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a) clean up clutter by putting things in their place, boxing up less important things, and throwing away junk.
b) walk around house with a notepad and jot down current location of each item of clutter. As clutter gets moved around, either keep notepad up to date, or schedule a new walkthrough to generate a new list each day or week.
Obviously, a notepad of item locations is better than nothing, but what you really want is a solution that truly organizes your clutter instead of inventorying it.
ii) Can you easily organize groups of photos into virtual photo albums? How easy is it to move photos around to different albums as you refine your organization? Or better yet, can a photo appear in multiple albums without having to make duplicates of photo? For example, if you have a photo of Aunt Martha taken during Christmas 2004, you might want it to appear in an album containing all photos of Aunt Martha, and a Christmas Memories album, as well as album of all 2004 photos.
iii) Can you sort your photos in any order that you want? Or is there a forced order depending on which photos you added first, or file names, or file dates, etc? How easy is it to change order? Can you just "drag" a photo to its new position?
iv) Can you add extra information to your photos? Without digital photo album software, all you have is a set of image files. The only information that you can record is in name of file (e.g. aunt_martha_xmas_2004.jpg). Most software packages will allow you to add some notes, or maybe a date to your photos. How easy is it to add this information? If you just came back from a trip to Mexico with 50 pictures, do you have to add title "Mexico" 50 times, or can you add it to all of them at once?
Even most basic digital photo album software will let you page through each photo in an album. Look for a thumbnail list that can help you hop to various photos in album, rather than always looking at them sequentially.
The software should also let you print your photos. Check how easy it is to control size and location of your photo on a page. With a decent printer and some photo paper, you can print amazing photos yourself, rather than paying for a printing service.
Another fun and convenient way to show off your photo albums is with slideshows. There are a tremendous variety of slideshow designs that digital photo album packages will generate for you. Look for how much flexibility you have in displaying photos and notes, how easy it is to embellish background for your slideshow, and what software is required to view slideshow. If it can be viewed on its own or with common software such as web browsers, then you can send a slideshow to friends and family on a CD or DVD.
While digital photos are more vulnerable than developed photos, they are also much easier to protect. Can you imagine making copies of all your developed photos just for safekeeping? With right tools, making a copy of your digital photos is trivial. In fact, you can make multiple copies, or backups, and give some to friends and family. Then even if your house does burn down, your photos are not lost! Your digital photo album software should provide an easy backup and recovery mechanism.
If you store photos on a shared computer, managing security is a must. You don't want other people to be able to modify, and perhaps even view, your photos. On a family computer, you might choose to let young children look at photos, but not allow them to delete or modify your photo albums. Some digital photo album software packages provide basic security settings, while others ignore this area completely. Security requirements differ widely based on your circumstances. Decide ahead of time if you think that this is something that you need to have.
Whichever digital photo album software you choose, you will be miles ahead in terms of organization then you would be without any software. I think you'll find that digital photo album software is like email. You may not feel a need for it now, but once you've used it, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it! Just remember that goal is to enjoy your photo collection, not to get frustrated with yet another software program. So snap all digital photos that you want, and get some easy to use digital photo album software to help you manage them all.
John Grand is the creative force behind Photo SafeStore, the revolutionary award-winning digital photo album software. John has over twenty years of experience in the software industry. Photo SafeStore represents a technological breakthrough in digital photo album software that merges the complexity of image handling with databases. The result is a product like no other: www.photosafestore.com.