I know many of us constantly take pictures via digital cameras, iphones, SLRs, video cameras, flip devices... the list is endless. These days, clicking a picture is like snapping your fingers. The challenging part is what to do with memory sticks filled with adorable, incredible, cherished moments caught on camera.
Sharing Pictures & Videos
My system is not perfect, but I try to be diligent about uploading, organizing, storing and sharing media. Once the pictures are on my computer, I created folders in iPhoto (Mac software) delineating each major event. For example, "Summer 2012" or "Mexico Trip, March 2013" - from there, its easy to share photos on facebook with a simple click of the button in iPhoto. However, if you don't want to share some or all photos on facebook, but do want to share them with a group of people, the best option I've found is Picasa, Google's image sharing program which is free and pretty user friendly. You can adjust your privacy settings so they are not visible to just anyone on the internet, but only accessible to those with the link (which you can send via email).
Organizing & Printing Pictures
Having a Mac really helps me to stay organized and up to date with my pictures (although I am currently falling behind!) Whenever I create a major folder in iPhoto, I try to order pictures on a Mac Photobook. Mac makes this so easy to do with a simple click of the button that creates the book, allows you to choose a basic layout, and it will even populate the pictures for you if you are not picky about the particular layout. This is so key for me because I can hardly find the time an energy to order pictures via a photo book, and I definitely can't find the time to lay them out perfectly. If you do care about the particular layout, you can specify every detail of your photobook! For me, it's just enough to have placed the pictures in a book and push order :) The books can be hard or soft, thick or thin, and range from about $25-75. This program also allows you to order cards and prints! If you don't have a mac, you can use a service like Shutterfly or Mixbook to create similar books, order prints & enlargements, and photo gifts. Both are extremely user friendly, fun to use, and well-priced. While I'd like to print every picture I've taken, I know that's not realistic, and I try to just print the best ones as part of books. I always make books out of trips, and big events like Little J's 2nd Birthday. These make such great gifts too.
Organizing & Burning Videos
Videos are a lot more challenging to store and utilize. I find myself taking so many great video clips of my daughter, or on vacation, but storing them in a way that they will actually be found & seen is more difficult. The best way to preserve short video clips of the same theme are via iMovie, another Mac program that makes short movie projects (if I can do it, you can do it) that you can set to music, add still images, and other fun features. Again, this is a time consuming project, so I try to just make iMovies for big trips and big events. I find that it is the best way to watch video clips, or the best portions of a longer video. Without these mini movies, I fear our videos would just sit in a storage drive without anyone actually ever accessing them! I do store and organize all my videos to allow for easy access, but I only pick the best and most important videos to make mini movies with. Here are a few examples of my favorite videos that I will always cherish. This romantic video was a Vday gift for hubby, and this one was from our trip to Whistler. These are the kind of videos that I will burn to DVD (via iDVD, also by Mac) and store in the living room along with other home videos :) The rest of the videos just live in my external hard drive, hoping to get a few views from time to time.
Additionally, I am strict about transferring pictures and videos to my incredible back up drive which remains connected to my computer. This drive has an amazing storage capacity of 1 TB (many great options here), and allows me to create folders that are easy to drag from my computer and drop into this drive. I have it organized first by type of media (videos, pictures, etc) by year, and major life events. I have it broken down into categories like Trips, Family Events, Weddings, Little J's First Year and Miscellaneous. This last catch-all folder, is for daily, random, fun pictures that don't fall into a major category, and are labeled with timelines like Fall 2010. I have also set up daily backups of my hard drive (via Mac's Time Machine software) for the extra security.
How do you organize and share your favorite pics and videos? I'd love to hear about other programs, software or websites that I'm missing!