Category Archives: Photo Organizing

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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Are You Drowning in Digital Photos, too?

Photo Collage PileAre you afflicted with DPD or Digital Photo Overload? I am. But I’m ready to tackle it. I love that we live in the digital age and can snap photos anywhere and everywhere. The problem lies in managing the volume so we can cherish and share the moments we capture on film {shout out if you’re old enough to have captured photos on actual film}. You can’t do that if you can’t find your photos.

For various reasons over the past ten years or so, I stopped getting photos printed. My “good” camera was bulky and slow to capture moments and I just stopped taking it out for anything but special occasions. Eventually, I stopped even doing that and started counting on friends and family to share their photos with me. I was frustrated but it wasn’t too high on my list of problems to solve, so I continued on that path for a while.

I was reminded of the pain any time I visited friends or family who did a fabulous job of not only capturing the special moments but displaying them as well, like my sister-in-law. I was/am envious of how she is able to incorporate her photos into her decor and love the photos of my nephews that she shares {well, maybe not 300 at a time}. Still, I did nothing.

And then, my son was born. Not only did I want to capture the fleeting moments of his infancy and childhood but the requests for new photos of him from family came at a fever pitch. {Let’s face it, no one really cares about pictures of my husband and I.} Suddenly, I was taking more than one hundred pictures each month. Then, I got an iPhone and I was taking even more pictures. You’re with me, right?

So now the problem was that I wasn’t downloading, uploading and sharing them with family. And while I am capturing more photos, I’m not doing anything to document or display them in a meaningful way.

The first problem I set out to tackle was sharing and backup. I currently use Carbonite to backup my computer files, which covers my photos stored on my pc, so that’s covered. However, I know it’s smart to have redundant backup so I included that on my wish list when searching for a photo sharing service.

Here’s what I wanted/needed in a photo sharing service:

  • Easy to use- I don’t want to spend all of my free time struggling with and learning how to use something new so it needs to be simple
  • Has to work- It simply has to work when I’m able to dedicate the time. I can’t be waiting forever for files to upload.
  • Ability to store/share originals- This is a biggie! So many photo sharing sites don’t share or allow you to download the original. You have to place an order to get that…even if you uploaded it to your own account. I wanted anyone I shared with to have access to the original for printing or their own photo projects.
  • Stores and shares photos and videos privately
  • Provide a straightforward option for friends and family who want to get photos printed
  • Provides inexpensive storage options- The fact of the matter is that I can’t afford to have twenty different monthly/annual recurring expenses for photos, notes, email, documents, etc. even if it’s nominal.
  • Serve as an additional backup

I finally settled on Flickr. Here’s why:

  • Flickr has been around for a while- When I want to invest myself in a software service, longevity is something I take very seriously. I don’t want to jump in with both feet and then have the service go away in three months.
  • They offer a ton of free storage- Currently, you can get an acount with 1 Terabyte of free storage. That’s a lot of bytes!
  • I can share the originals- There is a setting where you can share the original file with friends and/or family. They can then download or have the photos printed whereever they choose.
  • Ease of use- This is the one wishlist item I compromised on a little bit. I’m pretty tech savvy and I find the site a bit confusing to use but since it had everything else I was looking for nailed, I chose it anyway. It just requires a little bit of time investment and Googling up front to figure out how to take advantage of specific features. Maybe I’ll do a tutorial one of these days.

While I’m not exactly caught up, I’m getting there. I have a system for downloading pictures and videos to my computer, which I’ll share with you in a future post. I am now uploading/sharing them on Flickr {so the family is finally off my back, sort of}.  I have entered a recurring task on my calendar to organize and upload photos every two weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Is photo organizing the bain of your existence? What is your biggest complaint? Or are your photos perfectly organized, categorized and documented in a scrap or photobook? I’m sure we’d all love to hear what’s working for you.