Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Photography and Blogging

This is our camera of choice.  Canon EOS Rebel T3i.  We think it is a  great entry level DSLR camera that is still relatively easy to use.  So far, the only issue we've had is one you'll have with any DSLR that you won't experience with a point and shoot.  When you go from cool indoor temperatures to hot outdoor temperatures (especially when humid), you'll experience the lenses and mirrors inside the camera getting fogged up.  Usually, you will just have to give the camera a chance to adjust to the change in temperatures for the fog to clear, but you may need to gently wipe the lenses and mirrors with a very soft cloth.  Our camera came with cloths to use.  This was a little problem for us on our recent beach vacation because we are in the south where air conditioning is a necessity.  When we would go out on the beach, the camera would take about 20 minutes to warm up for the fog to clear.  :-) 

While sorting and going through our family's beach photographs, I decided that I would write this post that I have been thinking about for a while.  I must clarify that this blog serves as our family's primary memory preservation tool so many of our posts are very photo intensive.  I print blog books for our family's record keeping so I pick the best pictures for our memory books.  I have downloaded all the pictures from our five day vacation to Myrtle Beach and have a current total of over 1,500 pictures.  Ha!  No, I will not be posting all 1,500 have my word on that!  Our way of insuring that we get the best pictures to document our children's lives is by taking a ton of pictures and then picking the best ones from the bunch.  It sounds like a lot of work, but to me, it is worth it!  I have been thinking of writing a post about how I manage the business of organizing, sorting, uploading, and posting our pictures for a while now.  I have a good system that works for me so maybe it would help others.  Many folks I know keep pictures on their camera for months and never download them to their computer.  For me, that would make the task even more daunting and unmanageable.  While it does take me some time, photographing and then organizing, editing, and managing those photographs has become a sort of hobby for me.  In the evenings after the kids have gone to bed, I often spend an hour or so working on this hobby.  After an "event," I try to quickly download the pictures from the camera.  For one thing, I don't want anything to happen to those pictures.  I have had a couple of "scares" where I thought I lost some priceless ones.  Anyway, I have organized folders for my pictures.  Currently, I do have 142 GB (over 34,000 files) worth of pictures and videos in the main folder.  Within that folder, those photographs and videos are organized into a few types of categories.  First, my children each have a separate folder.  Within their folders, I have their photographs organized by years and some events (like birthdays, etc.).  I then have main folders for years with pictures from events from those years, i.e., holidays, trips, seasons, etc.  Usually, if I want to find a particular picture, I know right where to look and can find it within minutes.  Without this system, I know I could not do that, and my pictures would be basically unusable to me.

So once I download the pictures from the camera, I then go through the pictures and pick out the ones I want to preserve into a memory book and blog post.  Since I'll usually have several shots from any particular event, I'll pick the best shot.  I usually open the picture in photo editing software (I often just use Microsoft Paint if nothing major is, I am not an apple/mac user) and then "resize" the photo to make it a smaller file size for uploading to my photo sharing site.  This makes uploading a whole lot faster and does not affect the quality of the photo for printing into a blog book.  The size of the picture in a blog book will be about the size of a 4X6 print.  After I have resized the picture (in Paint it is very simple to resize any picture and you can usually just resize to 50% the original size), I save the picture in a temporary location and do not save over the original file.  I do like to keep the original large file size in case I ever want to print an enlargement of a picture or just to keep the best quality picture.  I just save the edited picture under my main "My Pictures" folder with a file name like "beach1.jpg" and so forth.  This allows me to quickly find all the pictures I have edited and upload them to a file sharing site.  After I have edited all the pictures I want to upload, I then go to my file sharing site and select a folder in that site (I use photobucket) to save the edited pictures.  Since the pictures are already a smaller size, it usually only takes a few minutes to upload.

Keeping the photos in a file sharing site allows me a couple of advantages.  First, it is a great backup for my pictures.  If I ever lose my computer or my hard drive crashes, I won't lose all my pictures.  Of course, I do also have a portable hard drive that I use to back up pictures and videos on as well, but it is nice to know I have some backed up online too.  I actually read a blog from a wonderful lady whose family lost everything they owned in a fire.  She was such an inspiration as she and her family were missionaries who truly lived to serve God.  While she didn't mind losing all of her earthly possessions as long as she had her family, she was understandably upset about losing the priceless memories they had stored over the years in both print and on computer.  I was so choked up by her story and knew that was one of my greatest fears second only to losing any of my loved ones.  Anyway, backing up our pictures just gives me a little extra peace of mind.

Moving on, once the photos are uploaded to the file sharing site, I can easily write my blog posts and add the html codes of the pictures from my photo sharing site.  While I realize that everyone may have their own system they utilize to manage the task of digital photography storage and management, I hope that my little system may be helpful to someone.  Feel free to ask me any questions you may have!

Now, I am on to the fun task of whittling down the 1,500 beach pictures into a more manageable size.  Ha!



  1. Very good tips. Sometimes just the thought of all I do with our pictures is exhausting. I keep thinking- my mom never had to do any of this. I love digital photography, but it does create a lot more work!

    1. Yes, very exhausting and even more so when you get behind! I think I probably go overboard because I don't have too many pics of my childhood (although I am blessed to even have what I do thanks to a lovely social worker). I just can't help myself and my husband is about as bad! ;-)

  2. I also download my pictures to my computer right away, about every day or so, because I can't imagine keeping so many pictures on my camera. I wish I knew more about photo editing software but I don't so all of my pictures of straight from the camera to my blog or to be printed.

    Yep, I still print pictures. I like the idea of looking through the albums I have. And I never see people's pictures anymore because they have them all on computers, unsorted, and it takes forever.

    1. I like printed pics too, but I just couldn't keep up with the printing process so I thought printing yearly blog books would be easier. Of course, I'm behind on that too! ;-)


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