At Home with Tech

It’s time to maximize the potential of all your gadgets.

Tag: digital photo organization

Here’s a Trick to Quickly Share a Camera’s Best Vacation Photos

If you’re not using your smartphone to take your vacation pictures, you may quickly get the feeling that they’re trapped on your camera’s memory card. Here’s how to quickly get them ready to share with family and friends…

So my family and I were visiting friends across town and catching up, since they had just returned from their vacation visiting relatives in Italy.

Of course, the major topic of conversation during dinner was their big trip. And what’s a good story without a few accompanying photos?

Inevitably, an iPhone XS materialized, and the Lesters were transported to the streets of Pompeii. My wife and I leaned in and our nine-year-old son ran around the table to see the images of our friends standing in an ancient city, frozen in time by the brutal force of Mount Vesuvius.

The impromptu presentation was effortlessly supported by the mom’s index finger flicking through her photos’ app on her iPhone. Some of the photos were absolutely amazing. And this raw collection completely captured their experience.

Several times, I turned my gaze to the dad who was sitting on the other side of the table.

He peered at me and said with a smile, “I’ve got better pictures.”

I nodded and returned the smile.
(But I wondered if he was experiencing a feeling of slight betrayal by technology that hadn’t quite lived up to expectations.)

And then we all turned our gaze back to the glow of his wife’s iPhone.

Time is Your Enemy
Here’s the backstory… The dad had traveled to Italy equipped with a brand-new Sony RX-100 VA camera as well as a GoPro HERO7 Black. I believe those are among the best tools available to visually capture a family’s vacation.

And I had complete faith that he had, in fact, captured a collection of outstanding photos that would have humbled any iPhone’s camera.

But in that moment at the dinner table, I knew that my friend had fallen victim to one of the classic limitations of the strategy I usually follow on how to handle a fresh crop of vacation photos…

  • Take loads of photos with a high-quality camera
  • Download them onto your computer at home
  • Choose the best ones
  • Tweak them to make them even better with software like Adobe Lightroom
  • Then share your winners with your family and friends to enjoy

The crippling limitation to this plan is that it takes time.
(Depending on your post-trip availability, that could take days or weeks.)

The Unbeatable Smartphone Experience
The mom’s iPhone (which arguably took pretty good pictures) effortlessly made mincemeat of the dad’s superior photo gear due to the immediate shareability of its photos.

Sure, I guess you could try to whip out the RX100 VA or GoPro and flick through your photos, but it’s always easier to use a smartphone that’s right next to you.

So, how can a noble family photographer with all of the right gear and best intentions beat the instant satisfaction that smartphone photography provides today?

Tick Tock
First off, I think it’s okay to say that this is not only about immediate gratification. Amazing photos not born from smartphones can still find their moments to shine… in photo frames…. in photo books…
and in cloud family photo archives.

And if you work fast enough, you can still get them ready for prime time in time to ensure they’re still relevant for your social media feeds and even, dare I say… your next dinner party.

But it’s always going to be an uphill battle fighting time…

Don’t Fight It
All of this said, there’s a solution that will mostly solve this conundrum.

The trick is to willingly give into the power of your smartphone. For a moment, think of it not as a device that takes instantly-sharable photos, but only as a tool that can instantly share any photo file. If you could wirelessly add photos from other cameras into your smartphone, then you’d be able to instantly share those as well…
(Do you see where I’m going?)

Yes, you may feel like a young Jedi giving into the ‘Dark Side’ or a misguided sorcerer drawing power from the Dark Dimension like the Ancient One did. But hey, you’re not in the Marvel universe… you’re just trying to share some vacation photos!

I say ditch all of your post-vacation photo organization plans and do this instead while you’re still on your trip…

Transfer Your Photos Wirelessly to Your Smartphone
Many of today’s standalone cameras have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi capabilities that allow you to tether them to your smartphone. Once you activate that feature, you can easily transfer some of your key photos from your camera’s card onto your smartphone.

The key word here is ‘some.’
(I don’t think you want to be transferring hundreds of photos over.)

And once they’re on your smartphone, it’s a game changer, baby!

Now, just find a few opportunities during your vacation to quickly review your photos and simply pick out a few winners. Then send them over to your smartphone, and BAM! you’re in business…

If you miss a few winning photos, it doesn’t matter… You’ll find them later when you ‘officially’ go through them.
(Warning: May require weeks of work)

When you get home, you’ll already have a few of your best photos ready to share at the dinner table with your smartphone simply serving as your projection device.

A Solution Forged from the Power of Your Phone and Camera
So really, it boils down to simply taking a few minutes while on vacation to move a few photos from your camera over to your smartphone’s ecosystem.

And by doing that, you’re marrying the power of your superior camera with the unbeatable convenience that any smartphone provides.

I imagine there’s a day coming when one device will be powerful enough to do both…

Until then, just remember this trick, and you’ll always be ready to show off some of your best vacation photos at a moment’s notice!

4 Ways to Handle the Mess of Taking Too Many Pictures

Irony is everywhere… especially when it comes to taking pictures. If you’re having a hard time managing and sharing all of your disorganized digital photos, you’re not alone. I’ve got a few tips to help you get back on track…

Now that summertime has unofficially begun, I’d like to share a little warning… Don’t fall for what I call the “Quadrotriticale Paradox.”

Remember that “Star Trek” episode titled “The Trouble with Tribbles” where those cute furballs found their way into a poisoned storage bin of quadrotriticale? All of the tribbles had a big feast, but many ended up starving after eating the poisoned grain.

What does this have to do with all of those summer photos you’re going to be taking…? If you’re snapping hundreds of pictures, your family and friends may still feel like they’re starving to receive a few images that show what you’ve been up to.

What’s the Plan?
We all want to share our best summer moments, but the “Quadrotriticale Paradox” can get in the way. The truth is the more pictures your take, the lower the odds you’ll actually find the time to go through, organize and share your top photos.

Short of taking fewer pictures…
The best way to reverse the effects of the paradox is have a good plan on how to unlock and release your photographic treasures.

Here are four ways that help me get the job done…

Rate Your Photos to Find the Gems
There is no magic bullet. You have to review each photo.
(I prefer using the larger real estate of a computer screen vs. a smartphone or tablet.)
Use the 1-5 numbering system.
(Both Adobe Lightroom and Apple’s Photos allow you to do this.)

Here are my rating rules-

  1. Total failure. Give it an immediate appointment with the trash bin.
  2. Really bad photo. Trash it unless it’s the only shot of something special.
  3. Just okay. Decide whether to trash it another time.
  4. Good photo, but there’s a better version of it
  5. The better version or simply a great picture

Then, organize your photo album to display in descending order based on the rating numbers.

Give your 2’s another look and see if any of them should be a 3.

Then move the 1’s and 2’s into the trash, and DELETE!
Your worst photos are now gone forever.
Now it’s time to focus on the pictures you want to show off.
And those are your 5’s.

Share Your Photos Quickly
I know I’ve said it before, but it’s always worth repeating…

Your family photos have an expiration date! Nobody is really interested in last month’s photo. Last week is already yesterday’s news. Yesterday’s pics are okay, but today’s photos are even better.

So, you don’t have a lot of time before your amazing photos are old news.

If you want to tweak your best pics before sharing, that’s fine, but don’t let that delay your process. You can always take the time to crop and adjust the colors and brightness when building your archival photo albums.

One is Better than None
Sometimes, when time is really working against you, you’ve won’t have the luxury of evaluating and rating your photos.

Instead, just ask yourself this question…
“Which one or two pictures tell the story?”

You’ll need to rely on your instincts here, because remember… you won’t have the time to go back through all of your photos.

If you start practicing this technique regularly, you’ll begin to recognize ‘the shot’ when you take it.

Then, you’ll be able to quickly find it again and share it with your world.

Don’t Fall Behind!
After the firestorm of immediacy subsides, you may return to your more organized process.

But there’s never really more time to handle yesterday’s photos, because tomorrow’s are just around the corner.

And if you fall behind and develop a backlog of pictures to review… you may never get to them.

You’ll find yourself sitting on thousands of photos from months and years past that nobody else ever had the chance to enjoy.

It’s Time to Deal with the Mess
The reality is we’re all faced with the likelihood of having to manage thousands more pictures in the years to come.

The Quadrotriticale Paradox is a beast that needs to be kept under control.
Or else.

Now go tame your photographic jungle and hunt down your best pictures to share. And if you come across a wild tribble or discover a way to stretch the fabric of time, please let me know!

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