Storyteller Productions

Organizing, Preserving, and
Showcasing your Special Photos

Photo Organizing

Photo book sites should not serve as the only backup for your photos!

September 12th, 2016

Many families use websites such as Shutterfly or Snapfish to make beautiful photo books, photo prints, or Holiday cards. They are super accessible, and easy for the average (or advanced) consumer…with a ton of cool templates!

On the other hand, although these websites provide some super fun gifts, we have to be careful with storing our photographs on them. The reason being, they should not serve as the only backup for your photo collection.

Classic Client Question

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So what’s the big deal?

One would think that once you’ve uploaded your photos to these websites, you’d be able to get your images back with no problem. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that these sites were never intended to be permanent cloud storage.

These companies simply act as a server to design photo gifts, and not to be used as a backup for photos. Many clients think, I’ve uploaded and organized my photos on Snapfish, what does it matter if my external hard drive died or if I lost my originals – I can view my photos any time I want.

Sure, you can definitely view your images, but the reality is that these sites make it a slow and tedious process to get your images back… without actually paying money or spending invested time downloading high res pics one at a time.

What’s your recommendation?

Our recommendation is to always store your original pics independently of software on at least 2 duplicated external hard drives, plus one cloud option including BackblazeCarbonite or Dropbox. For permanent cloud storage for your consolidated photos, Forever.com is a great option. Make sure to always change out your external hard-drives every 3 years, and test them when it’s time to turn the clocks for daylight savings.

If you love Shutterfly or Snapfish, and want to continue working with such photo gift websites, you can certainly do so! Just be sure that the photos you are uploading are not the only “backup” of your originals. It’s always better to have your photos backed up somewhere, outside of any software platforms, so you can access them if there are future problems with whatever software company you are using to view your photos.

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What if my photos are stuck on one of these sites?

If you do have your only originals on these sites, we really recommend extracting them as soon as possible. We’ve posted instructions on how to do so from Shutterfly and Snapfish (see below). If you’re leery of doing this on your own, contact us for a Photo Organizing Session to get you on the right track to storing your photo collection.

How do I get my original digital photos off of shutterfly?

photostory_icon_1024pxIf you only have a couple of images that you’d like to extract from Shutterfly, you could double click on the thumbnail of the desired photo. This will enlarge the thumbnail to a larger preview. From there, hit ctrl + click. A tab will pop up, and you can select the “save image as” option.

This will save a low resolution copy of your original photo to your computer. Granted, a low res copy can still look very pixelated when trying to reprint or reproduce in other formats, and we recommend obtaining the full resolution photo.

To get your full resolution photos from Shutterfly, you have to order an Archive DVD. To be directly connected to this service, you can log in to your account and click this Shutterfly Archive DVD Link. The prices are as follows:

1-100 pictures: $9.99
101-500 pictures: $14.99
501-1000 pictures: $19.99
Each additional 999 pictures, $4.99
Shipping & Handling not included

How do I get my original digital photos off of Snapfish?

snapfishIt’s a little bit more tricky to get your original photos off of Snapfish for various reasons. Originally owned by District Photo, Snapfish was sold to Hewlett-Packard in 2005. Back then, you were able to buy archival discs of your whole library for payment (like Shutterfly).

But then somewhere along the line, they changed their process so the archival discs were no longer available. Hence, Snapfish’s Classic Website began to offer the downloadable batch zip files, including up to 50 images at a time.

However, in November 2015, District Photo reacquired Snapfish as Hewlett-Packard wanted to split and refocus its operation. As of today, Snapfish’s Classic Website is no longer available, and Snapfish users who want to extract their original high quality photos have to download them ONE AT A TIME. In order to to this, you’ll have to click the photo which you want to obtain, and hit the “download” button on the top right.

Granted, this can be very tedious for people with collections of 200+ photos who have their originals backed up to Snapfish. For those clients who want to extract their photos from Snapfish, we recommend downloading your “A Select” photos a little bit each day. It will probably take about an hour to download anywhere from 180-250 images depending on your internet connection.

What’s the most important lesson here?

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Do you have comments, suggestions or questions about this blog post? Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

 

6 Steps for Organizing your Lifetime of Photos

July 18th, 2016

Whether you’ve inherited a ton of photo albums from your parents, or you’re having a hard time handling your own photo collection – here are streamlined instructions for getting organized! Of course, if you happen to be overwhelmed at any point during the process, contact us for a consultation on how we can help you finish organizing your media!

1.) Gather the Universe

If you’re like the average person, you probably have photos scattered all over (iPad, iPhone, Albums, Shoeboxes, Computer, SD Cards). I recommend buying 2 External Hard Drives specifically targeted to organizing your collection. These external hard drives are duplicates (one is a backup in case something happens to the other). From here, you can start dragging and dropping all of your media onto 1 External Hard Drive.

2.) Create a Core File/Folder Structure

What does this look like? Basically, you can sort your folders by year-who-what where. Create one master folder on your external hard drive, and then list the years chronologically as you see down below in the picture (2014, 2015, 2016). Then within each year, create folders for each month starting with January (2015-01) and so forth. From there, drag and drop the photos into the appropriate folders. Here is an example of what a Core Folder Structure looks like.

3.) Deletion of Duplicates

We all have various duplicates. By having your photos organized chronologically, it makes it much easier to weave out duplicates. Deleting duplicates non-software based can take GOBS of time. To make it easier and more efficient, buy a low cost software to save you time. If you’re on a Mac, try PhotoSweeper for $9.99. If you’re PC based, try Awesome Duplicate Photo Finder (free). As with any software, you will need to invest time in learning how to use them properly.

4.) File Naming/ File Tagging (Meta-Data)

We all know the familiar default photo names like ‘IMG_7832’ or ‘DCM_0542’. But when you’re trying to find a certain photo from a particular date, it can cause a challenge! Even if your photos are divided in to named folders, files can accidentally be switched from folder to folder. This leads to the photo organizers greatest secret: the file naming system of the who-what-where.

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You can use a variety of programs, such as Adobe Lightroom, Photo Mechanic, Forever.com, Mylio.com to organize Meta-Data. Each program has its Pros and Cons so do your research. These programs can be quite confusing and robust, so make sure you practice on a small batch before doing heaps of organizing.

5.) Sharing on a Cloud Site

There are so many options (Dropbox, Google Photos, Flickr, Amazon)! Whatever you choose, remember to have your photos also backed up to at least 2 external hard drives (as suggested above). After doing much research, I actually use a combination of the following for my own family archives: Forever and Mylio.

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Forever is permanent, cloud based storage. This site is great for people who prefer something simple. They might only have 1 computer and just want to view and share their photos with loved ones, while backing them up. Store your “best of the best” photos here, which you’ll want to show for generations to come. Visit our blog post here, which talks more in depth about Forever.

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Mylio resides locally on your desktop and other linked devices. Mylio is for those photo enthusiasts which have multiple computers, phones and cameras.  In case someone steals your labtop, all your photos can still be retained on your other labtops or devices. It’s a great organizational toolkit for creating a photo structure, file names, keywords and metadata. Not to mention deleting those unwanted blurry photos. I use Mylio to sort my own photos, keyword. Then my top album photos are transferred to my Forever Account.

6.) Maintenance

I suggest you have a monthly maintenance program in which you designate the 1st week of every month your “photo cleanup week”. Granted, we all get busy with this so that’s what I’m here for! For those of you needing a monthly maintenance program with our photo organization packages, contact us here on getting started!

Help! How do I get rid of my Duplicate Photos!

June 6th, 2016

Many of our clients’ photo collections have one common problem: DUPLICATES!!! You can rest easy, we’re here to help.

How do we get rid of these duplicates without spending days popping our eyeballs out!! Depending on whether you’re Mac or PC based, we have the right solutions for you.

Keep in mind that although these softwares save you DAYS of sifting through duplicates, it will still take HOURS of spot-checking. Like any new software, we recommend reading the instructions and conducting various tests. If you are not real tech-savvy, we recommend contacting us if you feel overwhelmed and need to purchase a photo organizing session!

For Mac Based Clients:

PhotosweeperPhotoSweeper is an amazing software for $9.99. You can find out more info by clicking here. This software finds identical and highly similar photos, which it then marks for deletion.

I recommend to always spotcheck the photos to make sure you’re deleting the lower quality duplicates, not the original photos. It has image comparison methods with adjustable settings and a great tech support team if you ever get stuck while using the software.

 

For PC Based Clients:

Duplicate CleanerWe’ve heard great reviews for Duplicate Cleaner. For $29.99, you can download this on your PC and begin sorting through your messy digital life. You can find our more info by clicking here.

Not only can Duplicate Cleaner be used for Photos, but it can also be used for detecting duplicated files and music! This is only Windows Based, so it can’t be used on a Mac.

 

Photo Organizing Post-Event (Holiday, Birthdays, Travel)

December 14th, 2015

The average number of pictures taken per year with smart phones for the typical individual can be any where from 500-2000! Because we acquire so much media, it’s important to be efficient so that in the years to come, we don’t accidentally delete something. We also don’t want to overwhelm the next generation with gobs of disorganized media, creating more work for them!

How do I get started?

Clients have asked us, how do I get started on organizing my collection? The most important step is creating a Core Folder and File Structure which is non-software based. What does non-software based mean?

It means organizing your photo collection without using such photo softwares like iPhoto, Photos, Picassa and Adobe Lightroom. A non-software based photo collection can be seen on any platform (Mac or PC), and free from future problems if the software company changes direction (ie: Apple’s iPhoto software now becoming unavailable and changing to Photos).

Core Folder Structure Sample:

An organized photo collection should have one folder for each month of the year, labeled numerically as shown below. The number for each month is better than the name of each month because you can sort folders chronologically within any platform when labeled this way. IE: January of 2015 would be labeled numerically ‘2015-01’ (the ‘-01’ standing for January), and so forth.

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Core File Naming Sample:

We all know the familiar default photo names like ‘IMG_7832’ or ‘DCM_0542’. But when you’re trying to find a certain photo from a particular date, it can cause a challenge! Even if your photos are divided in to named folders, files can accidentally be switched from folder to folder. This leads to the photo organizers greatest secret: the file naming system of the who-what-where.

file-naming

I don’t have time to organize myself!!

If you don’t have time, that’s what we’re here for! Call us for discussing your project needs, and we can discuss our packages which will yield a priceless (and peaceful) result.