Photo Organizing for Special Events

As we all know we are entering the time of year when our calendars are filled with special events.

 

The next few months will be chock-full of special moments. There are the expected holidays, there will be parties, engagements, vacations, graduations, sporting events, and pregnancy announcements (this happened twice in my family…at Thanksgiving…it was awesome).

What I’m hinting at is that there are a lot of opportunities to not only make amazing memories but to take amazing photographs. These kind of photos are the kind that pays dividends for generations. special event photographs can serve as signposts in our lives. Here is what our family looked like in 1975! Here we are in 1996!

This week I want to encourage you to take few minutes to take a few minutes to prepare for taking lots of photos of all your special events.

 

  1. Take a look at your camera before the event. Is it charged? Are there photos still on it from your last event? Upload any old photos and make a promise to improve your photo habits.
  2. How well do you know your camera? Do you use your phone or a digital camera? Hop on the internet and look up “Tips for taking better photos with ____________.” There are SO many great tips on taking better photos from lighting to framing. A five-minute search will make your photos amazing. Well worth the investment.
  3. Create a “shoot list.” That’s a list of photos you want to take. That’s especially important if you want group shots. I would suggest sending everyone an email. That way your friends and family can be camera ready. It also helps you focus on getting your shots before the moment passes.
  4. Be a photojournalist. Don’t be afraid to play around with perspective; move around, change levels, get in close. All these techniques make for more interesting photos than everyone standing in a line, fake smiling.
  5. Think about photo gifts. A thoughtful, unexpected photo makes a wonderful gift. Think about how you can not only capture the personality of your friends and family but how you can flatter them. How you can show your love. The idea is not to gift a 11×13 photo to your uncle of him chowing on turkey. A better moment is your father teaching your daughter how to carve the turkey. That’s a special event.

 

 

 

 

How To Make A Vacation Photo Album

Vacation Goal: Make an amazing vacation photo album.

As we move from spring into summer many of us are dreaming of vacations. We are planning, organizing, and prioritizing where we will spend our few precious vacation days.

I have one more item to add to your pre-vacation to-do list…plan your vacation photo album.

 

I know many of you wait until your home to make your vacation album. That’s too late! You’re tired, you’ve spent your extra cash, and you’re scrambling to make up for the time off. I mean…laundry alone…we’ve all been there.

My advice is to take a few minutes to plan a photo shoot list. All top photographers make these types of lists before they go to a shoot. They know from experience that its easy get caught up in the moment and forget great shots. I’m not suggesting you don’t take lots of spontaneous shots….take lots. I am suggesting that before you go you make a photo plan.

Let’s say you are going to the Grand Canyon, a trip I highly recommend, and you want to capture the natural beauty and a spirit of adventure. A photo shoot list might include:

o   Pictures of the canyon
o   Group picture of the family hiking
o   Silly pictures of each family member
o   Pictures of your cabin, campsite, or cool hotel

I’d also add to make sure you have lots of “filler” photos for your book. I like to add pictures of animals, wildflowers, waterfalls, interesting rocks, great meals, and endless roads. Those sorts of pictures trigger memories of the trip…those waffles!

When you get home give yourself a few days to process the trip before you jump into making your album. The REAL memorable events might not be what you expect. Only when you’re well rested can you review the trip with a little distance and pick out which memories/photos really depict the trip.

Your next step is to upload all of your photos into ONE folder. Get all your family members to either upload to your vacation folder or email their photos to you so that you can collect them all in one place. You don’t want to create a gorgeous album only to realize your daughter had some once in a lifetime shots on her phone.

After you’ve gathered your photos, go through and delete the not great ones, the duplicates, the images that didn’t turn out like you intended. I would expect this part to delete at least a third of your photos. Now, double-check that photo list and make sure you have at least one of every shot you planned for. If you have duplicate shots, pick the best one and delete the rest. You are looking for quality rather than quantity. 

This next step is THE MOST OVERLOOKED and is one of the most important. After you’ve sorted for winners take a moment to double-check your meta-data. Hold on!!! I know that’s a confusing word…stick with me. It just means the photos information, not scary and VERY important. Most digital photos are now packed with great information: date, location, and even facial recognition. This is the perfect time to make sure that info is accurate. Every once in while my phone goes crazy and lists my photo’s location as China. That’s cool but not true. So, just double-check. Is the date right? Is the location right? Is the Mona Lisa a friend of yours?

This is also the perfect time to add those tags: summer vacation, hiking, national park, modern family. Which tags you use are up to you…just keep it consistent.

Your last step is to upload your photos to a photo service to make the album. There are many online companies that make photo books. The one you use should be the one you are most comfortable with both in quality and price. Also, consider whether you want to just print a photo book or if you want to share digital albums with friends and family. When you create the album online don’t forget to add those filler photos. It really upgrades your album.

I hope your summer vacation takes you someplace amazing and that your trip is filled both with happy adventures and amazing photographs.

Where are you planning on going this summer and what photos are you hoping to take?

Four Tips To Declutter and Organize Your Digital Photos

 

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December 2016 Facebook Statistic

The above quote is from Facebook. They are a photo storage giant. 90 billion photos. Can you imagine?!

 

Here’s the thing…I bet you can. I bet you feel like you have nine billion photos on your phone alone. You probably have another 60 in the cloud…whatever that means? And 160 billion on your hard drive. Let’s face it…we have a lot of digital photos. A LOT. I find the Facebook statistic fascinating because, that’s a lot of photos, that statistic is JUST Facebook. It doesn’t even include Instagram (which Facebook owns) or Twitter or holy cow…Snapchat!! We are drowning in digital photos. I know I am. By my last count, I’m at 30,000. That’s unique images. Not to mention why must iPhoto do that weird face thing? Why?! Does anyone like it? I will say it does give me a chuckle when it picks out my dog’s face or I have one of the Mona Lisa who it thinks is a friend of mine…awesome.

Here are five tips that will help you to organize and declutter your part of the 200 million photos before they get uploaded to Facebook.

 

This first step is crucial. You have to get all your photos into one place. Please do not say “Hodgepodge Girl…they are ALL on my phone!” I will save my rant about leaving photos on your phone for another day. For now, download them to whatever photo service you use: iPhoto, Google photo, Amazon, Window’s photo gallery, Forever, Lightroom

 

 

  1. Delete Duplicates. I like to use Photo Sweeper for macs and Duplicate Photo Fixer Pro for PCs. DPFP is capable of doing both…I just prefer PS.
  2. Now that you have a good idea of how many original photos you have…you need to start deleting. This is usually the hardest part for people because keeping the image seems easier than deleting. It’s not. I’ve   even had clients who had no idea who people in the photo were…but were sure they should keep it. Why?! I might figure it out someday. Ahem…no you won’t.  No one is so bored they peruse old digital photos to see if they can remember people they forgot. It’s not going to happen. Delete.
  3. Your photo collection is now so clean and shiny. It’s time to start tagging. This is a step that is often overlooked because…it’s tedious. We all love the instant gratification of taking a photo, some even download them, but NO ONE wants to tag…before it lands on social media. The thing is tagging…before you upload to your Facebook is VERY, VERY important for you. It makes it really easy to find pictures later on if you should want to use them for gifts or slideshows or just quick trip down memory lane. I recommend tagging the following info: YEAR, EVENT, PERSON (2016, Park City Ski Trip, Danny) That way you can do really quick searches to pull up a great range of photos. Some fun ideas would be a year in review slideshow, a calendar for Danny, a photo album of ski trips. So get tagging!
  4. Now that you have your digital photo collection organized, decluttered, tagged it’s time to get it off your hard drive. There are a lot of great cloud services. I use Forever and I love it. I have an app on my phone and iPad so I can have all my photos handy and they don’t take up any of my storage space. I can make quick gifts and have them shipped. I can even share photo albums with my friends and family. Not to mention they are safe from technical glitches (dropping my phone) that can happen when your photos aren’t backed up.

I hope this has given you some great ideas on how to move digitally clutter free into the New Year. Happy 2017!!

 

Hodgepodge Girl’s Seven Steps To Creating Unique Photo Books

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We all want to give gifts that mean something. I know this time of year it can get amazingly frustrating when the time is short, money is shorter, and the lines could not get any longer. I’m here to suggest a better gift than yet another gift card. Make your giftee a photo book!

“Well, that’s great Hodgepodge Girl…who. has. the. time. And…it sounds expensive and hard.”

Well…now that you mentioned it my bedraggled (don’t you love that word!) and overwhelmed holiday elf….it is not. Here are my seven easy steps to creating a gift that has meaning, will be loved, and won’t break the bank.

**The featured picture of this post is from one of the annual road trips I take with my brother, Wade. I’ll use this as my example and Wade as my giftee.

Step #1     Give your book a theme (a theme song is even better). For my book I’m choosing “Road Trippin” and my theme song is “On the road again…” By Mr. Willie Nelson

Step #2     Create a folder/album on your computer with the title of your photo book….example “Road Trippin”

Step #3     Look through all your photos and just pull any that you feel should show up in a book about road trips. Do not over think this part. It doesn’t matter if the person you’re giving the gift to was originally associated with the picture, as long as it references the theme. If I had an interesting picture of a gas pump, old car, or tire, I would add it to the folder. Next, you want to add pictures of the person you’re giving the gift to and pictures of you with the person. Get creative. Just keep adding photos. The more to choose from the better.

Some I would add to this book:

funphotobooksatthehodgepodgegirl
Route 66
hodgepodgegirl
Our road trippin parents

The pictures are connected by the theme of my brother, myself, and the road.

 

Step #4     Now that you’ve added a lot of pictures to your folder, go through and edit/delete. What I look for in keepers are: photos that fit the theme, are interesting/funny and emphasize the connection I want to share with the other person.

This isn’t a slam book so keep embarrassing pictures to a minimum and highlight your loved one having fun. A picture of my brother drooling all over while he sleeps would make me laugh but probably not him. This is a great time to break out those fantastic filters also. Get old-timey!

Step #5     Create that book! Since I moved all my photos to Forever for storage I’ve used them for everything. I’ve been very happy with the service. It’s a fantastic way to create unique photo books and even calendars. The other service I recommend is Shutterfly. They make it really easy to create personalized gifts. Both of these services have templates that you pick, upload the photos, and bam! Your all done. You can add quotes, song lyrics, your own comments as to why this theme is special.

As for price…a really nice photo book should run you about $15-40. I think that’s a great price for a unique holiday gift.

Step #6     Review! Review! Review! Take the time to go through your file/album and make sure that you didn’t miss any gems. I speak from experience when I’ve given the gift only to realize that I forgot the best picture! My advice is to double-check, triple-check.

Step #7     Give that present! And sit back in gift giving heaven. You created a unique, thoughtful gift. You were creative and generous with your time. You strengthen your connection with someone you care about. And you didn’t break the bank. All in all, I call photo books the perfect present.

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Wade & I at the north rim of THE grand canyon…unforgettable!

3 Tips For Organizing Neat and Tidy Photo Albums

Don’t hate me…but I am the girl who got a pony for Christmas.

 

She was…and I’m not joking here…under my tree. I have the photo evidence: me, my dog, and the winter wonderland that was that Christmas to prove it.

I’m hoping that this holiday season you and your family have spectacular, wonderful, magical memories that you will cherish forever. At the very least, I hope you have super fun photos that you can use to extort family members for years. It’s often a season of odd choices…fashion-wise.

Today, I want to help you wrangle the plethora of holiday photos you’ll take in neat and tidy order and give you a few tips on what to do with the photos you already have.

Tip #1

Go through your digital photos while they are still on your phone and delete, delete, delete. You will save yourself a lot of time if you just take a minute to delete your photos before they get to the cloud and it becomes a huge chore of how to delete this gosh darn thing?! Been there, done that.

Tip #2

Make a folder on your computer (Holiday 2016) and upload your photos off your phone regularly. If you have kids, I would say daily. For the rest of us make a point of doing it at least twice this month.

Tip #3

Use a service like shutterfly to make physical photo albums of your holiday photos. They are not expensive, they make fantastic gifts, and they are much easier to store than traditional photo albums. This is an especially great tip if you have little ones and grandparents who don’t get to see them during the holidays. It’s a fantastic way to share your joy.

I hope these tips were helpful for how to set up a simple system for keeping your holiday photos neat and tidy. I cannot give a strong enough recommendation to preserving and sharing your holiday photos. If not for yourself, then for your family.

Holiday memories shared bring more joy than even the best present.

If you have a moment, please share a treasured holiday memory or gift that really touched your heart.

 

Disconnecting to Connect

I’ve just come back from a fantastic vacation.

I embraced the idea of disconnecting to connect.

feel rested, rejuvenated, and reconnected to my true self. It was all things a vacation should be.

 

Every year I go back to the same small island off the coast of Massachusetts to reconnect to myself, my husband, and the beauty of the Earth. I watch the sunrise, I sail, I run, I bike, I eat homemade ice cream, I drink fantastic wine, I listen to the lighthouse’s boom on foggy evenings, I play with my dog, and I stare at the glory of the Milky Way every night. I live each day to the fullest.

What I don’t do is read the news, watch the news, or get on the internet.I don’t watch TV or return phone calls. I don’t email. It feels so refreshing.

 

It is often claimed that we live in the age of connection. That we are more “connected” than ever before. I disagree. If my “connection” fasts have taught me nothing else they have made crystal clear that the majority of us are more disconnected than ever before. A fantastic photo series by Eric Pickersgill illustrates how dependent we are on technology and how disconnected that dependence has made us. I find the photos heartbreaking. I also find them hugely truth-telling. We are not connected. We are barely present. We are barely living.

Next time you go on vacation, consider using your phone only for family photos. Take a break from “connection” and really be present in your own life. You will rediscover what it means to be truly connected.