Photography Lesson #8 Keeping Your Photos Safe

Photos are some of my most prized possessions, and after knowing friends who have lost precious photos from computers and hard drive crashes or fires in their homes I am SO paranoid about keeping my photos safe! I learned that a fail safe is to have three places to store your photos. A main hard drive, a back up hard drive and a location outside of your home just in case of something like a flood or fire (either on an online/cloud service or a hard drive stored in a safe deposit box or office or friends house)

My husband and I only use WD (Western Digital) Harddrives and G drives and we use smugmug.com to store both our personal and professional projects. I also make an effort to print a yearly album so I can actually appreciate the family photos I take.

PHOTO STORAGE COMPANIES:

  • smugmug.com– online photo storage – unlimited storage, you can store videos as well. You can share photo albums, password protect your photos, and hide albums as well **This is what I use and I LOVE it – minus not being able to store RAW photos. (Having a subscription to smugmug also gives you discount codes for other companies like blurb, peak design, and mix book.) Click here for a 14 day free trial. Here is a link to my page so you can see how I have organized my professional photos (my personal photos are hidden and password protected.)
  • Amazon prime– unlimited photo storage you can order photo albums – one photo per page and easy to use. You also still have access to photos if you cancel your prime membership.
  • Google photos**most recommended by others– backs up automatically, you don’t have to have a google phone, also easy to share photos with others
  • familysearch.org you can upload a small number of important photos for free
  • Backblaze (aka B2 cloud storage) automatic photo saving system- mirrors your storage system. (pricing depends on how much you are storing)
  • Forever– albums and storage, auto sync from your phone and facebook. (starting at $19 a month, or free for only 2 gigs of storage)
  • Zenfolio.com – another professional online storage company (I believe you can upload RAW photos) starts at $5 a month
  • Dropbox – online photo/video storage (you can store and share both Jpeg and RAW photos)

Printing photos for wall art or photo albums

  • Mpix.com is my favorite non-professional company for professional quality *it’s a sister company to Millers which is a great professional lab.
  • Costco is pretty great too
  • Walgreens is decent in a pinch
  • If you can avoid it, try not to use: Walmart, or Shutterfly their print quality and color is not great.
  • For professional photographers – I love White House Custom Color (WHCC) and CGpro/Prints for canvases

Photo Album Companies:

***Side note – I surveyed a BUNCH of people to see what their favorite album companies were, and this is what I learned:

BLURB *very recommended/most popular among people I talked to

Pros:

  • Great quality
  • coupon codes = affordable
  • lots of size and price options
  • You can print your blog
  • Someone recommended Proline Pearl paper because page max is 440
  • Great binding and paper quality

Cons: 

  • Photo quality not as good as the more expensive albums

COSTCO

CHATBOOKS *the least amount of effort needed

Pros

  • links to your Instagram or just an app on your phone
  • you don’t need to have Instagram to use
  • You can add additional photos from your camera roll (you don’t have to post all of them on Instagram)
  • You can edit the photo descriptions
  • You can use hashtags to create a book: ex- some people use a hashtag (#) for each child or each vacation and then collect the photos from just that hashtag.
  • Least maintenance and least time to create
  • *someone said they give each kid a hashtag for the year and they make individual books at the end of the year for their stockings – she said it takes just a few seconds and its ordered

Cons: 

  • significantly less than stellar print quality when compared to other companies 

HERITAGE MAKERS

   Pros – more options and creativity

   Cons -on the pricier side

MIXBOOK

   Pros- Great photo quality

   Cons- On the pricier side

PROJECT LIFE *Also very recommended but pricey

Pros: 

  • really nice quality
  • simple to use
  • great customer service
  • Free app you can use
  • You can print the pages you design separately and store them in binders
  • Some said it was the “luxury vehicle” of the photobook world

Cons:

  • $$$

SNAPFISH

SHUTTERFLY

Pros:

  • very affordable during sales (UP TO 50% OFF)
  • variety of album designs and other photo items
  • easy to use
  • they can design the album for you
  • -unlimited photo storage

Cons: 

  • max 1000 photos per album – big downside when I’m making yearly albums
  • Photo quality could be better (it’s not awful, but the pro-photographer in me isn’t a fan)

Journaling Apps:

  • Qeepsake – easy to use, they text and ask questions about your life/kids and you text back and add photos 

Video journaling

  • 1second video – app on your phone, you chose 1-3 seconds a day from video you take and it will mash it together. Music is provided for your videos.

Print your blog

  • Blog2print.com – wait for 30% off coupon
  • Blurb has easy options as well

Photography Lesson #2 Composition

Today we are learning about composing your subject and finding the best way to draw your viewers eye to the subject in your photo. These are techniques you can apply to your photos AND videos. Once you have mastered these rules, you can break them (which sounds strange.) Knowing WHICH of these rules and techniques to apply to your photos and WHEN to apply them will help you become a better photographer and videographer. The more you practice these rules, the more you’ll learn when to use them to accomplish the feeling and story you’re going for in your photograph.

I have added 4 great videos that explain different aspects of composition that are all very beneficial. (Be sure to at least watch the first and last videos)

The video below does a great job of explaining several rules of composition including: Rule of Thirds, Symmetry, Leading Lines, Leading Room, Depth, and Size of Subject.

This video shares some great examples of how to fix composition mistakes you might not realizing what you’re making and adds to the information you learned in the video above.

The video below talks more about leading lines. You’ll notice Matti is referring to videography, but like I said above, the concepts are interchangeable between the two.

The following video shows you how to use framing WITHIN your photo. This technique is a little more tricky to master but it’s another great way to draw your eye to your subject.

You’ll find that photography is basically a LOT of pretty simple techniques that all build upon each other. This is why it is so important to PRACTICE!!!

Your assignment for today is to get your camera out and practice different composition techniques. (I’ll share my examples of doing this on my Facebook and Instagram pages.) Don’t forget to share the photos you take on Instagram #TCphotoHW, comment on my facebook posts or DM me.