1. Organize Them
I organize the photos into file folders set up on my desktop computer at home. When I travel, I offload pictures everyday onto my laptop (and backup the laptop) but then transfer them to my desktop when I get home. I created a file structure that has them organized by year and by trip. Within a trip folder, I have them organized by state or major attraction (e.g. national park name). I also created folders for people, landscapes, objects, and animals. I store copies of my best photos in these folders. The folder structure makes it easy to find a picture. I also just started using Photoshop and have begun tagging photos and organizing within the Photoshop Organizer to make it easier to search the photos.
2. Back Them Up
I back up my picture folders onto a Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable Hard Drive. I have two of these drives and use one for when I travel and one for my desktop at home. I also upload some to Google Drive, which creates another copy.
3. Share Them
I use Google Drive for my cloud storage and as the main way for sharing my photos. I’m a Google guy and have accounts for Gmail, Calendar, Youtube, Google+, and Blogger all under Google. For me, it was so much easier just to use the Drive service under my existing Google account. Its free for the first 15GB of storage and then I’ll pay $9.99 for 1TB of storage. I have the Google Drive app on my Android smartphone and tablet so I’ve got access to my photos from anywhere to show people.
Its also easy to post a link (J. Dawg Photos) to my photos so I can share them easily by sending the link in an email or posting the link on sites like Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest. I like the quality of how my photos are stored on Drive and prefer using Drive versus uploading them to Facebook. There are other services such as Flickr, Dropbox, and iCloud that do the same thing as Drive.
4. Make Them Better
I just started using Photoshop to improve and organize my photos. Its called post processing and its a whole new photography skill set to learn. I use Photoshop Elements, which is intended for amateur photographers and is less expensive than the full Photoshop Creative Cloud version that the pros use. I’m amazed at what you can do with this software. You can edit the photo, change the size, enhance the color, remove unwanted objects, remove shadows, and even whiten a persons teeth. It can’t make a bad photo good, but it can make a good or great photo even better. Here’s a sample of a picture before and after enhancing with Photoshop.
The software is pretty sophisticated so I bought this Photoshop Elements 12 book to help me learn how to use all the features.
5. Use Them
I use some of my favorite photos as a screen saver slide show on my PC’s and tablet. It lets me enjoy them while I’m using these devices. I get prints of some photos to display around my house. I like seeing the photos displayed to remind me of the places I’ve been. I also sometimes make a slide show of pictures with my video editing software (Power Director) or with Photoshop and can upload these to Youtube.
I especially like making a photo album book on each trip I take. Its another way of preserving them. I use Snapfish. It lets me upload my pictures, customize the style of the book and paper theme, select the page layouts, and position the photos within the book. I can make a book with up to 150 pages. Snapfish can also make calendars and greeting cards from my photos along with regular photo prints. There are other companies like Shutterfly and Walmart offer similar services.
There’s a lot you can do with your photos. If you have other things you do with your photos, please share them by posting a comment.