Photo Process Part 1: Pre-Scrapbooking

Photo Processing Tips by Natalie Parker

I wrote about how I process photos back in 2011.  2011, as in three years ago!  Some things I wrote about then I still do, some are different.

Today’s post covers everything I do with photos before I scrapbook them, using our recent trip to Europe as an example.  Tomorrow, I’ll talk about how I manage photos during and after scrapbooking.

Step One: Take the Pictures

Because, duh.  I take pictures with my DSLR and my phone.  On our trip, I used the DSLR mostly.  I used my phone when I was at work, when I wanted to share a photo on Instagram, or when I didn’t have time to get the big camera out.

Step Two: Purge on the Road

I still follow this process.  Never let bad photos get to your hard drive or cloud (if you can help it).

I try to purge on the camera and phone.  On our trip to Antarctica, I purged the DSLR at the end of every day.  On this trip to Europe, I was so busy working that I only purged my cell phone.

I only purge what’s obviously bad on the small screen.  I have an auto-backup to the cloud on my phone, so when I purged the phone, I made sure it purged the backup.

Step Three: At Home, Load All Photos onto Hard Drive

When we get home, I copy all the photos to a folder on my hard drive.  More detail here.  This includes phone photos!  I plug our phones into my computer and drag everything to the folder.

When we got home from Europe, this is what we had:

DSLR: 1624 photos
Cell Phone: 274 photos

Step Four: Purge

I mean really purge.  This is such a chore but I make it a priority when I get home.  If I wait too long, I’ll never do it.  I don’t want junk on my hard drive taking up space.

I delete all blurry or bad photos.  If I have 2+ versions of a photo, I pick the best one.  But wait, I don’t know how I will scrapbook it yet.  How will I know if I will want that other angle of my wine glass?  I’m over it.  I only save more than one photo of a thing if I really think I need it.  I don’t think missing the other angle will screw up my scrapbook.

If I have the same photo from my phone and the DSLR, I will pick the best one.

After that purge, I go back and take a second look.  Do I really need that back lit photo?  It’s the only photo of the restaurant where we sat on the Golden Horn to watch the sun set?  Here’s the thing: I’ll remember it.  I have it in my journal.  I’m not likely to show the crappy photo to my family or my Facebook friends.  Out it goes!

After the purge, this is what I had left:

DSLR: 515 photos
Cell Phone: 176 photos

Step Five: Edit Metadata and Tag

I add a title to the “Title” field.  I don’t bother describing each one individually but pick one that works for the whole set.  I add my name in the “Author” field.

Then I tag.  I tag the name of everyone I know in each photo.  I don’t use facial recognition because I like my tinfoil hat.

I tag pictures that have food or flowers because I tend to want to find those later.  Not sure why to tag?  I wrote a post about it here.  It really helps finding things later.

Step Six: Backup

I copy the folder onto my external hard drive and upload the pictures to a SmugMug album.  If my computer crashes, my house gets robbed, or my house burns down, my photos are safe.  I’ve been using SmugMug for 2 years and I love it!

Note: DVDs are not a safe form of long term storage.  They will degrade over time and you can lose your photos.

Step Seven: Share

I’ll share a SmugMug link with people who are in the photos so they can download full resolution copies.

I may put together a Facebook album, a blog post, or a slideshow for our families.

For big trips, I’ll make a photobook.

Notice that editing and touching up photos isn’t on the list?  I’ll edit the few I share, but I leave most of it until I’m ready to start scrapbooking.

That’s Part 1!  It’s what works for me and is about all I can handle when I travel.  The process is the same for everyday photos, I just take the time to purge and back up every couple of months.  Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!

Photo Processing Tips by Natalie Parker

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