Photos Are For Looking At

Photo Sharing

Years ago the saying was “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Today, with the ease of sharing photos I’m not sure that saying holds true. Tech is making it so easy to take photos and share them. Almost every social network has some interface that will take you from click to share in just a few steps. The time from taking a photo to handing it off to grandma has gone from weeks (or months) to something more like 2 minutes.

I look back at photos from just 10 years ago and while I do have a few I took and had developed from my “real camera”, it was so much easier to use the digital photos. Only problem is that compared to today their resolution is so low. We’ve been conditioned to need a 14 megapixel photos, despite doing nothing more than sharing it on social network.

For the first years of BabyGirl’s life I made photobooks. One of my favorite ways to remember our experiences is to create a photobook. I spent hours saving, uploading, arranging, and adding text to these little books. I was already uploading the photos to print them out, may as well make a book. But those days seem long past.

In their place are hard drives filled with tens of thousands of photos. I have multiple photo libraries because I try to limit them to 25,000 items. You know, “just incase”. Many of which are random food shots, the sky, feet, and who knows what all else. Gone are the days of thinking twice about taking a photo and in its place we have twice as many photos. Heck, who am I kidding, for every one photo we used to snap on our film camera we have 50 we take on our phone or digital camera. And instead of being excited to develop the film when we heard it rewind, we … Well, I can’t speak for everyone but I know I don’t order prints any more as a routine.

Every once in awhile I upload a few photos and order prints. A few photos of my grandma and her brother and sister-in-law. A photo I just happened to snap of the orchestra conductor. But even those, while I want the prints, often seem like such a hassle.

Now, with my Samsung Galaxy S4 (which I received as part of the Verizon Insider program), I easily shoot videos that look better than my traditional video camera. Again, recording life but doing nothing with it. So what’s the point?

I don’t have many photos from my childhood. But those I have are so precious and important. BabyGirl will end up with few tangible photos, but have terabytes or maybe even petabytes or exabytes. Sounds great to have hundreds of thousands of photos, but we’re not archiving them. Even though many of the photo software programs we have add tags based on GPS data or facial recognition, we don’t do anything with the photos. We take them, share some, save all. It’s like we’re photo hoarders.

What should we really be doing with these photos?

  1. Share – sharing them with our social networks is great. But what about with people who aren’t on line?
  2. Delete – at the end of any given day we may have taken 20 or 30 photos. Most of which are not worth keeping for our lifetime. We really need to just delete the ones we know we won’t ever use or share and maybe come back to them periodically to cull them again.
  3. Organize – Saving digital photos in files by date is great. But the days and weeks run together. Even months and years tend to become a blur. If we only have a manageable collection to organize, it’s easy to change the default file name to something we’d actually search for if we went looking.
  4. Print – whether it’s taking an SD card (or Memory Stick) to the local store to print off a few photos, uploading them to a site that will print them for pick up at a store you’re going to, or creating something more elaborate like a photo book we really need to consider having a tangible way to enjoy the photos and share them with new friends.

I remember being a teen and sitting on the couch with my grandpa going through photo albums and listening to the stories behind the photos or learning about the people in them. As I’ve moved my grandmother from her home, I’ve had to consider what to do with her multitude of photo albums. As my grandmother ages, I miss out on the stories and history the photos hold. And while there are a number of photo albums, there really aren’t many photos that cover her 93 years. I have 2 photo albums that belonged to my mother. Together they may have 50 photos. It’s my only visual connection to her. And there is no one to tell me the stories. Still, I cherish them.

But I wonder how much my daughter is missing out on because looking at photos isn’t as easy as pulling out a photo album, snuggling together on the couch, and reliving this wonderful experience. Instead, there is no looking at old photos because it means booting up the external hard drive, finding the photos, waiting for them to load, and balancing a laptop.  And even if I can pull them up on the home network, it’s not the same looking at them on the TV.

“A picture’s worth likes and shares” just doesn’t have that same feel. We really need the thousand words.

Disclosure: As stated above, Verizon Wireless provided me with a Samsung Galaxy S4. This is not a sponsored post and no compensation was provided for this post. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third-party. I do, however, have a business relationship with Verizon Wireless and thus I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Preserving Disney Memories

Many of you know I have what some would call an unnatural love of Disney. I own it! Which is why CycleGuy and I have chosen to call Family Disney Photo Book by Snapfish - ARRDisney World our premier family vacation destination for the past five years. For over 50 days we’ve created so many memories and have had amazing family experiences.

Coming back from vacation is often bittersweet. All the fun is over and we’re left with a handful of photos to help preserve those memories. And this being the digital age, we know where all those photos are – on the computer. In talking with friends, it’s rare that we take the time to edit and print off those images. No longer do we drop off those rolls of film at the drug store, wait a week and hope there are a few decent ones we can put in an album or possibly even frame. Nope! They’re on our computer and possibly loaded in to our screen saver so we’ll catch a few of them every once in awhile.

But, I’m a bit different. I’m one of those people who prints off her photos. Not all of them, but quite a few. And I make enlargements and put them in pretty frames or send them to Bubbe (my grandma) and Grandmommy (CycleGuy’s grandma). I’ve had people tell me my house looks like it’s from the 1970s – you know, your grandma’s house with eighty-two million photos of every person from birth. It’s not that bad, but I do love having photos to share. For me, there’s just something about sitting on the couch with a photo book or photo album flipping through the pages and sharing memories.

Since BabyGirl was born I’ve created over 20 photo books and albums. In the past it often required hours of my time. Now, it’s super easy! In just 9 years technology has advanced to the point where it’s really just drag and drop and within 20 minutes I’ve got a personal momento. But when it came to Disney, there weren’t all that many options. Disney’s Photopass service is awesome, but it would be nice to have another option to create Disney-inspired photo memories.

In November, my Twitter stream was filled with 24/7 Disney for the 10 days the family was at Walt Disney World. During that time, Snapfish by HP noticed and asked me if I’d like to check out their new line of Disney-themed photo creations. Recently, Snapfish by HP  launched a new partnership with Disney that gives us a choice of Cars, Princess, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey & Friends, or Toy Story themed photo books, calendars, posters and photo borders.

I was so excited and I went to iPhoto and picked out about 50 photos I’d want in a Disney Princess photo book. Yes, we’re an all-pink, Disney princess lovin’ family! Since I’ve created photo books before I figured it would take me at least an hour to set up, arrange, modify and customize the photo book. I surprised when I was clicking the submit button about 30-minutes later.

Because I had already sorted my photos (go ahead, roll your eyes!) it was easy to pick out about 70 photos I’d want. The base photo book comes with 20 pages, but you can add more. I just chose 70 photos but I could have easily had over 100. There are four different sizes and several different cover options. I chose an 8×10 hardcover photo book with a custom cover because I had a photo that really summed up our trip. After uploading the photos, which I didn’t think took very long, I was ready to arrange my photos. Drag and drop, slight resize on a few and adding text and before I knew it I was done.

Each page had a slightly different Disney princess theme and photo layout. There was also the option to customize the layout and add or remove photos. And for those pages where I didn’t want or need as much caption space I was able to delete the text boxes.

Having created photo books before, I was expecting this to be a more arduous process. Snapfish by HP has a great interface for their photo products and now that there is a Disney-themed section, preserving my family’s Disney memories will be as easy as Bippity Boppity Boo!

Even if you aren’t just home from a Disney trip, it’s nice to have the Disney-themed photo options. If you have a Disney-themed party or a child that just loves Cars, Toy Story, Mickey, Winnie the Pooh or the Princesses you can now create personalized Disney memories in the comfort of your own home. I look back on my first trip to Disneyland when I was 7. I think there are two photos. There’s something magical about Disney.

Over the years I’ve used a number of different online photo sources and Snapfish by HP is one of my favorite. I have about 3 that I use, but when it comes to Disney vacation memories or adding Disney Photo Borders there’s only one, Snapfish. You may recall that I got my Hanukkah Cards from Snapfish. That’s how much I like what they have to offer.

Preserving Disney memories is now easier than ever! What is your favorite Disney memory?

Snapfish Disney Princess Photo Book

Disclosure: Snapfish provided me with complimentary Disney-themed photobook. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


On Becoming a Photographer

@AngryJulie photographs BabyGirl's ponies at BlogHer

This year I decided that I was either going to learn how to ballroom dance or become a photographer. Both have been on my Someday list for quite some time. Ballroom dancing looks so elegant and now that there are shows on TV that feature it so I’m not so strange in saying I want to learn how to ballroom dance.

But ballroom dancing will have to wait another year because this is the year I will become a photographer. With a real camera!

I was asking a few people about cameras. I have had pretty decent point and shoot digital cameras since 1997. But a real camera has always intimidated me. And by real camera I mean one of those with an actual lens that you adjust and a real flash that will light up the subject and not just blind you while creating a horrible photo.

I asked my friend Julie from Angry Julie Monday what type of camera would be a good one to start with given my limited knowledge of photography. Julie’s a photographer for her ‘in real life’ job and has had jobs as the official photographer for several blogger events. I trust her knowledge of cameras and photography and knew she wouldn’t steer me in the wrong direction.

She suggested this beautiful Nikon D3100 as a good beginner dSLR camera. It was a conversation we had on Twitter. And Julie was helpful and kind and I think only laughed at me once or twice. Maybe three times if you count an LOL. Most of all, she assured me that this camera would be easy enough to start me out but also sophisticated enough to stay with me as I improved.

Guess what arrived today as my New Year gift from CycleGuy? Yes, you guessed it! My very own Nikon D3100. With a real lens that is separate from the body of the camera. (Now how do I attach it? I really need to read the manual, don’t I?)  And I’m afraid to take it out of the box! I’m so excited but at the same time I don’t want to screw it up or take ugly pictures. I know there will be a learning curve and you all get to be the guinea pigs and see my ‘not yet ready for prime time’ photos.

I’ll be linking up with various photography sites and weekly links and I look forward to sharing with you my new-found interest. I hope you’ll share your thoughts as I journey through the year in photos. If you’re a photographer your insights and professional knowledge are always welcome.

Now, I’d better go unpack my new camera because it won’t do me any good in the box! And if you see me with my new fancy camera, smile, say cheese and hold that pose while I figure out what the heck an F-stop is and if the white balance is balanced and if I’m on the correct ISO. I’m not sure what any of that means but it sounds all fancy-like camera speak doesn’t it?


Wordless Wednesday – Birthday Wishes … and a Hint

I received this from my best friend for my birthday on Monday. I guess I should take it as a hint.

This is my first Wordless Wednesday post. At the suggestion of one of my new friends, Julie from Angry Julie Monday, I joined. I met Julie at the Phoenix Bloggy Bootcamp this past weekend. She is a wonderful photographer, a beautiful person and all-around gem. More great photos for Wordless Wednesday can be found here.