Storyteller Productions

Organizing, Preserving, and
Showcasing your Special Photos

Organize your Photos: 3 simple tips

October 15th, 2018

hands-holding-phoneIf your chore list includes “organizing my photos” you might look at the endless stream of smart phone photos and think, “Oh, wow!” followed by “Do I really have time for this?!”

And after about 20 minutes, you turn your attention to a more fun project like planning your family’s summer vacation or making more coffee.

Try not to abandon the project before you get started! You’d be surprised at how 15-20 minutes a month will keep you organized and less stressed with organizing and viewing those cute snapshots of your friends and family.

1. Clean Out your Smart Phone

Delete those blurry photos while you’re waiting in line at the grocery or doctor’s office. You’ll instantly have less photos to download to your computer and won’t have to sift through a ton of bad snapshots.

2. Check Photos on a Monthly Basis

Whether you’re using iCloud, Google Photos or Dropbox, set a monthly calendar reminder to make sure your photos are syncing or you have downloaded the photos into the photo management system of your choice. Afterwards, take 15 to 20 minutes to edit them ruthlessly. Only keep the truly special, funny, and beautiful photos and delete any duplicates.

3. File and Organize

Create Master folders for vacations, holidays, birthdays and every day life. Sort by year, followed by month. Ie: If a birthday was taken on July, 27th, 2011 – Put 2011 (07-27) Birthday. When organized by year, you’ll be able to sort the folders sequentially in any software, which is the best way to find older photos.

Also, make sure you back up your photos. This is a critical step to do, so don’t skip it, or one day, you could find all of those special memories gone. You can manually move photos to an external hard drive or to the cloud via DropBox. Another recommended program is Backblaze, which backs your computer up every time you connect to the internet.

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Posted in Photo Organizing |

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Tips for taping video on your mobile.

October 1st, 2018

Do you tape video on your smart phone that you will later want to watch on your TV? If so, make sure you turn your phone horizontally, not vertically.

You might ask, why tape horizontal? The reason is taping the other way (vertically) will result in having two big black bars on either side of the video when being played on your TV screen. Not sure what this means?

View a clip here to understand: Vertically Taped Clip

So what’s the lesson here? If you’re catching precious moments of video on your smart phone, turn the phone horizontally, exactly as you see in the picture below. This will result in the video showing up on the entire space of your TV.

 

 

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6 Steps for Organizing your Lifetime of Photos

September 17th, 2018

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.

file-naming

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-blue

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!

Posted in Cloud Storage for Photos, Photo Organizing |

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

September 3rd, 2018

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.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 2.53.46 PM

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.

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Prepare for your video montage

August 20th, 2018

A video montage intertwines photos, video snippets, titles, graphics and music, making it the perfect time capsule for your Guest of Honor growing up. Whether it’s for a bar or bat mitzvah, wedding, sweet 16, birthday or anniversary party, this video is guaranteed to generate an emotional response.

Here is a short video excerpt of a video montage for a young man’s Bar Mitzvah party, who wanted a family oriented slideshow intertwined with several video clips which included his love of sports. See for yourself how we bring your story alive through the use of photos, videos, music, transitions and 2D effects!
Nathan Bar Mitzvah

Is it worth the money?

Yes, it is worth it! Unlike, the decor, food and flowers…a video montage documenting your special loved one will be an everlasting memory. In addition to enjoying the video during your special event, you’ll also be able to show future generations this video on TVs, smart phones, and tablets forever!

How do I get started?

Creating a fascinating video might seem overwhelming and difficult at first. But with thoughtful preplanning and the use of our tips, you’ll be able to assemble a collection of the best photos, videos and music that will produce an exceptional keepsake to enjoy in the years to come.

 

Tips for creating a good montage:

1. Know your video length and budget

We find that for events, anything around 10 minutes with catchy media, music and graphics is a success. With that in mind, we offer sample packages which range in timing, based on popularity with clients. Of course, we offer videos that may be below or above these guidelines as well, depending on the scope of the project and the amount of media included! For pricing, and more information, contact jenny@storytellerpro.com.

100 photos (6-8 minute video)

  • Up to 100 photosclock_cropped
  • Up to 1 video clips
  • Up to 4 songs

150 photos (8-10 minute video)

  • Up to 150 photos
  • Up to 2 video clips
  • Up to 5 songs

200 photos (10-12 minute video)

  • Up to 200 photos
  • Up to 3 video clips
  • Up to 6 songs

 

2. Create an outline

Bummed out about having this homework? No worries – we’ve got you covered! If you don’t have any ideas of creating an outline, we’ll do it for you. This is included in our consultation process at no extra charge!

Basically, your viewers are expecting to be told a story, through photos and video snippets, documenting an event or theme. We’ll work with you to decide what kind of montage you’d prefer. Whether you want a documentary based style video that echoes the warmth of your family, or a more humorous video with movie or TV snippets – we’ll make the process a breeze, exceeding your expectations!

lady hand writingAs a generality, you can do a chronological order of things. Or you can also have sub themes such as baby birth, family, sports, vacations, etc.

In some of our montages, we’ve incorporated a little bit of both the chronological themes as well as sub themes. IE: a chronological grouping of a child and her dance recitals.

 

3. Photo Selection

Beck-14-2389178709-HAfter you’ve come up with an outline, you can start to choose your photos and videos. Remember, you want quality vs. quantity. No, you don’t have to have sparkling, perfect professional photos…but try to choose pictures that are not too pixelated, light, dark, blurry or low in quality and file size. With today’s 2D and 3D effects, we can make any photo look great (whether it’s horizontal or vertical). Also, don’t worry if your child is in a wide shot. We generally zoom in or out fast with those, so anything works….as long as the subject is in focus.

We take digital and hard copy paper photos, which can be scanned. Each photo is also looked at individually to crop, take out red eye, minor dust and scratches so your photo montage experience can be the best that it can be!

4. Add short video clips

Think about sprinkling in several 10-15 second video clips throughout the slideshow. This is a great way to break up the video montage and keep the audience’s interest. We accept a variety of video formats, including Hi-8, VHS, Mini-DV and digital clips.

5. Choose the music

Music is a very important part to the process, as it will create the mood that you desire for your audience. A great way to start off is to choose songs that have lyrics which compliment your story, and are meaningful to you and your family. You can have a mixture of sentimental songs (slower) with some more upbeat songs (faster and cheerful).

If you are stumped on music and can’t think of any songs, don’t worry – we have a ton of selections that you can choose from…ranging from warm-hearted and sentimental to upbeat and funny!

6. Test your equipment before showing

You find yourself at a family event and the equipment does not work. It is very embarrassing trying to get your prized DVD photo montage to play, all the while losing your viewer’s attention. Always test ALL the equipment prior to the big day if possible. Make sure the projector or television, DVD Player or Laptop, and sound equipment are working properly.

7. Enjoy the show!

Enjoy this video at your event, and enjoy the reactions that arise out of your guests. In addition to enjoying the video during your special event, you’ll also be able to show future generations this video on TVs, smart phones, and tablets forever!

reaction_shot_BW

 

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Posted in Photo Restoration, Photo Scanning, Photo Slideshows, Special Events Video, Video, Video Conversion |

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Create a montage on your Phone

August 6th, 2018

With “Back to School” starting and Labor Day right around the corner, parents and families are taking more pictures and videos. I myself posted a cute pic on Facebook of my kids using the Photofy App (super cool for simple or more complex editing!).

IMG_0520

However, I took a TON of other photos which I wanted to utilize and show off for a little video.

With limited time, I always want something automated and efficient – all of my current media is always available on my phone whether it’s for personal or for business.

Being a video editor, I realize that hours can pass if you’re not careful with time-tracking. Sometimes, I just don’t have time to string photos and videos from scratch on my desktop and labtop computers.

What follows are some suggested apps for editing video montages from your phone. I’ve edited the same pics and videos within each different app so you can get an idea of the differences. These can be used for personal videos, classroom or sports videos, and small business owners. Not only are these usable on your phone, but on your desktop computers for larger projects.

1. Magisto App (iPhone and Android)

This app has more bells & whistles with effects. I’ve used one template here called “Film Effect”, but there are other templates to choose from which are really cute. You can create a free video with up to 10 photos (about 30 seconds). For longer videos, you’ll have to purchase the business app for $9.99 per month.

Magisto seems more targeted to the teenagers and young adults. You can also use the Magisto software on any desktop computer for larger projects, by going to www.magisto.com. Internet access is needed.

back-to-school

2. IMovie App (For iPhone only)

This app is for those individuals who want much more control with editing than any other apps. You can purchase the iMovie app for a $5 flat fee, and it also comes with any Apple desktop/labtop computer free. It’s for people who prefer the videos to be simple, with limited bells & whistles in effects. iMovie also has a super cute collection of “trailer” templates, where you can pick a “trailer” theme and intermingle your photos and videos.

back-to-school-imovie-version

3. Animoto App (iPhone and Android)

This app has a TON of templates, and is more automated. Lots of creativity and themes for all age types and special events. Whether you want to create a sports video for your child’s soccer team…or a business video of your product, Animoto offers lots of functionality with a quick turnaround. Cons is that we recommend purchasing the Professional Package at $264 per year. But if you make videos from your phone often (for personal or business), it’s well worth it.

Try a free 14 day trial with no credit card required. You can also use the Animoto software on any desktop computer for larger projects, by going to www.animoto.com. You will need internet access.

back-to-school-animoto

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Posted in Photo Slideshows, Special Events Video, Video |

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

July 23rd, 2018

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

the-art-of

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.

copy-of-backup-solutions7

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?

copy-of-the-art-of1

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

 

Posted in Cloud Storage for Photos, Photo Organizing |

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Why you should scan paper photos

July 9th, 2018

Everyone has paper photos. Many of us have stored our older paper photographs in photo albums or shoeboxes. And while we may think that they’re protected, the truth is…older photo albums and acidic boxes which hold our treasured memories, often damage the images they are meant to protect.

3-tips-for-scanning-photos-blog-post

They turn brown

You heard it right. Based off of the type of ink that was used for printing the photo and how it’s stored, our photos fade. Some turn a brown, yellow or reddish shade of color. Paper photos are also susceptible to mold damage, so you should always store your photos in a place within the home that has the most consistently median heat (50 to 70 F) and low humidity.

They are inaccessible

Who wants to dig through the attic or a scary basement to look for those long lost memories? Albums and shoeboxes are so clunky and dusty – no wonder they never receive any visitors. Make it easier by scanning those paper photos and making digital photo albums on sites like Shutterfly or Mixbook. Better yet, contact Storyteller to design one for you!

Fire or Flood Loss Prevention

Fires and floods do happen, and they have the power to swallow up those memories forever. But if you digitize your photos, they’ll not only be in a safe place (ie: an external hard drive or cloud), but your other family members may enjoy them as well.

 

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Scanning photos might seem easy, but like everything with technology, there are a few things that can go wrong.

  • People forget to crop the images
  • Scanners might have default settings turned on, which should be turned off
  • People don’t scan the right resolution
  • The photos are saved in the wrong format
  • The scanner used is not optimum for archiving purposes

When preserving your memories, why not hire the a professional who can save you the time and stress? Contact us for finding ways on how we can help you get started on scanning your photo collection!

If you’re a DIY’er, we recommend educating yourself before taking on the huge task of scanning your own photo collection if you have no prior experience. Proceed with caution, and scan in small batches to ensure everything has been properly archived!

You wouldn’t want to scan 1500 paper photos, only then to find out that a setting was wrong. We urge you to either contact a professional like Storyteller, or seriously educate yourself on scanning your own materials.

Happy Memory Preserving!

 

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

June 25th, 2018

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.

 

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Tape video correctly with your smart phone

June 11th, 2018

If you tape video with your Phone, don’t suffer from VVS (Vertical Video Syndrome)! Not sure what VVS is? It’s when people hold the phone vertically instead of horizontally while taping video. And eventually, when those videos are transferred off of the phone to view on a TV screen or internet, they look bad.

View a clip here to understand: Vertically Taped Clips

Hold phone like this while taping video!

The right way to hold a phone while taping video.

 

What’s the lesson?

If you’re catching precious moments of video on your mobile phone, turn the phone horizontally, exactly as you see in the picture above. This will result in the video showing up on the entire space of your TV.

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

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Posted in Special Events Video, Video, Video Conversion |

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