Tuesday, November 23, 2010

5 tips for Editing and Creating Beautiful Digital Photo Projects - Preserving Family Memories for the Future

Mini MommyBlogExpert Picking Huckleberry in Idaho, 2009
Edited with Photoshop Elements
Photo by Janis Brett Elspas, MommyBlogExpert

As a mom of triplets plus one more all born within a year, I wish I'd had all of today's technology available with digital cameras and editing software such as Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 9, the latest new editing software just released.  I spent a fortune on developing film with all those kids born so close together in the mid 1990s and the sad thing is that many of the pictures that were processed were faulty in some way that could have been edited if the technology had existed back then.

Today, I practically live with my digital camera on my iPhone and I never go anywhere without it, often taking pictures DAILY.  On top of that, each of our kids has their own digital camera, too.  We all take lots of pictures but luckily because they are digital we can delete and reshoot photos that come out poorly.

But with all those good digital photos that we want to save and preserve I'm finding that we actually have THOUSANDS rather than hundreds of pictures to keep organized.  Let's not forget that I want to edit all these to make them suitable for all kinds of various photo projects ranging from scrapbooks, to our CEIVA Connected Digital Frame, to pictures to send to relatives, and to photographs we want to frame.  It would all make me crazy if I hadn't devised some sort of system to manage it all.

Here are my FIVE Sanity Savers for Managing Your Own Growing Digital Photo Collection:

ORGANIZATION is key.  If you are already overwhelmed with a backlog of photos that you want to scan, edit, or save in a certain format for the future don't get frustrated.  Just take a breath and start with the newest photos first and work backwards.  Set up folders on your computer that are logical for you to keep everything accessible.  You might do this by year, by month, by topic, by person, by event, or any other system that make sense to you.

PHOTOSHOP SKILLS are essential if you want to make the most of all your photos.  If you've never used this wonderful software invention before, don't worry.  The best way to learn this is to dive right in and work with copies of photos that you'd like to edit.  By playing around with the various options you can do everything from edit out unwanted objects in pictures, merge several pictures together, lighten and darken, and even change the color hues altogether.  More experienced Photoshop users already know how easy it is to use this invaluable tool, and once you try it you will too.

FAMILY-CENTRIC is the way to go.  Get everyone involved. If your kids are old enough to upload pics from their personal digital cameras onto the PC at home, they also have the skills to edit and organize their own picture collections.  By having the children do part or all of the editing and organizing of their own photos into computer folders this will free you up to do more with the pictures you have taken yourself.  

SCRAPBOOK NIGHT is a fun way to get the family together and one that can be very productive, too.  If you do this regularly and everyone has their photos edited and printed out ahead of time, the whole family can sit down perhaps once every week or two and everyone can talk about that special vacation you took together last summer while you create.  With a pile of scrapbooking materials such as different papers, trims, stickers, borders, and die-cut designs that you've gathered in advance you'll be surprised how different each family member's pages will turn out even when they are all drawing from the same pile of original materials.

CREATIVITY is what makes photography fun.  It's thinking outside the box looking for interesting things to photograph and different ways to arrange things and people to get great results.  You may even consider, as I have, to take pictures of individual things that you plan to merge together into a single photo later as I am currently doing for another story I'm working on about the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.  In this project I took separate pictures of a variety of natural objects we found on the beach during our stay there. Now,  I'm the process of stringing individual images together into a single picture so definitely check back to see how this surprise project turns out.

With these five ideas, you too can scan, edit, and archive photos in a variety of ways -- and keep your sanity, besides.  If you are just as clever about the way you preserve these pictures you might end up making a photo quilt heirloom or even have your photo created into an elegant cake decoration.  Really, the things you can do with all those digital pictures that have been piled up are only limited by your imagination.

What's your favorite way to archive photos? Do you scrapbook or do you go for something really hi tech like an online digital photo album?  Thanks in advance for sharing your own projects here.

FTC Disclosure:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Adobe blogging program, making me eligible to receive a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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