How to Manage Your Digital Photos

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How to Manage Your Digital Photos

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Going on vacation is an exciting time. You're away from work; you get to relax. Maybe you're at the beach. Hiking in the jungle, perhaps? Or, exploring the cities of Europe. But, no matter what you are doing, you're going to take a lot of pictures while on the road. It's is a time honored vacation tradition, after all.

One thing that has happened with the rise of digital photography is people take a lot more pictures now. Since we don't have to have stacks of photos laying around, we have huge files of photos. I have over 50 gigabytes of photos and I know people who have over 1 terabyte!! What do you do with all those photos? There are a number of options:

Editing
Even the best photographers edit their photos. Great photos take work. Nature doesn't always provide the best colors or light. But you don't have to be an expert photographer to edit photos. These tools are good for beginners, hobbyists, and professionals a like:

Adobe Photoshop: Adobe's photo editing software is so popular, the word "photoshop" has become a verb. Instead of editing a photo, you "photoshop" it. This tool is the most commonly used and is Apple or PC compatible. Like all Adobe products, it takes a bit of practice to learn. This program is best used for people with the time to learn it or semi-professional photographers.

GIMP: This is a free, open source version of Adobe Photoshop. Like Photoshop, it comes with a lot of bells and whistles and has a steep learning curve. Unlike Photoshop, it is free. I use it for my own photos from time to time but the controls do take some getting used to.

iPhoto: This Mac program is the easiest and most basic editing software to use; iPhoto is for beginners. You can edit photos easily here and only do basic things like change colors, lighting, size, etc. It's a great program for those who just want to touch up their photos or maybe bring out some colors, but not do advanced editing.

Sharing
After you have edited, your photos, you're going to want to share them with your friends. Here are four great options for sharing your photographs online:

Picasa: Google's Picasa is a great and easy place to story photos. It allows users with accounts at Google to store and share 1 GB of photos for free. If you have a Google account, it makes sense to use this website as it saves you from having to create and manage a new online profile.

Flickr: Flickr was created in 2002 and quickly became the dominant photo sharing site with a busy community around it. The Yahoo-owned site offers free accounts and both professional accounts that offer more options and disk space. However, for the casual user, the free option will allow you to share photos with your friends and even have them comment on them.

SmugMug: SmugMug is a premium photo sharing web site and best used if you are really serious about your photography. Many of the webmasters I know use this site. It offers the most bandwidth, great customer service, and the ability to have your own domain in the photo URLs. It has an attractive and user-friendly interface too. SmugMug is not free though and accounts start at $40/year. But if you are serious about hosting photos online, this is the service to use.

Photo Bucket: Photobucket it is the original photo sharing site and is still popular with sharing photos on web forums and blogs. It has a free 1GB of storage and up to 25GB of bandwidth. It is a basic site and probably now the least used out of all the options listed. If you just have a few photos and don't want anything special, this may be the site for you.


Printing
All of the above online sites allow you to digital print your photographs and they allow your friends to order copies too. Instead of mailing them out, just have the companies send them! Click, send, save time.


For more tips see: Cherish Your Photos: How to Protect and Preserve Your Digital Memories

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