Friday, October 18, 2013

Say Cheese!

I take a lot of photos. Like, way more than anyone ever should take. Poor Bimmer probably feels like the damn paparazzi are following her all the time. I blame my mom, since she took a lot of photos back in the day. I have bins and albums and boxes full of photographic evidence of my childhood. So not having photos of Bimmer just seems impossible. (Wish I could say the same of the MIL. I don’t even know if a baby photo of Puff exists!)
Why am I reminding you of this tidbit? Well, because I’ve had a few people question me what I actually DO with all those photos. So I thought I would share my process.
When I turned 18, my parents bought me a Pentax SLR film camera to replace the Olympus point and shoot I had been using for a few years. (Lovingly referred to as “Penis Cam.”) It wasn’t until into college that I started to use it almost exclusively. I’d only throw a P&S in my purse when heading out to the bars. Did I *really* know what I was doing with an SLR? Nope. Do I know any more now than I did 13 years ago? Not really. I don’t claim to be a pro. I am totally far from it!
So why did I need an SLR? Well, the reality is that they just take better photos. And having the option to switch out lenses is pretty awesome. So when I realized film was going the way of the dinosaurs, I begged and pleaded and scored a Pentax digital SLR for the Christmas of 2006. I chose to stick with Pentax (versus opting for a probably better Nikon) since the lenses I already had for the film camera worked on the digital. (News flash: This camera is now on its last legs, so I'm in the market for something new!) For Christmas 2007, I got a new digital Olympus point and shoot that was waterproof. Because sometimes you just need to submerge your camera.
I still use the SLR on a mostly “auto” setting, especially when handing it off to strangers to take photos of the family. The fact that it is from 2006 means it’s already outdated, and some of the larger memory cards don’t even fit into it! The Olympus bit the dust on our honeymoon in the Cayman Islands when it accidentally got opened in the ocean. We were able to salvage the photos on that card (thank God) and I bought another version of the same camera as a replacement.
(Gratuitous pre-baby bikini photo. Aww... I miss it!)
Between these two cameras (and now, actually the camera on my phone ends up being my go-to during the day hanging out with Bimmer when she’s doing something cute) I have captured a TON of images. Right… so what do I do with them? First, I upload them to my laptop as soon as possible. Having them just on the card in the camera worries me to death! I organize into folders on my desktop to start.
Photos almost always go through an editing process. Not anything super fancy… but they get rotated and then I use the software that came with my Olympus to crop and adjust color, if necessary. Why not use Photoshop? Well, I did pay to have it on my computer when I got my laptop in 2011, but I have yet to have time to figure out how to use it! Maybe one day.
From there, they are immediately uploaded to my Smugmug account. (No, I don’t share it publically, but if you know me, you can ask me for the link.) I pay $40 a year to have an online photo album that has unlimited space capacity. That means that no matter how large the file sizes are, I can upload them and not worry about running out of space. I totally pimp that site whenever I can!
Being OCD (with photo storage being my #1 focus) I have the site set up into 7 categories. Yes, the fact that it’s not an even number bugs me, but hopefully when baby #2 arrives in a few years, I can even it out again! You know that kept me up at night before creating that seventh category! So… the categories are Bimmer, Travel, The Fort, Family & Friends, Events, Holidays & Birthdays, and Other. Then within each category are the albums, in chronological order from the most recent to the oldest. Bimmer’s category has albums like “Homecoming” and “First Birthday.” Family & Friends has albums with times my parents have visited SC or reunions with my college girls. The Other category is always divided into seasons. Within those are lumped all the random, miscellaneous photos that don’t need their own album… hikes to waterfalls, photos of the house and yard, and random pics of Bimmer.
All photos are labeled to the best of my ability. But let’s be real… even with my OCD, if there are 10 photos of Bimmer being cute on a random afternoon, just the date is labeled on the first photo. The first photo after that series, of the next topic, will then be labeled as well. I do have a small bit of leniency on that. (Although my mom did not… every photo from my childhood is labeled on the back and I still have to label any prints I mail to her of Bimmer!)
So, to this point, the photos are stored on my laptop and on a pay website. But that’s not enough. Nope… I want to make sure I have these suckers backed up. Especially when I remember that I just retired my desktop computer a year ago and had thousands of photos stored on the hard drive there. I would DIE if my hard drive on the laptop went kaput and I no longer had the photos. (I delete the memory cards as needed once all the other steps of my anal retentive photo storage process is complete!)  Right… well, I then take time to put them all on an external hard drive. I don’t get to do this as often as I would like, but to date, I am caught up.
My shelves of photo albums & boxes. There's also a bin in my closet!
Beyond that, I have just started the project of burning the photos on to CDs as well. I have all the digital photos from my desktop (so, 2004 to 2011) burned already. I haven’t gotten to the ones on my laptop yet, since I don’t know how to use the burner!  And then those are labeled with a Sharpie and put in chronological order in a CD binder. My intention is to store that in a fire-safe box. Just gotta find the time to make that happen.
So, there you have it. My ridiculously insane process for photographs. Ones from my phone are emailed to myself and then uploaded to Smugmug as well. Not to mention that I make a scrapbook for each year and so my favorites are printed to be used there. (I just upload to Walgreens since it’s quick and cheap and close to the house.) I also make Shutterfly books of Bimmer's professional photo sessions, plus a book for "Project 52."
So how many pictures do I take? I think I took 20 something rolls of film when I went to New Zealand back in 2005. As for digital… Well, last I looked, the count on my photo site was 25,954 photos. (And that's just really since 2007!)
That’s not unreasonable, is it? ::insert smile::

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