Every minute of everyday, most of us have our smartphone within reach with its camera ready to record every aspect of our life. Teens are taking awesome photos in the floral department of DIY stores., moms are snapping photos of their babies with a monthly age signs, and every baseball, soccer and ballet event is captured. Moments from our exotic vacations to our everyday life are being recorded and stored on our devices.
The smart phone camera has changed the way we live and record history, photographing what we eat, what we create and where we go. They even affect our terminology with the word “selfie” being added to the dictionary and the words “applications” and “filters” gaining a whole new meaning.
Gone are the days of film with 24 exposures, sending them to be developed and then anxiously holding the envelope of pictures and hoping that at least a few photos turned out. Instead, prom photos with young girls as beautiful as any New York model are enhanced and online for friends to view before the rented Limos arrive at the dance. Thanks to digital photography we take as many pictures as we want and in an instant we see the results. With a few more clicks they are shared on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. For many of us, social media is the place these pictures are shared, stored and put to pasture.
But, the mass of photos come with issues. When it comes to our phone storage, photos and videos take up the largest amount of space. Even if you are diligent about downloading your photos, as technology changes and computer programs become outdated, we find ourselves losing them. We are finding gaps where no photo albums were made and digital access is denied. And then there is that accidental delete.
Our photos seem to be stuck on devices dependent on technology and internet access. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
Here are five easy ways to liberate your photos from your devices.
This is definitely a step up from slipping your snapshots into plastic sleeves or behind magnetic sheets. Like the creative memory scrapbooks of the 90’s, the online options use templates to create albums of photos on embellished pages. The pages are digitally printed and professional bound in a thin hardbound book.
For the best results, tie pictures together with a theme. This can be a vacation, a year-in-review or a specific event. Choose your best photos but also choose photos that tell a whole story. Once you have your selection of photos take your time to choose a theme. Choose photos that are a good resolution and quality. With a little work, these books can be worthy of sitting on your coffee table.
There are many online companies that offer different sizes and styles. You can completely customize the book or simply drop pictures into a template. I find it easier to work on my laptop combining my mobile photos with my DSLR camera photos, but several of the companies including Snapfish offer mobile apps to quickly create books right from your phones and tablets. Most come with a basic number of pages. For an additional charge, you can add pages and upgrade the cover or binding.
Look for coupons and groupons for your books but remember all companies aren’t equal and all books ordered aren’t equal.
My favorites are Snapfish, Shutterfly and Mixbook.
These photobooks first appeared on the TV show Sharktank and have since been purchased by Shutterfly. After downloading the Groovebook app to your smartphone, you simply start taking pictures. During the month you upload 40-100 of your favorite shots to the app and a book of 4X6” bound photos are mailed to you. The monthly subscription is $3.99 with free shipping. The downside is, if you forget to upload the pictures you still pay for the month. However, they are very good about sending reminders.
Pictures can be pulled from your camera roll and Instagram or you can sync with your computer to access your photos there. The book has a somewhat retro feel and every page is perforated so you can tear out photos easily. Don’t expect professional quality photos – the paper is a little thin – but it is a fun and fairly inexpensive way to preserve your photos off your phone. There is a 15-18 day turn around once your order is placed.
Jigsaw puzzles are far from new. They have been around since the 1700’s when maps where pasted to wood and handcut into shapes. As they became mass produced and more affordable, they became an evening event for families and friends during the pre-tv days of the early 1900’s. I feel confident that there are very few people who haven’t at some point in their life sat around a table studying puzzle pieces. Puzzles are actually a healthy pastime, exercising both the analytical and creative sides of the brain simultaneiously.
Selecting the photo is the hardest part of this project. You will want a picture that creates a challenging but not impossible puzzle. Technically any photo can be used to create a puzzle, but start with only good quality, sharp and in focus photos. The larger the finished puzzle the higher the resolution required.
Consider the complexity of the photo. Are there sharp lines and edges differentiating different parts of the picture? Are there multiple colors or large sections with the same color? Once you upload your photo, you will select the number of pieces and decide if you want to add text. The puzzles come in a box with the photo on the cover.
There are many options for creating puzzles including Shutterfly and Snapfish.
Coloring books have been around for ages, but over the last few years coloring books for adults have hit the market as a calming stress reliever. The books burst onto the scene in 2013 when a British publishing company followed the advice of black and white artist Johanna Brasford who noticed people liked to color her printed work. Her coloring book sold over 2 million copies in its first two years and created a new industry catagory for publishers. Just like meditation, coloring allows us to switch off our brain and relax in the moment.
There are many ways to turn your pictures into coloring pages including the app Colorscape, available in iOS or android. The basic app is free but you can upgrade for $3.99. Simply download the app to your phone or tablet, upload a photo and then email it to yourself to print off.
Print from your home computer using a paper quality suited for your medium. Most standard printer paper works with crayons or colored pencils, but you can purchase card stock or a high quality paper suitable for paints and markers.
PRINTING YOUR PHOTOS
Turn those selfies into shelfies. Go really retro and print and frame your work for hanging on the wall or standing on a shelf. CVS, Walgreens and Walmart all offer printing on their websites. However, if you really want to frame and print with a professional look, use online printing companies like Adorama Pixs and My Photopipe. The difference in price per picture is minimal but your choice of papers and finishes are worth the price. The catch? Your photos need to be a good resolution and quality. But, smart phone cameras have come a long way and printing will be a breeze. The companies all give you a warning icon if the photo you upload will not print at the size you requested.
To get the best quality from your smartphone, always download at the original size option. Edit your photos either on the phone or your computer. For the best resolution, avoid zooming on the camera. Instead crop the photo. Beware that some applications and filters can compress your photo and lower the resolution.
Printing your photos does not have to be on paper. There are companies that will print to canvas, wood and metal. You can also put your photos on coffee mugs, fabric items, phone covers and the list goes on.
The important thing to remember is to have fun. Take lots of photos of people and places you love. Then, free your photos from technology!
For more information and tips on liberating your photos from your phone see Maggie’s blog on the Fayette Woman website.