''We are the most photographed generation ever, yet we are the ones who will have the least to show for it.''
- Mike Yost
Our kids and grandkids won't want to spend hours sifting through our digital archives to pull out the gems, if the the technology is even still available! It's up to you to bring out the meaningful images from your collection. Only you can be the curator of your life adventures!
The thing is, you're busy, you have too many photos to choose from and you really haven't printed much in years! So how do you do it? How do you tackle this mountain!
First you have to understand what are the blocks in your way: Time, volume, doupt and cost. There may be more but let me help you with these four and if you still have challenges, write them in the comment section. I will be happy to help if i can.
I can't give you more of it but i can give you the shortcuts that help me manage this giant task efficiently.
1.Have a plan. Choosing your end goal is a huge part of your success. A family album, prints for a scrapbook, a book with journaling, a folder with your "best of" for wall art, gifts, thank you cards... endless possibilities!
My goal was to have all my "best of" in a print ready folder by year and month.
2.Do a little at a time. Even if you have years worth of backlog, start with the most recent images and work your way back. As you get used to a workflow you will gain speed and motivation. It will get easier to tackle more images in less time. with success.
Create small spreads on the go. (see best app post) In a previous post i mentioned some cool app like project life and journey that can help you manage you mobile photos in as little as 2 minutes while on the go. If you collect a month of these spreads you have enough for a test book.
Have a desktop "for print" folder and throw your favorite images in there as you go. The benefit of doing this is you have much less images to choose from when you are ready to make a print order. Also, if you save these on a USB key and share them with family you have backups of your best just in case! Even if its not all the good ones, its a very valuable start.
Make sure to add images that trigger strong emotions in there. Not just the pretty and technically perfect. I love the tantrum photos i kept of my kids and the little moments like us reading a book with a mountain of laundry piled next to us!
Email great shots to yourself from your phone if you don't have time to transfer the whole phone gallery to your computer.
3. Be decisive and DELETE! Plan 1 day per month to sort a month of photos. I often choose the first Sunday of the month to sort last months photos. I go through once quickly to eliminate the duds I DELETE THEM so i never have to do that step again. I go through a second time quickly while thinking of which ones i like enough to share with family. I go through one last time to select the ones that i think are good enough to go in a book. This last group is copied into a special (best of) folder. This step helps me so much when trying to build a book. You should aim to have only 20% of your total images left in the" best of" pile. I use Adobe Bridge to do this step. I know there are awesome choices out there but bridge and lightroom are the ones i recommend. This video quickly shows you how simple this step can be.
Watch "How to use the Adobe Bridge Review mode | lynda.com tutorial" on YouTube
1.Pick one event. Sort and print one small event like a trip, summer vacation or a birthday, instead of trying to manage a whole year. The reward from doing this once will fuel your motivation to do it again and again!
2. Have a system. Choose a way to incorporate sorting and or editing in your calendar. As with every other personal, non-critical task in your life, "if it ain't on the calender, it ain't happenin!" Give yourself one day a month (or more) to take care of this project.
Journal. This will help you tell your story and select the best photos to visually represent special moments as you go.It might event remind you to take a photograph you wouldn't have though of otherwise.
3. Stay organised. Keep favorites in a special "to print" folder on your desktop and print from there once a month.
1. Practice. One of the reasons I hesitate to print is a worry about it being good enough. With all the editing software available you could easily work on one image for hours! If you print and realize one image deserves a bit more attention you can always go back and re-edit and reprint. Seeing your images printed in the first place is the starting point though. MAKE MISTAKES AND LEARN FROM THEM!. Perfection has no place in creativity!
2. Don't compare yourself to others. We see all the amazing photographs on Instagram and Pinterest which can make us feel like our images aren't worth printing. I tell you stop doing that right now! Don't let yourself get handcuffed by those details. You are your own unique voice and as with everything else in life you may suck at first but with practice you get better. Photography is all about sharing the world the way YOU see it. Anyone can take a photographs but no one can see the world exactly the way you do. Share that!
1 Keep perspective. Photography and photo albums can cost up front but remember the days of film when you'd pay 20$ to develop a roll with 5 ok pictures if you were lucky. Now, with the same investment you can select the cream of the crop! You can print a softcover book for less than 30$ nowadays! (Check out blurb.com or social print studio) Give yourself a monthly budget for photography. You will be surprised how much you can get and how much it will come to mean to you. Create small inexpensive softcover books to start off then as you gain confidence bigger ones with striking photo hardcovers.
2. Remember the value of what you are doing. Call it your legacy, call it your creative outlet, call it a worthwhile hobby, just take a moment to realize the importance of photographs as a means to tell and recall the stories and adventures in your life. When you are in your 80's nothing will bring you as much comfort as those visual triggers of a life well lived! How much easier will it be to share your journey with loved ones!
I hope this helps. Please don't hesitate to comment with other ideas, advice or questions.