How to actually do stuff with your photos

So the book is out! Yay! Let us talk of other things.

Because last month I was doing the January thing of pottering around making my calendar for the year (I make one from photos from the previous year), finishing up on my Project Life for 2015 (and starting to go back and doing some older years – I have done 2011 and 2012 now) and am doing a Lightroom photo organisation course, I have been pondering how my photos have changed over the years. I think I got my first digital camera in 2006 (at least that’s when the first digital pics are dated in my iPhoto or whatever it’s called these days).

Here is one of my very first digital pictures (starring the orange cat).

Orange cat

In 2007 I took about 300 photos. In July 2008, I got my first iPhone and that year I took about 800 photos (though to be fair that year I had two trips to Tassie for weddings and holidays plus a trip to Germany for work and went to RWA in San Francisco so that’s an outlier in terms of big travel for me and travel equals more photos).

2008 was probably the first year I realised I really enjoyed photography. In 2009 I only took about 400 (a more normal year travel wise). In 2011 I bought a DSLR. In 2011 I took about 2000 photos (also had two big trips). Once I got the DSLR I started baby steps about learning about taking better photos. Towards the end of 2012 the iPhone camera got good (my iPhone 5) and photo editing apps started to get good too.  In 2013 I joined Instagram. In 2014 my camera phone got better again with the 6 and in 2014/2015 I was definitely a more regular Instagram user and that meant I take photos most days. Last year I took nearly 3600 photos (well, that includes edited versions and originals). All in all I think there are nearly 14000 photos on my computer (hence the need for a better organisation system). And looking back, my photos are a lot better now and then (hopefully not just because of better equipment).

IMG_6332

Anyway, this might be a very long winded way of saying practice makes you better at things but also it’s a waste to let all those photos sit on your computer and never enjoy them.

So here are five of my fave things for helping you enjoy your pics.

(1) Apple TV (slightly odd but I put my fave shots into the screen saver folder so when it’s on screensaver, I get to enjoy memories). Other streaming things probably let you do the same thing. (I have the older Apple TV version but if one of mine died I’d replace it in a heartbeat with the new one).

(2) Snapseed app. This is my fave app for quick editing of photos whether taken on the iPhone or on one of my other cameras. Lightroom has some editing functionality as well…need to learn how to use it.

(3) Instagram app. All the pretty pictures your heart could desire. (Note the link goes to the web version where you can view your pics and other peoples but to actually upload pics you need the app on your phone). I generally take pics with the iPhone’s inbuilt camera. Sometimes I use Camera+ or VSCO but I need to get more familiar with them so I tend to default to the inbuilt camera which is pretty darn good these days. Instagram makes basic editing with filters and editing dead easy so you can make your pics look even cooler and it’s easy to share from to your other social media (and there are a bajillion other apps you can use to filter or add text etc before you get to Instagram).Plus it makes me think about taking a picture most days and capturing ordinary moments as well as the fun stuff. I’m @melwrites on Instagram if you want to see my pics.

(4) Project Life app – I talked about Project Life last year and said I was thinking of doing a mix of physical and digital but I ended up using the app for all of last year and will be doing the same this year and have started going back and doing my digital pics for earlier years too (I’ll use up the physical stuff when I get around to organising pre-digital pics one day and in other crafty projects). For the record I still kind of do a mix of event type spreads and then some miscellaneous stuff each month rather than weekly spreads.

For me the app is easy, it’s right there all the time, you can buy the kits for way less than they cost in other formats (so I have all the pretty things to choose from) and it’s speedy. You can either get each page printed and put them in an album (the app has an in-app printing option but for Aussies I’d imagine it’s probably cheaper to just export the pages and get them printed here) or make a photo book out of them. I do the photo books because they’re easier to store. There are lots of places that do photobooks and most of them have sales regularly so you can get a nice book for a reasonable amount. If the Aussie dollar exchange rate improves, I’m going to try Artifact Uprising one day because their books look gooorrrrggggeeeeeeeous.

(5) Chatbooks app – a recent discovery. You hook your Instagram up to the app and it makes little photo books every time you have 60 pictures and sends them to you automatically (you get a notification three days before the new one is scheduled to print so you can go in and delete any pics or edit captions etc). I think each book works out to be about $10 US shipped which is affordable. If you have a backlog when you first join you can choose to get more books at a time for the first few months until you’re caught up and you can stop the subscription at any time. I just got my first batch and they’re very cute and a good way of remembered what was going on as they have the caption and the date of each pic (which helps with my Project Life). Given the number of pics I take in a year, there’s no way I’m putting them all in my Project Life album for the year, so this is another way to have a record of what’s going on. (The picture quality isn’t as high as a big photobook (and honestly printing instagram pics always seems to be a little bit of a crap shoot about what kind of graininess you might get) but as a fairly effortless and cute way to have a record of my daily snaps, I can live with that. They look like this.

Teeny photo books by ChatBooks

Honourable mentions to:

(1) Flickr which is a great photo site which pretty much led the way in this online photo sharing thing. I just get slack about uploading stuff there (my Instagram feeds automatically there and I put other stuff up when I remember as it’s yet another way to back up photos. Back up, back up, back up).

(2) Printing (aka going old skool) in various ways. As I said earlier, I also make myself a calendar each year of 12 fave shots from the year before. And I have had pictures and canvases printed for that old skool thing of putting pictures up on display :D. There are too many photo printing sites to count and someone is always having a sale. I tend to use Momento for my calendars and Snapfish for other things (Snapfish have free (I think) pick up at K-Mart which is good as I have a K-Mart close by so can save on shipping) but I’ve had photos printed via Apple and other sites as well. My printer actually doesn’t do that great a job on printing photos so when it finally dies a printer that does print nice photos will be acquired.

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