I’m a fan of digital photo frames for how they unlock the countless pictures you’d otherwise not be sharing with your family and friends. Sure, you can post your pics to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and online family photo folders, but those are one-offs, individual images that describe a moment in your life. And you’ve got to hope that nobody misses any of your photos as they fly through their social feeds.
That’s not at all the same as a larger grouping of photos you can control on a digital photo frame that you’ve given out. These always-available images rotate through to tell a larger and every-changing story about your family and its ongoing adventures.
And if you think that digital photo frames are a pain to update, you’re behind the times. Many models can pull their pics from the cloud via WiFi, and you can update your displayed images anytime from any location in the world.
The Photo Playlist of Your Life
But I think the opportunity to maintain an ever-changing photographic ‘playlist’ is the big “aha moment” that lots of folks still haven’t discovered. Do you want to rotate through photos from your past vacation? Maybe your last few weeks of weekend fun? How about some family archival photos? It’s all as easy as a few clicks away…
Whatever the topic, photo playlists give you the opportunity to display a much richer story.
Everyone makes photo books, right? But these books often just sit on a shelf. Why not use those same images to add to your life’s photo playlist that’s always rotating through on a digital photo frame?
(If you’re twitching about the idea of ‘always,’ don’t worry… These frames have sleep modes.)
Loving Nixplay’s Dynamic Playlist Feature
I’ve been using Nixplay digital photo frames for the past few years. Originally, I uploaded my pics to Nixplay’s cloud and then synced the photos to my frames from there. Truthfully, it was a bit cumbersome. So, when Nixplay began linking to cloud services like Instagram, Flickr and Dropbox, that was the upgrade that made moving my photo files to my Nixplay frames almost effortless.
I simply created a Dropbox photo folder on my iMac’s desktop. I linked that folder to my Nixplay online account and digital frame. Then, I simply drop my photo files into the folder to add to the frame’s playlist.
Just as importantly, I regularly delete older photos in the folder to keep the frame’s content fresh. This is how I maintain my “dynamic playlist.”
(You can have as many playlists or dynamic playlists as you want.)
I know I’ve said this before, but you absolutely don’t want to keep older pictures hanging around when you’ve got fresh content to share. There will be exceptions, but I find this rule generally holds.
How Illuminating is Skylight?
If you’re in the market to pick up one of these visual portals to your recent past, congratulations! Is Nixplay the only choice out there? Not at all…
In fact, a friend asked me the other day about digital photo frames made by Skylight. I did some research, and here’s what I found…
Skylight’s big trick is you can upload photos its frames it via email. No cloud storage. And no extra steps to slow you down. Operationally, viewers manage all of the photos locally on the frame and delete them when they want.
That may sound easy, but consider this… If you give out Skylight frames to relatives, you can’t manage the photo playlist from your own computer once you email the pics out.
For me, that’s a deal breaker.
(I need more control.)
That said, Skylight’s one really cool feature is its touch screen. Your viewers can swipe through your photos and ‘heart’ them much like they would on a smartphone.
(And you get an email informing you of the ‘heart’)
The Skylight frame even displays a “New Photos Have Arrived” button. That can be especially useful to give your viewers a heads-up.
The only model is the Skylight 10″ Plus frame, and it costs $159.00, which is in line with the competition.
I appreciate that Skylight originated from a Kickstarter campaign through the Harvard Innovation Lab, but the design doesn’t give me the kind of control I’m looking for to maintain my playlists.
So, I recommend you check out Nixplay…
Sticking with Nixplay
My ongoing relationship with my Nixplay frames hasn’t exactly been perfect. I’ve occasionally had delayed syncing problems, but Nixplay has ultimately come through for me.
- Again, I really love Nixplay’s dynamic playlist feature through Dropbox. Nixplay also gives you 10 GB of free online storage. (You can pay for more.)
- And the Nixplay ecosystem keeps getting better. Now there’s a mobile app, which give you on-the-go control of your frames. Plus, you can snap a photo with your smartphone and almost instantly add it to your photo frames. (Sorry, Skylight.)
There are a variety of Nixplay digital photo frames and sizes to choose from:
- I’ve got the 10″ Nixplay Seed, which costs $179.99 on Amazon.
(It has a 4×3 display orientation.)
- The 10″ Widescreen Nixplay Seed is $169.99 on Amazon.
(That one has a 16×10 display orientation.)
Nixplay Seeds are WiFi-only frames, which is just fine with me. But if you also want the old-school ability to upload pictures via SD cards, there’s the Nixplay Edge model.
- The Nixplay Edge 8″ costs $144.99 on Amazon. (4×3 orientation)
- The 13″ model costs a whopping $239.99. (16×9 orientation)
Use this Visual Storytelling Strategy
I’ve talked previously about ways to maintain your public brand online.
But you also have a personal brand to feed that’s uniquely positioned for your family and friends.
And with distance often challenging the continuity of extended family units, displaying your photo playlists on WiFi digital photo frames is a wonderful way to communicate your family’s ongoing story.