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Save digital photos for future reference
Using a digital camera to take pictures is a relatively easy task, but deciding what to do with them afterwards is another matter.
Camera memory cards can hold hundreds of images, far more than the number that can be displayed on the refrigerator and around the house. Most people keep images on their computers, so it’s important to organize and identify the images for long-term reference.
If you have ever sifted through old family albums and wondered about the unidentified people in the pictures, you have a sense of how future generations may view your digital photos. If you are not careful, the only thing your grandchildren will have is a digital image that may not be viewable on the media of the day.
To preserve your family’s photos, first take them off of the camera either with a memory card reader and USB cable or a USB cable alone. To use a memory card reader, connect the reader to the computer with a USB cable. When you insert the memory card into the reader, the computer should prompt you to download the photos. Memory card readers usually cost around $10.
Most cameras come with a USB cable that connects the camera directly to the computer. Once the camera is turned on, press the download button to begin the download process.
Opinions differ over whether memory cards or USB cables are more effective. Some people believe memory card readers transfer photos faster than the USB cable alone. Others believe that using the memory card reader prevents wear and tear on the camera. For me, it’s simply a matter of what I can find on my desk. I have several black cables on my desk, but my memory card reader happens to be purple. I leave it plugged in all the time and put the camera’s memory card in it to download photos.
Also remember that if your camera comes with software, you must install the software first. Newer computers will detect the camera or card reader automatically, but older computers may not. Also, if you are trying to get photos from a smart phone to your computer, the easiest option is to e-mail the photos to yourself. On most phones, the way to do that is to select the photo, then Share, then Email.
Download photos to the My Documents/My Pictures folder on your computer. Create subfolders under My Pictures with a descriptive name for the images. For example, under My Pictures create a new folder by left-clicking File/New/Folder. Enter a name for the folder, such as “Family Vacation 2011,” and press Enter.
After you save the photos to the appropriate folder, notice that each image is titled IMG_001 and so forth. If you would like to change the name of the photo, open the folder that contains the photos. Left-click Edit/Select All (or press the control key and the letter A at the same time to select all). Each of the images will be highlighted in blue. Right-click on one of the images and left-click Rename. If you type in Family Vacation 11, the pictures will be labeled as Family Vacation 11 (1), and so on.
Any time you take a photo, make sure that the camera is set to the highest resolution. This helps ensure that you get a crisp, clear image.
Unfortunately, e-mailing a high-resolution photo can take a long time to upload and even longer to open. When e-mailing a picture, make sure to resize it. Right-click on the image; in the pop-up window, left-click Resize. Select the resolution size (usually medium or 800x600) and left-click OK. A new image is created with the same name and the word “medium” underneath it. This is the image you should upload when sharing photos with family members and friends.
Proper management of photos will make it easier to sort through them later on.
You still need to identify who is in the pictures, and for that you can use facial recognition software. I’ll cover that in my next column.