Sending your kids off to camp this summer and sending a camera along with them? When they get home, it will likely be up to you to help organize these and other summer-activity photos for making prints, for downloading on to an iPad or iPod, for creating photo books and albums.
Before you download the images, decide on a system of organization that you can remember, deal with and execute easily so that you can locate your images when you want them. Some folks like to keep all their images -- it can be hard to let go after having a really great experience -- some cull to their favorites. Programs like Apple’s iPhoto or Adobe’s Photoshop Elements simplify that process.
For this article, we’ll focus on iPhoto and Apple’s more advanced photo-organizing and editing software, Aperture. In both, you can create something called a Smart Album. Based on criteria that you set, the program automatically pulls images together to create an album. From there it’s pretty simple for you to create printed books and albums.
Typically, you will rate your images based on how good they are -- Is the composition strong? Is what I want in focus? Is the exposure good? This changes a bit when rating a child’s images. Sit with your child and rate them in relationship to your child’s emotional attachment or the importance of what is shown in the picture rather than how "good" the picture is. Include as many 3 or even 1 star images as it takes to flesh out the story your child wants to share.
Apple’s Aperture makes it incredibly simple to add keywords and other data as you import images, and to give them all the same identifying title, like Sam at Camp, July 2012. These key words help you to find and sort images.
Both Aperture and iPhoto have Face Recognition. As you identify faces, the program will search through all the faces in your photographs. So, if your child had a favorite camp counselor, once you’ve identified that face in a few photographs, the program can begin to recognize that face and sort those images to one album.
To decide which photo organizing program will work best for you, get some hands-on experience if you can. Have a friend show you how they do it, or take a class. With a small investment of time and money, you’ll save yourself both time and frustration down the road.
To wrap up, here’s a basic workflow:
1) Come up with a system.
2) Pick a workflow that you’ll stick to and carry out.
3) Keep it simple or it won’t get done.
4) Carry it through and then back it all up.
Begin now, with the photographs from camp that just happened and continue to use your system with images from any new summer event. As you do, slowly address any backlog of photos that you have. The essential wisdom of photo-organizing? Don’t put it off. Without organizing it’s hard to enjoy your images. Start now. You’ll be glad you did.
This article was written with the expert assistance of Katherine Milledge, F-11 Photo’s Aperture/ Photoshop Elements instructor and Aloha Williams