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De-clutter your Digital Photos

December 21, 2010

With the holidays upon us (or for any type of event or vacation), we shoot lots of digital pictures.  This means having a LOT of pictures to deal with.  Back in the days of the Instamatics and 35mm film, we’d have a couple of dozen photos to deal with after the holidays.  Blurred images and those less than flattering of Aunt Esther were promptly tossed out.  However, in this digital age, the images are going to sit either in the camera (or phone) or the computer before anything is done with it.

Here’s a few tips to help you through that holiday photo clutter.

1.  Think before taking the picture. Sure, the pictures are practically free, but when you have two dozen shots of your precocious child accomplishing anything, you feel guilty about deleting.  It’s great to take a lot of pictures if they’re at a dance recital or a ball game, but make sure you delete the ones that don’t look so good.  This will help the editing process.

2.  Think back to the days of  film. Unless you were a major geek like me back in the 1980’s, we didn’t want to waste the film on marginal shots.  What’s great about digital is that we can preview both before and after the picture being taken.  If the shot doesn’t look good in the viewfinder (nowadays the LCD), don’t take it.  When you review your photos, make sure you delete those that are less than satisfactory.

3.  Put the camera down. I know this sounds weird, but try to enjoy the moment of actually watching your child make that touchdown, that perfect pirouette, or more.  Memories can be more intense than a photo.

4.  Delete unnecessary photos. I’ve been known to take 300 pictures over a weekend.  Of course I think each one is a masterpiece (all right maybe 289 of them!) but take a critical eye and delete the ones you don’t want.  I have digital photos going back over a decade now and some of them are pretty lousy.  They take up room on the hard drive. (hopefully you have a backup system should your hard drive go bad?)  Maybe you have a friend who can help you delete the photos you don’t really need.

5.  Decide how to output your photos. There’s a lot more choices in this century than we had even 20 years ago.  You can still get the 4 x 6 photos and put them in a photo album which is fairly straightforward and easy to do.  Bring the camera (or the memory cards from it) to the local drugstore or whoever makes the prints, load it in, and have them printed.  If you’re computer savvy, you can upload to their server and pick them up or have them shipped.  (This is much quicker than doing it on your own and actually cheaper.)

You can even put them on a tshirt, coffee mug, calendar or more (great way to make gifts for almost any occasion).  Instead of making prints for everyone, you can share them in many ways, through your Facebook page, photo sharing services (most of which are free) including Snapfish, Kodak, and Shutterfly.   I’ve used Shutterfly many times and have been extremely pleased with the speed and quality of their work.

6. Storing them on your computer. You may not be able to get to them right away, but when you put them onto the PC, it automatically goes into a “My Pictures” folder.  Take this a step further and put them in a folder that is appropriately named, i.e. “Holidays 2010,” “Katy’s Recital 12-17-2010”, etc.  Note that I have a date in the folder.  That really helps to locate them in the future.  (also, I hope your camera is correctly recording the date the photo was taken).  You can even create subfolders and move the images into the appropriate place.  Take it a step further and burn them onto labeled CDs that you will have as an archive.  Put them on your PC before the memory card is full on the camera.  This is important as you could possibly lose the camera (this has happened to some of my friends who no longer have some wonderful memories).

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From → PC tips, Photoshop

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