Part 1 of this series showed you how to make better use of that inexpensive point-and-shoot camera you drag around with you everywhere. Now that you finally have pictures of more than just the inside of your purse, wouldn't you like to include some of those photos in your next letter to Grandma, or your annual Christmas update for family and friends?
Digital cameras have made amateur photography much betterand much worse. You can take many more pictures with much less equipment and effort, so you're likely to have some really great shots on that flash card or hard disk. But now you probably have to wade through zillions of nice-but-boring shots to find the goodiesand the longer you wait to do it, the more frustrating it will be, just trying to locate what you need when you need it.
In this article, we'll consider possibilities for organizing and sharing your photos. I'll briefly cover a very useful filing system, explained in depth in Chapter 2 of The Digital Shoebox: How to Organize, Find, and Share Your Photos. Once your photos are organized so that you can actually find them, you'll be able to take advantage of some very unique ways in which you can share them with the world.
If you haven't done so already, the beginning of the school year is a great time to start filing your photos by year and month, in a master folder called Photos. This filing system is a good habit (see Figure 1). You probably keep some kind of calendar or datebook to help you remember the schedule for school plays and sports activities. If you can reference that schedule with your photo files later on, you'll always be able to find your photos of those events, even 510 years from now.
If you transfer your photos from your camera yourself, rather than letting an application such as iPhoto import the photos for you, you will always personally know exactly where your photo files are located. If you organize those files into folders by month and year, you'll be able to access them directly, no matter what you fancy down the line in terms of browsing software.
So far, as Figure 1 shows, we have an organizational system with a root-level folder called Photos, in which are subfolders named by year, and within each year a folder for each month. Straightforward and simple, right? But obviously you'll want to change some of the photosrenaming, cropping, and/or adjusting. How can you do that, since I just told you it's not allowed? Well, I specifically said that you can't do any of that stuff to the original photos stored on your hard drive. Instead, you'll make any number of copies of the original photos, for any number of reasons, and you can mess around with those copies to your heart's content. The rest of this article shows you how to store copies of your images for reference purposes, and I'll cover various methods for sharing those pictures with friends and relatives as well as your kid's future in-laws and professional associates. (Hey, kids grow up.)
Beyond the Originals: Ways to Enjoy and Share
To begin categorizing or sharing your photos, make new folders called Reference and Share, intended for filing duplicates of photos from your master photo library. In the Reference folder, keep your photos organized by categories as you need them. For instance, you could start a new folder called 2009_ShotPut, find all the original great shots of your daughter tossing the shot put, and duplicate those files into that Reference folder.
At the end of the track-and-field season, if you want to make a book of shot put photos using the online photo-book publisher of your choice, just review all the great shots you've filed in the 2009_ShotPut folder and duplicate the best of the best into a new folder that you create in your Share folder (perhaps called 2009_ShotPutForever), upload those duplicates to your online photo-book publisher, and create your layout.