13 March 2013

Oh those digital photos...

Digital cameras have been around for yonks now, and many if not most people are happy enough using them (or their phone) to take photos, but often that's the extent of their happiness with the camera. Dealing with the resulting photos is a different matter. 

Often, people don't transfer their photos from the camera to their computer, which is fine if you carry your camera around to show pix to your friends. But if you want to email them to distant friends, or use them in an electronic submission for an exhibition, it's a good idea to get comfortable with downloading, filing, and manipulating the photos.

If you're reading this, you're probably perfectly happy with how you do it -- in which case, I'd like to know your hints and tips!

But if you are a reluctant downloader, have chaotic photo files, or are all at sea when manipulating photos ... hmm, I can't solve all that for you, though there's plenty of information on the internet. What I can do is tell you -- briefly -- what works for me.

Top tips

1. Keep the originals intact; save the photos you've worked on under different filenames, and in different folders
2. Download often, into folders named after the current month - eg, March2013
3. Delete duds and duplicates immediately - preferably, in the camera

As well as my "monthly" folders, I have some subject folders - family, quilts, books,  collections, skies, road markings, things found in books, etc - and put the relevant pix into them asap.
Another tip: the original photo will, if you hover your cursor on the lower right corner, reveal some useful information, such as the date taken and the dimensions... This is on my bog-standard PC, so I trust that it will happen on most other machines.

Doing the minimum

I tend not to print out photos, but I email them to friends and family, and of course use them on the blog. So, as soon as I download any photos [I use my camera almost every day, taking 1-40 pix per session] I find the ones for the blog or emailing and put them through Photoshop - cropping, adjusting Levels, and using Save For Web. Then - this is important - I save these lowres pix all in one folder, which has subfolders labelled "archive march2013" etc. Once the photos have been emailed or used on the blog, into the "archive" folders they go.

Infrequent downloads

If you download your photos only once in a blue moon, it's helpful to have a checklist:

-set up new folder labelled with date of download - this holds the originals
-look through photos and delete the duds and duplicates [if you haven't done this via the camera already]
-give the important photos relevant names, using Rename
-save copies of the photos you will be working on or using elsewhere  in a different folder

A matter of courtesy

If you are sending a file to someone who is going to be receiving files from other people, it needs to be relabelled in a way that will identify it - eg, HappyPeopleQuilt_JaneDoe. Leaving it with the name that your camera gave it is hardly helpful. If you have used electronic submission for an exhibition, you'll be familiar with this requirement - do read and reread the instructions for how the show organisers want the photos labelled.

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