Tips for Protecting your Digital Photos

Let’s get real for a second. You should know by now that we encourage printing as the best way to enjoy your photos long term. However, we realize that with the volume of photos created these days, it would be physically impossible to print every photo without needing to rent a storage unit.

This means that most photos live only in one place - your hard drive. That is, if you remembered to take them off of your phone or camera at all.

How do you keep them safe? and what are we keeping them safe from? 

 Whether it's the first dance, or first steps, we all have photos we want to keep forever!

Whether it's the first dance, or first steps, we all have photos we want to keep forever!

Common ways people lose digital files, and a few possible solutions: 

1. Hard drive failure or file corruption

All drives fail eventually, so having things stored in just one place is risky. Luckily, the solution is pretty simple... have multiple copies. 

Solution: Ask your favorite tech guru to set up a RAID backup for you, use Time Machine on a portable drive if you're an Apple user, or keep photos on your phone and computer.

2. Theft, loss, fire, flood damage or other physical disappearance

This can only be prevented by having an offsite copy of your files. Offsite can be cloud based, at the office, or in your mom’s basement... basically anywhere that is physically separate from where your main drive lives.

Syncing to an offsite NAS is how we do this, but cloud storage would work for the average family photo collection. Check out BackBlaze, Dropbox or Resilio Sync for these services.

3. Overwriting a file or accidental deletion

The best way to avoid this happening is to have a good organization system. Do it any way that makes you happy, as long as you are consistent. And then, when you know your strategy, make sure someone else could figure it out. IE: If you aren’t available to ask, can your spouse or child find a photo they are looking for? 

TIP: Utilizing an 8 digit date structure makes sure every file name is unique. Ex: 20180101 for January 1st, 2018. Then you can choose to add a description or sequence number to further delineate your files. 

Bonus Tip: Use Folders to organize by like category. Whether that is event, person, location, theme, or whatever you choose. Folders are your friends.

 My personal photos are organized by date, then subject. Using the 8 digit date structure keeps everything in chronological order

My personal photos are organized by date, then subject. Using the 8 digit date structure keeps everything in chronological order

Conclusion

There are many ways to lose files, but there are also many ways to keep them safe. If photos are valuable to you, protect them! Print your favorites, put them on the wall or in a book that you can pass down. In the future, no one is going to want your CD's or thumb drives, so print the important photos. And the ones you just want to have on your screen saver? Stick them in the cloud just in case something bad should happen.

If you have more tips, feel free to add them in the comments! If this helped you, we'd love to know. Thanks for being here!
-Lori

Spotlight on Wood Prints: Rochester NY Photographers

If you don't know it by now, we wholeheartedly believe in printing your pictures. We believe that prints outlast digital files, and become priceless heirlooms to future our generations.

We love adding new items to our ever growing catalog to display your memories. We have canvas, framed prints, metal for the modern artist and now we also offer wood prints.

They are for someone who prefers a natural look, as the image is printed directly on real maple wood. The grain from the wood comes through on the lighter areas which will give it a warm feel.

No two wood prints will ever be the same because of the nature of the maple wood printing process. So it's great for someone looking for something unique!

Tangible printed photographs, whether on your wall or in a book create a different feeling of happiness than of those left in a digital world. If you need help deciding what to do with your photographs, call us. We're always here to provide you with ideas, and give you the perfect piece to smile about.

~ Erin

 

 

This is why we shoot RAW... always.

Some photographers shoot RAW. Some shoot JPG. Some hop back and forth depending on the day/job/requirements.

If this is gibberish to you, I'm going to show you the difference right now. But first, let me explain the situation. 

My husband and I were on a remote hiking trail in Hawaii. 4,000+ miles by plane, an hour of driving, and then 6 hours of strenuous backpacking to get to this spot. The trail was narrow, muddy and shaded by trees. At the head of the valley was the Hanakoa Falls that I had been dreaming about for days... weeks maybe. It was my goal to swim at that waterfall, come hell or high water.

We made it there, and into the icy water I went. My husband was on shore to take the photo, but as he grabbed the camera it started to rain, which quickly turned into a downpour. He pressed the shutter without a chance to glance at the settings, which I had set before the clouds came over us. The resulting image on the left is what we got... and as you see, it is incredibly underexposed.

We scrambled to get the camera and our towels under cover, but the rain didn't pass. It continued on for the rest of the night. 

This moment -- me swimming at the base of a 440 foot waterfall... by myself... in the rain... 4,000+ miles from home-- almost didn't turn out. This is one of the only photos we have from what is honestly the highlight of the entire trip!  A once-in-a-lifetime kind of moment, if you will.

But when I got home, I used Lightroom plus that RAW file, and was able to bump it up 3.15 stops to get the image on the right. 

 Swimming in Hanakoa Falls

Swimming in Hanakoa Falls

This right here is why I will always shoot RAW. Because there are moments too important to lose to a bad camera setting, and this memory is priceless.

If this image had been shot JPG, it would have been basically useless and ruined. 

In our line of work, we find ourselves quite often capturing once-in-a-lifetime-moments. So rest assured, we will protect your memories.

Cheers,
Lori

The KonMari Method for Pictures: Rochester NY Photographers

It started with Lori - Over the course of the past year she has been in a constant state of decluttering. She followed along the lessons from the book below.

She inspired me to get my own photographs (and well, my life) better organized. So I've also been in the process of getting my own little house, a little less cluttered. With a two year old, their toys, and boxes of hand me down clothes piling up, things get more cluttered with every passing day. The struggle is real.

In the end, the biggest hurdle for both of us has been what to do with the boxes of pictures that were scattered all over the house. 

I am my family's historian.  I know that as time passes, I will inherit even more photographs from family. And that's ok with me.

Except, I already had a ridiculous amount of old photo albums, most of which made no sense. When I was younger I would just take prints I had and stick them all in one book randomly. On the same page of a cheap plastic album, I would put my own baby pictures alongside high school pictures (bad fashion and all).

So clearly, there was work to do. Someday I'll be leaving all of my history in the hands of my son and I can't leave that it in shambles.

Here's some of what I did to cleanup and a few tips that might help you with your own photo organization:

  • Gather. Start by collecting all of the pictures you find (from every room) and put them in one location.
  • Get photo boxes. Or something that works for you. My preference was the basic storage boxes (like these) you find at any craft store.
  • Start sorting. Use as simple or complex a timeline as you wish. Personally, I kept it simple as there were a lot of photos I couldn't be sure of their dates. So I sorted by "childhood, high school, college, etc."
  • Consolidate. If you can. I did, mostly for space reasons. I removed photos from old torn apart albums with the sticky plastic pages, and sorted them into boxes. I discarded photos that were too blurry, duplicates, or if they were people I just didn't remember. I kept any family pictures, ones that held special memories, or told a story about who I was. My thought process was simple: If I can't explain why that photo is important to my son, is that particular image worth keeping?
  • Don't dwell. So what happens if you just can't bring yourself to get rid of anything at all? Just organize them and move on. You'll drive yourself crazy wondering what to keep and what to toss. Don't let it get to that.
  • In my world, done is most of the time better than perfect. My kids won't care if I was 11 or 12 or 14 in any particular series of photos. So if you can set aside any potential OCDs, it will go faster than you think.

My final tip? Take your time, take breaks and enjoy the process. I found that it was actually fun to go through them, reliving moments and fondly remembering days gone by.

So whatever your process is, enjoy it, because this is your life - literally.

~ Erin

How to plan a non-traditional Honeymoon

While I love hearing about your wedding plans, I have to admit... I may actually like hearing about your honeymoon plans more! While there is nothing wrong with a resort honeymoon, I have some tips if you are looking to do something a little outside the box.

 Croatia

Croatia

 

Step 1: Decide what type of trip you want. Do you want an all-inclusive resort where you don't have to think for a week? If this is the case, find a travel agent and boom your done. Or do you want to travel lightly and slowly meeting lots of people along the way?  If so, read on.

Step 2: Choose a destination! Stuck? Pick your destination based on the time of year, or pick your time to travel based on the destination. Consider the weather, (local) holidays, and whether or not it will be "tourist season". 

This website is very helpful: www.weather2travel.com

 Ireland

Ireland

Step 3: Consider staying at AirBNBs for an easy way to meet locals. We traveled all through New Zealand using AirBNB and loved it! Our hosts were friendly as well as knowledgable about things to do in the area and local history. Imagine learning about the Christchurch earthquake from someone who lived through it! (Check.)

Step 4: Enjoy the ride! Allow yourself to feel like a little kid and soak it all in. Every second is precious. (This is true every day, but just feels heightened on vacation.)

Step 5: Record the best parts. Whether you are a writer, or GoPro fanatic, your honeymoon is special. Find a way to remember what you are feeling. Take photos that document your experience, or journal about the sweet things that make you love your spouse.  Then you can relive it all when you are back home on a rainy day.

For extra points: Turn off notifications on your phone. You may be tempted to update your social media platforms, but other than letting your mom know you are alive, it's not necessary. Go have an experience, make out with your spouse in a train station, stare at the clouds/trees/animals in another state or country. By not telling everyone your play by play in the moment, you'll have stories to share when you get home!

For extra EXTRA points: Consider a volunteer trip. There are many companies that offer itineraries abroad which include some volunteering as well as vacationing. If you are interested, check out: Earthwatch, V2 Volunteers, or Discover Corps.

So since I daydream of moonlighting as a travel planner, here is where I have been. If you are traveling to any of these places, ask me questions! I am an open book.

 New Zealand

New Zealand

-New Zealand: my favorite place on Earth. Tropical beaches, glaciers, fjords, adventure sports, and more, and that's just the South Island. 

-Croatia: I spent 3 months here for my study abroad. I am very familiar with Dubrovnik and the surrounding area. Go in May, before the crowds arrive. 

-Ireland: The place to go for an epic road trip. Ask Erin :) 

-USA: We have a lot to explore right here inside our borders. I'm happy to discuss a cross-country road trip, Alaska, or even Hawaii when I get back.

So, where are you going or where have you been? Are you an expert on any destinations? Let me know in the comments-- I may call on you for advice about our next trip!

Safe travels!
Lori

 Alaska

Alaska

Lori & Erin Present: "Lori and Erin, A Partnership!"

I think it's safe to speak for both of us when I say that speaking in front of an audience has never really been a lifetime dream of ours. We spend our time behind the camera, blending in as much as possible and letting our clients shine in their moments and photographs.

But recently, we've had the opportunity to talk with other photographers in the area about who we are, and how our partnership came to be. We also gave out some helpful tips to others who might be starting on their own path into a photography partnership.

We've now had the privilege to speak her at The Grand to the Greater Rochester Professional Photographers as well as in Syracuse to the Central Chapter of PPSNYS. We even had a Skype in attendee who wanted to join us, but was 3 hours away with her infant son. It was such a treat!

I don't think we're running away for the spotlight any time soon, but it was a good experience to have and we got to meet new faces as well as catch up with "old" ones along the way.

~ Erin

 Courtesy of  Hayes Photography

Courtesy of Hayes Photography

 Courtesy of  Kelvin Ringold

Courtesy of Kelvin Ringold

Photo Tip: Alternatives to Using your Camera Phone Flash

You are out with your family, and it’s dark. Maybe you are in a restaurant or stargazing in the backyard, and you want to remember this moment. But alas, all you have is your phone. You know you need light, but if you turn on the camera phone flash it’ll wash everyone out! What to do?

Here's a tip to try:

Step 1: Turn off the camera phone flash! Please!

Step 2: Grab a flash light (or a friends phone in flashlight mode), and place it about a foot to the right or left of the camera, pointed at your amazing family.

Step 3: Before you ask them to look at you and smile, take a test shot. This serves 2 purposes: One, you can make adjustments if you need to and two, you have a candid image of everyone in the moment.

Why?

A simple guideline is to get the light away from the lens. You’ll notice professionals use flash brackets, bounce light off the walls or using light stands. The major flaw with cell phone photography is that the flash is super close to the lens. This creates that hazy, deer in the headlights feel. I mean, if that’s your thing, go for it! Otherwise, give this a try!

  Camera Phone Shot with the Flash On: The whole scene is washed out and people have demon eyes.

Camera Phone Shot with the Flash On: The whole scene is washed out and people have demon eyes.

  Using an off Camera Light - much better exposure and faces are well lit! Bonus, NO demon eyes!

Using an off Camera Light - much better exposure and faces are well lit! Bonus, NO demon eyes!


Tip #1 : Get on their Level!

Our goal is to help you treasure your family through photography. While we want to be the ones capturing your most precious memories, we know that we can't be with you every day. So, we are starting a new series of monthly photo tips to help you take better photos when we are not around. Here is the first installment! Make sure you never miss a Tip by signing up for our Monthly E-Newsletter here.


Our first tip is for grandparents and parents, or anyone who likes to photograph little people:

Get down on the ground with them!

 This image of Erin's son, Lucas, is really engaging because it is shot at eye level and he is looking right into the camera – which makes it look like he is looking right at you, the viewer!

This image of Erin's son, Lucas, is really engaging because it is shot at eye level and he is looking right into the camera – which makes it look like he is looking right at you, the viewer!

If you are photographing children, crouch down or sit down so you can be eye level with them before you click the shutter. Here's why:

  • They will be more engaged
  • Body proportions will be more accurate
  • You will fill more of the frame

This is a really simple tip to apply. Your choice of camera or lens doesn't matter. All you need to do is:

  • Squat, crouch, or bend your knees until you are eye level with your favorite little person
  • Bad knees? Try sitting on a couch or stool to get to the right height.
  • Wait for that perfect giggle, and snap away!

Bonus: this also applies if you are photographing your pet!

 This image shows Lucas surrounded by his toys, but he is less interested in looking up at the camera, he looks small in the space and it is not nearly as engaging as the first image.

This image shows Lucas surrounded by his toys, but he is less interested in looking up at the camera, he looks small in the space and it is not nearly as engaging as the first image.

I hope you enjoyed our first tip! Try it out, and share your results with us on our Facebook page! And don't forget to sign up for our Newsletter so you don't miss the next tip! And if you have a question, please let us know in the comments.

Thanks for being here!
Lori