You know what I love most about digital photography? I love that I can take as many pictures as I want without nagging thought of film development costs going "ka-ching!" in back of my mind with each snapshot. I no longer have to decide: "will this make a good picture?" Who cares, I just take it for now, and decide if I like it later. Now that is what I call photographic freedom!
This freedom that we enjoy with digital photography is not without consequence. At risk of stating obvious, less hesitation leads to a lot more photos! With film cameras, unsorted pictures ended up in a shoebox (or, in my case, unceremoniously dumped in a large filing cabinet drawer - a failed attempt at conveying a sense of order). With digital cameras, unsorted photos get sprinkled all over your computer disks. Combined with fact that we take a lot more digital photos than we used to take with our 35 mm, we end up with one huge mess instead of a photo collection.
Here are some of unique challenges that we face with digital photography:
This is first, and most obvious, problem that we run into. We've taken all these photos, and now what? Where do we put them? If you were fortunate enough to think of organization from start, then you might have created a folder on your computer disk called "pictures" and dumped them all in there. That's one step ahead of a lot of people who have image files spread out all over place. Sometimes we rely on software to put files in right place, but problem is that we use many software packages as sources of photos. We use one software package to extract photos from our digital camera. We receive some photos by email. We grab photos from internet, from Word documents, etc. Each of these programs puts photos in different places. The end result is that we often can't find photo we're searching for. Even worse, we lose some photos somewhere on computer and forget all about them.
With film photography, we regularly created photo albums to show friends and family. Inviting people over to watch us search for, and double-click, each of our image files pales by comparison.
With film photography, our photos were safe as long as nothing catastrophic happened like our house burned down. Our digital photos are a lot more vulnerable to being lost altogether. Computer disk crashes, while relatively rare, are still much more likely to occur then a house burning down. But that's not only thing that we need to worry about. Someone could accidentally, and so easily, slip a folder that contained photos into trash bin. Or our computer could get infected with a malicious virus that erases files.
When we show our developed photos to someone, they only get to see photos that we hand over to them. And developed photos we showed were behind a plastic sheet in an album, which offered basic protection from spills or children with sticky fingers. In digital world, how do we protect our photos? Anyone on computer can root through all of pictures, move them, rename them, and even delete them. Sticky finger problems have been replaced with more devastating delete key problem.
Fortunately, there are software solutions that address some or all of these issues. A must for digital camera enthusiasts is a digital photo album software package. If you think you don't have time to use software to organize your digital photos, opposite is more likely to be true: you are too busy to do without digital photo album software! The amount of time you will waste searching for photos is much greater than small learning curve needed to master basics of a good software package. And once you have basics, that's when software really starts to pay off in time savings.
There are many software packages out there for you to choose from, and most of them will satisfy your basic needs. You can usually try them out for free, and you should. Software that is right for one person may not be best solution for someone else. Once basics are covered, it comes down to personal preference. Which do you find easy to use? Which one offers added little features that you want to take advantage of? What will you be doing with your photo collection? Keep asking yourself these questions as you evaluate various software products.
Let's take a look at how digital photo album software can solve all issues raised earlier.
This is first issue that digital photo album software must address, and address well. If tools to organize your photos are complicated or awkward, then you're less likely to make effort to keep your collection in order.
Some of things you should look for include:
i) How does software deal with photos? Does if leave all of your photos scattered on your disk, or does it gather them up in one place? A good analogy for this is your house. Let's say that your house has become one big cluttered mess (I don't want to name names, but author has that problem). Furthermore, you are fed up with not being able to find any of your things, and you want to get organized. What would you rather do?