Our smartphones make it easy to take as many pictures as we like whenever we want. Do you ever wonder what you can do with these photos so they don’t just clog up your memory? Here are 5 tips for what you can do to enhance the accessibility of your photos and also make them last.
Organize your photos
This can take some time and thought, but the end result is worth it. Organizing your photos by event, month, or year can make them easier to access and gives context to them in case one day you forget why you even bothered to take that one picture of feet in the sand.
Downloading your photos to your personal computer is the easiest way to organize them. It also means that if heaven forbid you lose internet or you lose all the data on your phone, you can still get your photos.
Save your Photos on a CD or Drive
For preservation, the absolute best practice used by museums is on a CD, TIFF format, and at least 300 dpi. For personal collections, this might be a bit much as TIFFs are larger than the more common and default file of JPEG. 300 dpi (dots per inch) is a reference to the quality and the amount of data for each photo, or the resolution of the image. The higher the number, the more detailed and accurate the image. If you want to one day make large copies of an image, it’s probably best to save it with a higher resolution, but if you’ll just be saving the digital files, the normal 72 dpi is fine. You can always save the photos in different files and at different resolutions later.
The reason for a CD is because CDs can last 20-25 years without getting damaged and easy to store. CDs are also low-tech, which makes them easier to maintain. Flash drives and external hard drives can last long as well and just remember you’ll need either a CD reader or a USB port for the drives.
Upload to the Cloud
There are many cloud storage options available (Google Drive, Onedrive, iCloud) that can upload your photos automatically from your phone and make them accessible anywhere. Your files are protected with a password and you can organize them into folders. You may already have an account with one or more of these clouds because of your existing Google or Apple account, so it’s worth considering. Some clouds automatically organize your files by different tags such as date, location, and content. You will eventually get a warning that you’re running out of space and the cloud will ask if you want more data storage. If you have the time, go through your files and delete unwanted images rather than paying for more space.
Print Them Out
The absolute best way to preserve your photos is to print them out. This way you’re not limited by technology and will have them as long as you keep them in a safe place. It would also be wise to write information on the back of them in pencil for future reference.
Printing out your images is easier than it sounds. You can upload photos straight from your phone to your local drugstore or online printing companies which will then print them for pick-up or delivery. This service is quick and can be inexpensive.
To store them, keep the photos in a dark, dry place where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much. Your living room, bedroom, or home office/study are ideal. Kitchens, bathrooms, attics, or garages would be the worst. Your photos can fade, curl or crumble in the wrong environment. It is also wise to invest in acid-free storage because some materials used for containers become acidic over time and can damage your items.
Instead of storing them, you can always display and frame your images in creative ways around your home. Hang a cluster of them as a collage on the wall or hang some ribbon and attach your photos with small clothespins. The options are endless and only limited by your imagination.
Make Scrapbooks or Photo Albums
Creating a scrapbook adds a personal touch and context. Scrap-booking is a great activity and craft stores are full of fun papers, stamps, and stickers to make yours unique. If you don’t have the time or artistic eye, putting your photos in an album can take less time, but still displays them in a nice organized way.
Online companies, similar to printing your photos, can also print books for you. Some involve a lot of set up and design, but others you can just upload your photos and it takes it from there. You can find cheap options and these books can also be great gifts for a special someone.
Save your memories for you and the future, so no matter how long down the line, you can always remember where you had taken that photo of feet in the sand and think about how great that vacation was.