It was a Digital Holiday! by Maureen Taylor

I don’t know about you, but I thought I heard the sorrowful sound of “Taps” being played for film cameras during this holiday season. I recently did a lot of seasonal visiting and everyone I saw had a new digital camera. My neighbor is perplexed by the options on hers, but a friend’s teen began snapping pictures as soon as she took the device out of the box. There’s a bit of a generation gap when it comes to these new-fangled gadgets.

If you didn’t find a camera under your tree or in your stocking, it’s time to think about joining the digital photo revolution. I’ve owned a digital camera for years and enjoy every second of it. Now I’m considering upgrading to a better model due to affordable pricing and extra incentives like free printers. Here’s some New Year’s advice, based on my own experiences, for anyone overwhelmed by digital photography.

Read the Manual
I lack an intuitive sense of electronic devices, so I always spend time skimming the manual. It’s especially important to do so with sophisticated digital cameras. You might need to learn the vocabulary of digital imaging in order to capture good quality pictures. One of my favorite sites that offers help to newcomers is Digicamhelp. Right on the homepage you’ll find a selection of links for novices.

Make Sure You Have Enough Memory
Buy the biggest memory device you can for your camera. Why? For the simple reason that you don’t want to run out of memory in the middle of taking pictures of a family event. It might not be possible to buy additional memory devices at the corner pharmacy like you could film for your older model camera.

Upload, Then Print
It’s not that complicated to obtain prints of your pictures. Once you have uploaded your images to your computer, try one of the online photo processing sites like Photoworks.com, Kodak’s Gallery or Snapfish.com.

I used Snapfish this year to produce photo holiday cards. It took a few minutes to upload my pictures to an online album, pick a design, and order the cards. I picked them up in an hour at my local Walgreens. It couldn’t have been easier. There are plenty of vendors to choose from. Search “online photo processors” in a search engine and start comparing their features and prices. Many sites offer free prints as an incentive to sign up. Another option is to purchase a photo printer and produce prints at home.

Organize Them Immediately!
If you’re the family photographer then you know how quickly your pile of pictures can grow. The same is true for digital photo files. Purchase photo organizing software that will help you label your pictures and arrange them in digital albums. There are plenty of options available in office supply stores and through online vendors. You can also download Google’s Picasa for free. Once you’ve added keywords and captions to your pictures, you’ll be able to locate all your pictures of a special event or a favorite aunt. These products organize all your digital image files, even scans of family documents, and you can share them with relatives with a single click of the mouse.

Managing your digital pictures really is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Snap, print, and organize your images in the New Year. It’s a resolution that doesn’t require a lot of time or money.

Click here for a printer friendly version of this article.

Maureen Taylor loves writing about photography and family history. You can reach her through her website www.photodetective.com.

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