I’m working through Tsh’s ebook One Bite at a Time, one project at a time. The tasks don’t have to be accomplished in any order, so feel free to pick up a copy of the ebook for only $5 and jump in at any time!
Of all the projects in the ebook, this was the one that gave me the most anxiety.
The concept of digital image management is the proverbial monkey on my back. I have not only read stories, but also have dear friends, who have had their hard drives crash in a blaze of glory. I’m told over and over again that it’s not a matter of if it will happen…but when.
Thousands of images, years of memories, and millions of megapixels gone forever. Or at least not to be recovered without a hefty sum. All those birthday parties, first steps, spaghetti sauce messes, and newborn toes irretrievable.
The beauty of digital photography is that you can click that little button on your camera 67 times in rapid succession to ensure that you get just the right shot of your firstborn blowing out a tiny candle.
But the very real danger of digital photography is how easy it is to be downright buried and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of files…not to mention the time and energy it can take to actually get photos printed out and into photo albums, or worse yet, colorfully organized scrapbooks.
And so, my desktop has been an eyesore. With folders labeled things like “Photos 1″, “Photos 2″, “Even More Photos”, “Pics from July 2011″…and so on. And every week for the past five YEARS I have proclaimed that I would sit down and actually deal with those folders…next week. Monday for sure. Okay, next month it is. Truly. Next month.
It’s worse than trying to start a diet regimen!
But now it was staring me square in the face. Here I was, having to write a post about organizing digital files from a book on simplifying life. My husband asked me if I was going to just lie to all of you and act like I had it all together, or if I was actually going to, you know, organize the files. This was serious.
Luckily, a new digital image service called ThisLife was on hand to help me out. I quickly installed the software, and plopped one (just ONE!) folder of photos into the program and walked away…terrified I was going to blow up my computer with the sheer volume of data I was about to transfer over.
Because it was all laid out so cleanly and simply, I was able to very quickly see which images were the best and worth keeping at a glance. In fact, in the matter of just a few minutes (yes, minutes) I was able to cull down this folder of 250+ pictures to only 78 pictures! Not to mention having them backed up on the ThisLife server and safe from the impending doom of my own computer.
Now, that’s all I thought I wanted a photo organization program to do for me. But ThisLife had so much more up its sleeve…things that made the idea of a back up way more appealing. Primarily, the facial recognition features and filing system:
I clicked one button, and without any more prompting, the software pulled each of my children’s faces out and asked me to label them…
I was even given the option to notify people I identified so that they can see photos they’ve been tagged in. In the case of my young children, the answer was no, but this is a much better alternative to me than uploading images publicly to Facebook…because let’s be honest: there are lots of pictures of me floating around that I would rather not have my old high school friends uploading onto FB…
Then I was given the opportunity to remove faces that the software identified incorrectly quickly and easily. This made me giggle a little bit because it would confuse my son and daughter a few times…which reinforced to me how much they look alike!
And with a few more clicks, I could add an activity (in this case it was a Halloween costume photo shoot), a specific location, and even add photos to a timeline which would tell a visual story of our year in my favorite images.
Now, I want you to know that I would not consider myself very tech savvy. And I’m not generally a fan of sitting in front of the computer longer than I need to (hence, the general disarray of all of these files in the first place!). I do have a blog, but I have yet to fall in love with Facebook and I can’t remember the last time I uploaded a photo there.
Normally, I’m not sure I’d give a program like this the time of day because it just overwhelms me to have one more technological thing to keep up with…but I have to tell you how absolutely impressed I am.
I was able to upload, back up, sift through, organize, and label a folder filled with over 250 photos in a matter of minutes. The whole thing was automated and took but a few clicks of the mouse to accomplish.
With ThisLife you can:
- Have all photos and videos ‘protected and organized’ in one private place.
- Share an account with your spouse and pool your family photos.
- Put all your photos and videos in your Library and show off your favorites on your Timeline.
- Visual search tool lets you find just the Moments you want from your collection of 20,000+ photos and videos. So you can instantly find the photos of ‘Katie swimming in the lake in Vermont.’
- Free iPhone and iPad apps let you take all your Moments with you.
Soon, my entire photo collection will be safe from the evil forces of The Crash…and be searchable. I cannot tell you how giddy that makes me (or my husband for that matter!).
Are your digital images a disaster waiting to happen? What is your system for organizing them?