Organizing and searching for pictures

Over the last week we have been going through some of the old family pictures to try to organize them so we would have a chance of finding them in the future.  We started by create boxes for  each family.  When people from more than one family are in a picture we had to decide which family to put the picture with.  That is one nice thing about the search function in Original PhotoBook you can search for pictures no matter which PhotoBook they were placed in when they were uploaded.

The search function will use all the information that has been entered for each picture to locate the picture(s) you are looking for. This eliminates the need to remember which box the original picture is stored in when you want or need a copy.

Since all of the pictures are available online you do not need to dig through old boxes to find a picture.  This is great if the pictures are stored at your brothers or aunts house across town or across the country. In addition if you have internet access when you are traveling you can locate and show family and friends any pictures on Original PhotoBook without having to have all of the pictures on your tablet or phone.

When traveling where there is no internet access use the search function to locate the pictures you want to share and downloaded them to your tablet.

 

Joe Borsche

Joe Borsche is the owner of Borsche Digital, LLC and has been designing and creating application programs  since the 1980’s.  Work on Original PhotoBook started in 2002  as a personal application that is now being offered to the general public.

Trip to Alaska

We recently returned from a 10 day vacation in Alaska with over 550 digital pictures on our camera and cell phones.  After going through them to delete the duplicates and other useless pictures we were left with over 400 pictures worth saving.

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Mt McKinley

So I uploaded these 400+ pictures to our Original PhotoBook account. Since they were all digital pictures, the Original PhotoBook upload process automatically added the date from the information in the digital file. So as long as the dates in the camera and/or cell phone are accurate the pictures will be in the correct order.

Then going through the pictures on Original PhotoBook I was able to easily add the location and information about each picture, while I could still remember the details.  Now that information is stored with each picture for the future.

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Old steam engine for the White Pass and Yukon Railroad.

Since I was consistent in the way I entered the information about the pictures, I can easily search and find pictures with the build in search function.

My next step will be to select about 120 to 150 of the best pictures and place them in a personal album to be printed. With each page having a picture and description of picture containing location, names, dates and any other important information. That way in years to come I will know what each picture is.

Joe

What kind of camera should I buy?

What kind of camera should I buy? How many times have I been asked that question? It’s like being asked, “What kind of car should I buy?” The only sensible answer is, “It depends on how you intend to use is.”

These days, digital cameras range from a cell phone camera to a high-end medium format camera with a digital back that almost no one needs.

Let’s take a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular types:

Cell phone camera

iphone-338961_1920The cell phone camera has two big advantages: 1) it is essentially free because it comes with your phone whether you want it or not; and 2) you (almost) always have it with you. The photojournalists’ maxim has traditionally been: “f/8 and be there,” which means don’t worry about your camera settings. Just set it to f/8 and be where the action is. For instance, everyone has seen D-Day pictures. For the most part the image quality is terrible; but they are great photographs because the photographer was in the action and captured what he saw.

You probably won’t be shooting anything like D-Day, but you can always have your cell phone camera ready for that shot at a gathering of friends or when your kid does something cute.

Another important advantage of a cell phone camera for many people is that it is extremely easy to upload pictures to a site like Facebook or to e-mail or text them to other people. If you use any other type of camera, you need to transfer your image files from the camera to your cell phone or computer first.

Compact point-and-shoot camera

camera-277145This is the first step up from the cell phone camera. These cameras are easy to toss in your pocket and produce shots that are a bit better than the cell phone camera. They also provide a modicum of control over the image, which is generally not available at all in the cell phone.

Point-and-shoot cameras range from $100 to about $500. In this range you generally get what you pay for. The cameras get bigger and heavier as the price increases and the image quality also gets better. The more expensive cameras contain better components and they allow more control of the image. This control only makes for better images if the operator is willing to take the time to learn the controls. I have seen many people pay a lot of money for a pricy point-and-shoot or even DSLR camera and then set it on full automatic and shoot it like a cell phone camera. You will still get better images than a cell phone camera, but you are giving up a lot of the advantages that you paid for.

There are some cameras in this range that are “ruggedized” – shockproof and/or waterproof. They are said to be capable of being dropped from several meters and can be taken underwater without a housing. Such a camera is perfect for outdoor activities, especially if you are near or on the water.

Hybrid or “mirrorless” camera

Front of cameraThis is a relatively new camera category and a step up from the point-and-shoot. The hybrid camera has the capability of producing pictures of about the same quality as a digital single lens reflex (DSLR), which we will discuss next, but they are lighter and smaller. You can change out lenses with these cameras like you can with a DSLR. I think they are more difficult to operate, but that is a personal opinion. Many would not agree with me.

This camera would be good for someone who wants the functionality of a DSLR and the flexibility of multiple lenses, but at a lower price point.

DSLR camera

digital-32871_1280This is the workhorse professional level digital camera. It is modeled after the 35mm single lens reflex, which is a camera style that has evolved over more than 40 years. DSLRs are expensive, big and heavy but they are capable of excellent photographs.

Prices range from about $600 for a “kit” which includes a low-end camera and a simple lens to close to $10,000 for just a camera body. With a DSLR, the camera and lens are separate. You pick out a camera body, and then you pick out a lens to go with it. A starter kit has a basic camera body and a basic lens.

If you decide to go the DSLR route, your first big decision is whether you want a Nikon or a Canon. Once you make your decision, you can’t change because camera bodies and lenses are interchangeable within each manufacturer’s line, but not between manufacturers. If you ask for opinions you can look forward to a heated discussion as to which brand is better. It’s kind of like picking the Sox or the Cubs. Once you pick, you can’t change. But you won’t go wrong with either brand.

I happen to be a Canon guy, and I have multiple camera bodies and multiple lenses. I can put any lens on any camera body because everything is Canon. I even have an old Canon SLR film camera that can work with any of my modern Canon lenses.

This type of camera is meant for professional photographers or those people who want to take pictures like a professional. The user has full control over the settings and image.

Hopefully this provides some clarity for your next camera purchase!

Rich Cullen

Rich Cullen is the owner of The Photon Foundry, a photography company that handles personal and commercial work including families, executive and individual portraits to building, site and product photography.  You can find Rich at rich@thephotonfoundry.com and www.thephotonfoundry.com

Picture Preservation: No Regrets with Digital Storage

Protect, organize, record and share photos digitally

After a fire or flood I hear people say  “If I could have only saved one thing after people and pets, it would have been my family photo albums.“ It is unfortunate that people don’t think about the family value of pictures until they are lost.

IMG_1899Saving photos digitally will prevent losing them in accidents or disasters. Original PhotoBook preserves your photos digitally and offers a unique feature to add details to pictures to record important names, dates, events, places and more. When needed, the original full-size uploaded image can be downloaded for printing or other uses.

Taking the time to upload your printed pictures and digitally store your pictures on-line is time well spent. Hopefully, none of us experience a flood, fire, or natural disaster that results in damaged pictures, but if we do, knowing we won’t regret losing our precious family memories is definitely a benefit to the whole family.

 

Pictures – It’s the Details

Pictures – It’s the Details

Recording picture details is the most important step to archiving and tracking photo information about people, places, dates, events, etc. Keep in mind that you may know all the details about a photo, but other people do not. That is why it is important to record what you know – for everyone’s benefit. IMG_50010_G

TIPS

Names

  • Enter First AND Last Names
  • Example: If Mary appears in a photo before she was married, use her maiden name.
  • Avoid using names like “Uncle Bob” or “Grandma” because future generations will not know who’s grandma or uncle it is.

 Stories

  • Always include the story behind the photo when possible.

Time is of the essence

  • Future generations will only know the details you and other family members provide about each photo, so record as much information as possible.

Photo Search

  • The details will be passed onto generations, but will also make it much easier in a search.

 

Tips for a Better Group Picture

Group shots are always a challenge.  It seems that in any group, there are a certain percentage of people that don’t want their picture taken and think that it is all a bad idea.  (Perhaps they are in a witness protection program or something.)  The only thing to do is to try to make the experience as painless as possible.  Let’s talk about a couple technical issues:

  1. Lighting
    The best lighting for a group is even lighting of some kind.  It can be natural light on a cloudy day, reflected light from a white wall, or artificial light of some kind.For an individual, or a small group, it is best to arrange the lighting to create pleasing shadows on faces.If the group is large, it is better to just make the lighting as even as possible and not try to do any artistic lighting. Chances are if you have pleasing shadows on one face, you will invariably have ugly shadows on another.  So the best thing to do is to minimize shadows for all the faces; which is what even lighting will do.

    For any size group, try to stay out of direct sunlight; which is always harsh.  A cloudy day is perfect! But if you are forced to shoot at mid-day on a clear day, try to find a shady location.Picture taken by guest bloger Rich Cullen

  1. Facial Expressions
    Another challenge with a group is to get a pleasing expression on every face.  This is where a bit of Photoshop wizardry can help.Here’s a great trick – take a series of shots of exactly the same group, in the same location and lit the same way.  If you can, mount the camera on a tripod so that each shot is exactly the same.  Watch the faces and make minor adjustments between shots as you notice problems.

    After the shoot, examine the shots.  There will be shots where someone has their eyes closed, or has a goofy look.  There will be shots where someone has looked away (squirrel).

    In Photoshop, it is fairly easy to pick the best faces from each shot and composite the faces together.  The key here is that things like lighting, exposure and color balance are identical in all of the shots, so they blend nicely together.

    Clients often ask me to add someone to a group who was not there for the shoot.  This can be done, but it is much more difficult than putting together faces from “identical” shots!

So remember, look for even lighting and take a number of pictures of the same group and ‘touch-up’ the file later! Happy shooting!

Rich Cullen is the owner of The Photon Foundry, a photography company that handles personal and commercial work including families, executive and individual portraits to building, site and product photography.  You can find Rich at rich@thephotonfoundry.com and www.thephotonfoundry.com.

High School Prom Season

Soon it will be High School Prom season. A great time for lots of pictures of the kids all dressed up. Do you remember your High School Prom?  For many it was one of the highlights of the High School years.

If your kids asked to see the pictures from your High School Prom would you be able to find them?  That is one of the great things about Original PhotoBook. With a simple search you can find all of the Prom pictures that you have loaded.

Group Prom pic from 1942
Group Prom picture 1942

Here is a group Prom picture from about 1942 and as you can see things haven’t changes a lot in the last 70 years. What do you think prom pictures will look like in in 2042, one hundred years after this picture was taken?

Original PhotoBook can help you to organize the pictures you have making it easy to find the pictures you are looking for. You will also be able to compare your Prom pictures with your kids Prom picture. Or maybe compare your Prom pictures with your parents Prom pictures or maybe your kids Prom pictures with their grandparent’s prom pictures.

The Holidays are over for now.

It I now the middle of January and the holidays are over. Have you done anything with all of the pictures you took? Hopefully they are not still on you camera or smart phone. You should have copied them to your computer and/or some kind of backup like, thumb drive, computer, CD or online backup service. If not you run the risk of losing them if something happens to you camera or smart phone. One option is Original PhotoBook. By loading the important pictures to Original PhotoBook you will be able to save the original file in a safe place off of you your smart phone or camera and attach names, dates and other information to the pictures for the future.

Now that life have slowed down a little and you have a little more time you should consider working on organizing you pictures from the holidays. Since there is no place write a note on the back of a digital picture, Original PhotoBook offers a way to keep names and information with pictures.

Remember that pictures without names and information are just pictures, pictures with names, dates and information are family history. Be sure to put information with all of your pictures so that both you and future generations will see the value in the pictures. Let Original PhotoBook help you save your family history in pictures.

Holiday Pictures

It is now December and soon the family will be getting together for the holiday season. Now is the time to take a look at the pictures that were taken over the Thanksgiving holiday being sure to make notes of who is in the pictures and any stories that my go with the pictures. If those pictures have not yet been added to your Original PhotoBook site now would be a great time to do that.

Anytime the family gets together is a great time go through the old family photo albums and talk about the family history. Share family stories of past holidays with each other. Be sure to have someone write down the stories for the family members that are not present and for those that are there and to pass on to future generations. If you were to add that those pictures and information to Original PhotoBook, you could make them available to the entire family

Today with everyone taking digital pictures there is no place to write information on a digital picture, like names and dates. Original PhotoBook can solve that problem by giving you a place to store the digital family pictures and add the names and other information about each picture. Check out OriginalPhotoBook.NET for more information.

Have a great holiday season this year.

Remembering the losses from Superstorm Sandy

Losses from Superstorm Sandy
Superstorm Sandy

One year ago October 2012 hurricane Sandy hit the North East United States with devastating results. Many residents in the area lost most of their belongings including their memories in the form of photo albums, pictures hanging on the wall and computers disk drives full of pictures. This thought always depresses me because these losses can never be replaced.  This is one of the reasons I created Original PhotoBook, to organize and supply offsite storage of your important family pictures.

Since the digital pictures are stored in the cloud not in a person’s home the risk of loss is almost none. In addition other family members can easily download copies of the family pictures in other parts of the country.  This means that the odds are very good that the family pictures will survive a major disaster like Superstorm Sandy.

It does not take a super storm like Sandy to cause the loss of your family pictures. Small disasters happen everywhere all the time. Things like sewer backup, broken water pipes, fire and flood can happen almost any place at any time. So every family should have some type of backup for their important family pictures. Original PhotoBook in one option for backup and it also allows families to share and organize their pictures.