Photo Process 2: During and After Scrapbooking

Photo Processing by Natalie Parker

I last talked about my photo process in 2011.  This post is part 2 in a series showing my current process.  Read part 1 here.

Where we left off, my photos were purged and safely backed up.  After that work, my photos will usually sit for a couple (okay, a few) years until I scrapbook them.

Step One: Ready to Scrapbook, Go Through Photos

Before I design a page, I look at the photos to get an idea of what I want to use.  I edit and touch up the ones I really like and think I will print using basic Picasa tools.

Step Two: Crop, Print, and Scrapbook!

I do not crop the original photos.  I will touch up the originals but if I need to crop them to fit in a page, I crop copies.  I print all my photos at home and only print them when I need them.  No waste.

Step Three: Purge Again

After I’m done scrapbooking, what didn’t get used?  Do I really need all of the photos?

The scrapbook is my final thing that I do with the photos.  If I didn’t use it in the scrapbook, I think hard about deleting it.  For archivists, this process is called appraisal (I know you were dying to know that).  Not every photo is worth saving.  Saving too many makes it harder to find the important stuff.  I’m serious.  I’ve read studies on it.

Anything that doesn’t fit the “save forever” label gets deleted.  After finishing my wedding scrapbook, I ruthlessly deleted a ton of wedding photos.  Serious.

Step Four: Make Sure Metadata and Tags are Correct

Yep, I talked about tagging in the last post.  When I check the metadata again, it will have been at least a couple years since I touched the photos.  Maybe I realized that I like tagging transit photos now?  Maybe I want to tag every picture that has yellow in it?  I update all of the tags.

Step Five: Backup Again

I delete the backups on my external hard drive and on SmugMug.  Then I recopy and reupload the new folder that has the touched up, purged, and retagged versions.  SmugMug doesn’t have syncing, which is really a bummer.

That’s it!  The end!  A place for everything and everything in it’s place.

What do you do with your photos after you put them in albums or scrapboook them?


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

Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That

Paris by Natalie ParkerParis by Natalie ParkerParis by Natalie ParkerParis by Natalie ParkerParis by Natalie ParkerBelgium by Natalie ParkerBelgium by Natalie ParkerBelgium by Natalie ParkerBelgium by Natalie ParkerBelgium by Natalie ParkerBelgium by Natalie ParkerHow about Paris with a little side of Belgium?  And Easter!

Even though I took the telephoto lens like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t use it as much as I thought I would.  I don’t consider this a real test though – it was really really cold during the trip.  I anticipated using the telephoto more outside, but when we were outside, we were usually shivering and rushing to the next place.  Brrrrr.

I found a lot of my pictures this jaunt were still-lifes.  This is probably because it was cold and I would get my camera out when we were inside or sitting down.  I took a lot of pictures of flowers again!

It was odd being so bundled up yet having so many colorful things to capture!

How do you handle taking pictures when it’s cold outside or in bad weather?  Do you still go for it or does the weather dampen your spirits?

Packing Lenses for Travel

DLSR by Natalie ParkerI could really use advice from you DSLR-toting folks!

I’m still adjusting to my DSLR.  One reason why I put off the purchase for so long was my thinking: “I don’t want to have to carry this big thing around, my point-and-shoot fits in my pocket!” (you have to say it to yourself in a very whiny tone to get the full effect).

We bought the camera and even took a class on how to use it.  I’m still struggling with carrying it around.

When I went to Australia, it was mostly a business trip, so I left the telephoto lens at home.  All of these pictures were taken with my 50mm fixed focal length lens (yes, I was really that close up to the koala).  I found myself missing the telephoto at times.

What do you pack when you travel?  What if it’s just for a short trip?  I’m thinking of taking my 50mm lens and the telephoto next time and see how I like having them both.

I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Note: the pic above is of my kit lens.  The 50mm lens is much smaller, which is part of the reason why I like using it.

My Photo Graph

Photo Graph by Almost Never CleverI had to share this with you because it is neato!  Or I’m a photo geek.  Either way.

I was tidying up my photos in SmugMug, and I noticed I could get a running total of my photos by year!  What’s a geek to do?  Make a graph!

The first thing I noticed was the spike in the last couple of years.  We took our first international vacation in 2010, that explains half of it.  The other half of it I started taking more everyday pictures around that time.  I used to take very few.

The result of both?  A photo explosion.  This is after I make a general pass and delete around half right after I take them.

This leads me to the conclusion that it will take me longer to scrapbook each year as the years go on.  What will happen to the totals when I have kids??

Earlier in the graph:  I started using digital in 2004 and I got married in 2006, which explains that upward trajectory.  I have no idea why 2007 was so low.  Post-wedding craft malaise?  I can’t wait to open my box of keepsakes from that year and really see what we were up to!

The number for each year will pare down when I get to scrapbooking them.  I cut the number of pictures I keep permanently once I’ve scrapbooked them and understand what I consider important.

Have you taken this birds-eye view of your photo collection before?  Notice any patterns?

Learning How to Use My DSLR

Photography ClassIf I actually learned anything in class, proof should be above.  I finally learned how to purposefully blur a background (anytime before this it was on accident).

Mr. P and I have had the new camera for a while now and I’m still sort of afraid of it.  A good friend of mine took an intro photography class and said it was so worth it.

There’s no point to owning a DSLR if you don’t know how to use it.  Truly, you may as well get a quality point and shoot camera or just use your cell phone.  Both of those can be great options!

Mr. P and I signed up for a class with Isla Studios, which offers beginner classes in San Francisco, Palo Alto and LA.  Beginner classes are 3 hours – not a huge commitment.  As a bonus, we used a Google Offer which gave us half off!

The Verdict?  The class was awesome and I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about their camera.  I’m a visual learner and they did a great job explaining what a setting does to the camera and how the same picture can look different with setting adjustments.  The instructor took the time to make sure everyone knew how to adjust the controls on their own cameras.  It seems so simple and not scary now!

I’ve been practicing my newly-acquired skills on the Christmas tree, running out the battery and quickly filling up my memory card.  I’ll have something to show for my efforts on Thursday!

Introducing Our New Camera

Almost Never Clever New CameraThere are a few watershed moments in my life of picture-taking.  The first time I got my very own camera.  The time I switched from 35mm to Advantix.  When I first switched to digital.  When I first started printing pictures at home.  Each one of those times significantly changed how I take pictures.

Mark this down as the time when I took the flying leap from point-and-shoot to DSLR.  Scary.  And it wasn’t my idea.

Mr. P and I were in Hong Kong earlier this year and I was taking pictures of signs in the subway station.  He told me if I was going to keep taking “artsy” photos, we needed to get a better camera.

Meet our Nikon D5100 Mr. P did all the research and picked it out.  He concluded that this model was a good place for us to start out with a DSLR, but not too starter that we’d want to upgrade really soon.  It also has a good battery, which matters to me when we are traveling.

I have no idea how to use this thing.  It’s also going to be hard to adjust to carrying a much larger camera when I want to take pictures.

How’s it going so far?  I really like the photo quality despite some growing pains.  My biggest issue is that sometimes the photos aren’t focused properly and I might not catch that until after the event is over.

More is surely to come on this.  For now, here are some pictures!

Almost Never Clever New CameraAlmost Never Clever New CameraAlmost Never Clever New CameraAlmost Never Clever New CameraAlmost Never Clever New CameraAlmost Never Clever New CameraAlmost Never Clever New CameraAlmost Never Clever New CameraAlmost Never Clever New CameraAnd yes, I was that girl at Buffalo Wild Wings with the DSLR taking pictures of her food.  We’d just gotten the camera and I wanted to try it on something.

The Key Photo – Don’t Leave Without It

Las Vegas TripI thought I learned my lesson but I did it again.  Again!

I’m always trying to find the happy balance between living behind the camera at an event and stepping away and enjoying myself.  There has to be a middle somewhere!

I’m talking about a middle between times when I purposefully don’t carry a camera and times like big vacations where I’m taking tons of pictures.  I’m talking about events like a friend’s wedding or an anniversary trip to Vegas.

Want to know what happened?  When I got home from the Vegas anniversary trip, I realized I didn’t get a single picture of our entire group.  Let alone that, there were a couple people who didn’t make it into any pictures.  There were only six of us, it’s not like it would have been hard!  I think it was a combination of wanting to sit back and enjoy the weekend and not wanting to be that girl who always insists everyone stop what they’re doing for a picture.  I was taking pictures, I have a nice amount from the weekend.  I just forgot that key one!

I’ve even left a wedding before without getting a picture of the bride and groom!  Sure, not every wedding I go to needs to be documented.  But if I’m bringing my camera and I’ve taken pictures of the flowers, my friends and my husband and I, I should probably try to get at least one picture of the bride and groom.  I’m usually a few years behind in scrapbooking so I don’t know if I will document the event later.  It shouldn’t be a big deal to just get one key picture and then kick back.

Does anyone else have this issue?  I’d love to hear about it.