Remember the days of double prints? Waiting until you finished shooting the entire roll of film before you could take it to be developed? You’d pick up the prints from MotoFoto or the drugstore, quickly look through them in the parking lot to see how they looked and then put them in a drawer or box with all the other envelopes of prints to be organized later. If you were really organized, you may have sent friends or family some of those double prints, or maybe even had more duplicate prints made of the best shots (by identifying which negative number you wanted and then filling out the little form at MotoFoto). And if you were super organized, you actually put the prints into albums. And there they sat. And maybe still sit. But that was then.
Today, we can send a photo to someone the second after we take it. With today’s technology, there are so many ways to enjoy your own photos, and share them with others. My kids love looking at photos of themselves when they were young. They love reliving old vacations and birthdays. And let’s face it, I like seeing photos of myself before the gray hairs appeared. So get those photos out of the boxes and off your phone and don’t wait to share them with your family. There are lots of easy ways to view and share your photos. A couple that you can even do while you’re reading this. Here are five ideas to get you started.
One caveat…. To really enjoy your photos (and not end up seeing 15 variations of the same shot, or all those pictures your daughter took of her brother’s tongue), the first step needs to be a certain amount of editing. If you are an average digital photographer, you cannot help but click the shutter at least three times every time you take a photo, just to make sure you got the shot, and just in case the first (or second, or third) one was out of focus or someone’s eyes were closed. You need to edit down to the best shot of each sequence, take out the tongue photos and any other photos that are out of focus or just not worth keeping. Once you’ve gotten down to the selection of the best photos, here are some easy options for enjoying and sharing them….
Traditional Picture Frames
Traditional picture frames may seem very old-fashioned in our high-tech world. But I smile every time I walk by the photos sitting on the piano or hanging on the wall. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that framed photos have to be permanent but I like to change the photos in the frames periodically. My family notices when a photo in a frame has been changed, and they always comment on the event in the photo. Find inexpensive frames at stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx or Home Goods and then it’s easy to print out a few photos from a fun event or from the previous year and swap out the photos in the frames.
A Computer Slideshow
There are several software and online options for making easy (or more complex) slideshows. In addition, both Mac and PC computers have resident software that allows you to make a simple slideshow in seconds. Make it your screensaver or display a slideshow on your laptop at the next family function or holiday. Click here for easy instructions for making a slideshow with the resident software that comes with your Mac or PC.
The only downside to a slideshow on your computer is that for more than one person to view it, you need to crowd around your computer screen. A portable laptop can solve this problem but you might also consider a digital picture frame that displays a continual slideshow. There are lots of different digital frames but most can hold a memory card with over a thousand photos. There are also several wi-fi frames, where you can easily send photos from your phone to the frame without having to plug-in a memory card or camera. Place the frame where everyone can enjoy it as they walk by.
If you have a little more time and want something that’s more tangible and permanent, a photo book is a great option. Photo books are created digitally, usually online, and then printed and sent to you. They are the current (and much improved) version of the old magnetic photo albums with the plastic overlay pages. There are seemingly endless websites to make photo books, many offering a wide variety of layouts and designs.
Hint: Whenever you make any kind of photo album (digital photo book, or more traditional photo album) consider burning a DVD of all the photos in the book and placing the DVD in an adhesive pouch in the back of the book. (You can find plastic adhesive DVD envelopes at Staples or Amazon.) So when you or someone else are looking through the album and you find the perfect photo for Throwback Thursday, or need to collect photos for a wedding or anniversary party, you can easily find the photos on the DVD. The DVD also serves as an additional backup of the photos on your hard drive. *But always make sure to backup your photos in at least two places, preferably three.
Warning: Please do not use Shutterfly or any other book making site as your “online/cloud” backup. It may seem like killing two birds with one stone – upload the photos to make the book and now they’re backed up on that site as well. However, most of the book printing sites do not make it easy to get your photos back if you need to. And isn’t that the point of a back up – the ability to get your photos back if your computer crashes or some other catastrophe wipes out all your photos. Do not depend on being able to get all your photos back easily from a book printing or even photo sharing site.
You’ve probably received (and most likely made) a photo holiday card. And maybe you’ve seen or purchased photo mugs and mousepads. But did you know that you can make personalized photo placemats, aprons, playing cards, blankets, shower curtains, coasters, puzzles, neckties, and much more. You can even customize a Rubik’s Cube with your photos on each side, instead of solid colors! What unique conversation pieces and fun ways to enjoy your photos every day.
Don’t forget why we take photos in the first place – to actually view and enjoy them. So enjoy them now. Make it a January tradition, or a holiday tradition, or any time, to review the photos from the last year and share them with your family. The photos will mean even more to you and your family when actually enjoying the photos becomes part of the story you are handing down.