!

Which of your photos or memories are just screaming to be told? Share some here or contact me, I want to help you get it done!

*To find out which software I used click on my website here or subscribe to my newsletter on the right side.

With embellishments

Some added touches


Final version

Time to make the next page!

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If you follow one of my favorite blogs, you already know that the person responsible for inventing the technology behind the digital camera was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. (Read the article here) When I read this, I thought, just now? Our family has been taking digital photos since 2000. I will admit that at first I was hesitant until we found somewhere to print our digital photos the same way 35mm photos are printed. I’ve never looked back. I do still love and use my 35mm camera for certain things but our photos are almost exclusively taken with a digital camera.

I’ve found that almost everyone I talk to now is using a digital camera. What may surprise you is that 79% of people never do ANYTHING with those photos. (Check statistic here) Many not only never print them or make any kind of photo album but they never even download them from their memory card. I have personally had conversations with many that just buy additional memory cards.

Honestly, I ‘print’ very few of our digital photos. Instead I use my digital album making software* and design my pages and stories right on my computer. Then I save the book, upload it, have it printed, bound and delivered right to my door in a beautiful, hardcover, coffee table book for us to enjoy over and over. I save so much time, money and mess (I used to take over our dining table!) that I have been tempted to scan in all our past, already printed pictures so I can create those photo books on the computer too. The software I use has added an auto-populate feature so that all I have to do is pick my favorite photos, bring them into the software, and choose a theme for the page designs and POOF! It does all the work. I can go back, add some stories, maybe a virtual sticker here or there and I’m done.*

So, do I print our digital photos? No, not in the traditional sense but I do print them in another way so that we can enjoy them.

What do you do? Do you print your digital photos? What do you do with them?

*To see which digital software I use, subscribe to my newsletter or just click here to go to my website.

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Whether you are a part time pro or the family photo nut, there is always something you can learn to take better pictures. Sometimes it can be the simplest thing that will give your photos a different look and usually it just takes some trial and experimentation. To get even more fun tips and ideas be sure to sign up for my newsletter. You can also follow me on twitter and friend me on facebook.
Today, I would like to share something that will really help you critique yourself and see what to look for to make that great photo.

By moving to the right we could have avoided the tree in the middle of my head

By moving to the right we could have avoided the tree in the middle of my head


You may not realize that making photo album will actually make you a better photographer. It’s true. When you actually go to do something with those photos that you took, you will see the quality or flaws,
Here I should have had Robyn move to the left

Here I should have had Robyn move to the left

in your photos. You’ll suddenly see that exit sign in the background, the people you don’t know in the background, the tree or pole sticking out of someone’s head, the public trash can overflowing and the list goes on. I’m sure you can guess how I know this! Simply printing the photos did not always cause me to see these problems. It takes actually creating something that makes these a glaring, flashing, red light. It can be a scrapbook, slip in album or even a digital album that you have printed into a hardbound, coffee table type of book. It takes this step because during this step you are selecting which photos to use and which can be left out and you are looking with a more critical eye. This also happens if you are looking to enlarge a photo to frame.
Here I am at least standing in front of the sign to cover it up

Here I am at least standing in front of the sign to cover it up

With this in mind, I encourage you to take the time to create an album – your style – your way, so whatever you choose, just go do it. You will see things in your pictures you wish weren’t there and you will be much more aware the next time you go to snap a photo.

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Since I’ve recently moved, I thought you might like some tips on making use of your camera as a tool outside of taking pictures of people and places.
We are a military family and moving has been part of our life for the last 20 years. After some initial moves on our own, we decided to let the experts move us. Sometimes letting your possessions go with someone else can be a little nerve-wracking. We have had some good moves and some moves that did not go very well at all. I’m going to share some tips of where your camera can come in handy especially if you are using a digital camera.

Take photos of bikes or collectibles

Take photos of bikes or collectibles

On this most recent move, we found out from the moving company that they need exact descriptions of many items. The description needs to include not only style, model, and serial numbers but also colors of things like bicycles for example. Take close up photos of your family’s bicycles. You can even zoom in and take a picture of the serial number.
Take photos of your furniture – it serves as an inventory for you as well as helping show the condition of the furniture before it is moved.
Quick & easy way to know the contents of your box

Quick & easy way to know the contents of your box


If you have a large CD or book collection, take a photo of the items on the shelf or in the box. This way you can zoom in on the photo to read the titles and you don’t have to type everything up. Include a box number in the photo and then write the number on the box. This way if you need a certain item, you know what box to look in to quickly find it.
Hopefully these tips will come in handy the next time you need to move or even put some items into storage. This way if you find yourself searching for an item, you can pull up your photos on the computer and find that missing item. Think of it as a ‘backup’ of your possessions.
This works well if you need to put things in storage too. Number them too!

This works well if you need to put things in storage too. Number them too!


With my move nearly complete, we’ll be returning to our regular topics next week.

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