Category Archives: Organize your Bytes

Best Cloud Photo Sharing & Storage Tools

My first guest post was published this week over at simplify 101, where I’m sharing the verdict (aka. my opinion) on Cloud Photo Storage options. What’s the difference between Photo Printing, File Syncing and Sharing and Photo Sharing and Storage sites? Once you know that, which one do you choose? Not sure?BestCloudPhotoSharing-Storage_S101-BFP

Head over and check it out! And, yes, there’s another chart :D

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How to Choose Online Digital Photo Organizing Tools & Software

Choose Digital Photo Organizing ToolsAs if finding the time to organize your photos isn’t bad enough, in this day and age you need to share, print and backup your photos. On top of that, choosing which software to use is a challenge. In the wake of too many options, we end up confused and in analysis paralysis mode. We do nothing with our precious memories and risk losing them all.

This is a pretty common challenge for the family photo taker. Most of us jump into doing mode, quickly get discouraged and overwhelmed and quit. The best first step to eliminate the confusion is to go into “learning” mode. Of course, this can be quite challenging because there are so many resources available, even if you are tech savvy.

Since I’ve been on a mission to get my own digital photos in order and I know how confusing it can be, I’m going to help you short-cut all of the research so you can get started with organizing your digital photos. Today, I’m laying out the four different types of digital photo organizing & storage storage options available, examples of each and which are best for photos.

Photo Printing Services allow you to upload your photos, perform some basic editing, share them with family and friends and order prints of all sizes as well as products with your images on them such as calendars, coffee mugs, mouse pads, t-shirts, etc. They get a “thumbs down” from me because you (or anyone you share them with) don’t have access to download originals- you need to order them on a cd and that can get costly if you need to replace your photo collection. Shutterfly and Snapfish two of the most popular examples of Photo Printing services.

Photo Sharing & Backup Services allow you to upload your photos, perform advanced editing, share them publicly, or with family and friends and order prints or products with your images. They also provide you with the option of sharing the originals and allowing others to download them. Finally, since many are providing a ton of storage for free, I’ve included them as a backup option as well. Since you’re already taking the time to upload your photos, why not use software that serves as an off-site backup as well? For those reasons, these services get a “thumbs up” from me. Flickr, Google+ Photos and PhotoBucket are some popular Photo Sharing & Backup services.

Online Automatic Backup services provide you with an off-site backup of all types of digital files including documents, email, music, photos, etc. They are often continual, rather than incremental, and automatic. Some services are based on amount of storage space required, some price by computer and some also backup external and/networked drives or share files. These also get a “thumbs up” from me as a duplicate form of backup. Carbonite and Mozy are two reputable services that have been around for several years. While Backblaze and Crashplan are up and comers to the personal backup market.

Cloud Storage & File Sharing services enable you to store documents and files in the cloud, sync between devices and share them with others quickly and easily. Since these services typically focus their features on document sharing and storage, I don’t recommend these for storing and organizing photos. This list includes Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, Apple iCloud, Google Plus Photos and Microsoft OneDrive.

And, in case you like pretty colors and comparison charts like I do, I’ve included a pdf below which you can download that compares some of the basic features for choosing digital photo organizing and storage tools online.

Please let me know if you have any questions about anything I mentioned. I’d love to hear if you are a raving fan for a tool that didn’t make my list.

Digital Photo Organizing Tools Comparison Chart

Ciao for now!

Sig1

 

 

If you’re drowning in digital photos and are not sure what to do, the guide I’m creating may be just the help you need. Enter your email address in the form below to find out more!

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7 Roadblocks That Prevent You From Organizing Your Digital Photos

PreciousMemoriesWhy do you take photographs, anyway? I take photos because I want to share something or remember it (capture the moment). We don’t take photos so they can remain on our phones or memory cards indefinitely but that is usually what happens.

Not intentionally, of course. There’s usually an internal conversation that goes something like this: “This software is supposed to help me organize my photos but I’m confused about how to use it or it doesn’t do what I need it to. The process of downloading photos from every device is too much of a PIA. I don’t know the best method for backing up my photos and I know I should be doing it regularly but I’m too busy to remember to do it. I have it backed up to the cloud automatically for free so it should be fine…for now, anyway. I already share & backup my photos using social media and/or photo printing sites, so that’s good enough, right?”

1. Not taking time to learn the software- As with ANY software, it’s important to take time to learn the features and functions as well as determine how and when you will use it.

2. Not spending time defining what you need- As technology and software options grow in number and features, it is increasingly important to spend more time on the selection process to ensure you have the right software/service for your needs.

3. Too many steps/systems- Having disparate systems for storing/organizing photos can be mind-boggling. It’s ideal to collect photos into a single location and streamline your process as much as possible. Once you have something in place, you won’t even need to think about it.

4. Overwhelming volume- Digital cameras only became mainstream in the mid to late 1990’s and camera phones started to take off by the end of 2003, with the first iPhone being introduced in 2007. So this technology is still relatively new, growing at break-neck pace and solutions still need to catch up with the new problems created by this wonderful technology.

5. Technology moving at break-neck speed- As I indicated in #4, with the introduction of cloud storage, backup methods are rapidly changing and it’s challenging to know which one offers the features you need.

6. Keeping everything & dumping it in a container- Coincidentally, this is a method that many people use to organize their physical stuff, too…and it doesn’t work well there either! Backing up all of your photos with little or no (intervention/input?) is like taking every single piece of paper that has ever come across your path and dumping them into a warehouse full of filing cabinets. Great, you have it but do you really need it and can you find it (quickly)? Plus, how are you going to address the legacy of your photos? It’s only useful to HAVE it, if you can find it when you need it.

7. Unrealistic expectations- Don’t expect a social media site to provide backup services for your photos. That’s not what they are intended to do. Shared photos can quickly get buried on social media sites. Plus, social media sites can be confusing and frustrating for less tech-savvy family members to navigate. Photo printing websites allow you to share images and slide-shows digitally but don’t give those you share with (or even you, for that matter) access to the original. You need to pay to get that. Yes, even if you are the one who uploaded the photos. I’m working on a guide right now that will help you avoid the hassle of figuring these things out, regardless of which devices you use. I’ve included how to manage digital photos from download to done and how to deal with the backlog.

Do you have a plan for removing or addressing these roadblocks? If you’re drowning in digital photos and are not sure what to do, the guide I’m creating may be just the help you need. Enter your email address in the form below.

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Quit Organizing Email

As an info junkie myself, I get frustrated about the plethora of information available online about “the what” and “the why” (what you should be doing and why) and lack of “the how-to”. It is so frustrating when you’re on board with an idea and you understand its merits but you’re not sure HOW to execute it. So, where appropriate, I have decided to include that info in my posts.
Quit Organizing Email

Managing your inbox (or not) or “checking email” is a huge source of frustration for many small business owners and if you’re an online business owner the problem can be accentuated because you do most of your business through digital means. Based on my work with and feedback from online business owners, filing and organizing email is a common source of frustration and time suck.

It’s easy to spend way too much time organizing, labeling and filing email messages. I’ve worked with clients who have over 200 email folders, not to mention additional nested folders. Can you say “complicated”?

The What: One of the simplest ways to eliminate time spent on filing, labeling and organizing, etc. is to stop doing it. Seriously.

The Why: I suggest applying Pareto’s Principle or the 80/20 Rule to email messages we keep: 80 percent of what you retain you will never look for or at again. While I have never officially tracked this metric, I have seen anecdotal evidence that it is true. So, why spend so much time and energy on messages you’ll never refer to again?

The How-To: Create a single processed or “done” folder (or use the archive feature in Gmail) and file all of the messages you’re going to keep into it. Then, invest some time into learning how best to search that folder so you can find information quickly. For Apple Mail, this MacLife article on using search tokens (i.e. From, to, etc.) will help get you started. If you’re using Microsoft Outlook, I highly recommend purchasing and downloading X1 Search 8 (formerly X1 Professional Client)- it’s so worth it! Feel free to message me privately if you have any questions about X1.  And, if you’re using Gmail, you can find advanced search operators here.

The second part is extremely important. Having the ability to retrieve what you need quickly will help you to trust the process. Trust and confidence in these steps will eliminate the need to spend unnecessary time filing or further processing your email messages. After all, you have more email coming in as we speak. Don’t worry about moving or reorganizing your existing folder/label structure. Simply create one new folder, label it something meaningful to you and file completed messages into it.

When I first introduce this concept to online business owners, they are hesitant to try it. Understandably so. It is a significant change from how you may have been filing email but I promise it will provide you with a meaningful result. I urge you to try it for 2 weeks…most people who have tried it are fans in much less time.

If you’ve already switched over to this method of filing messages, let me know in the comments how it’s working for you. If you haven’t, would you consider taking my two week challenge?