When digital photos first appeared on the scene in the early 2000s, many people were very reluctant to give up their old shoeboxes full of thousands of print photographs. Even though they were taking up space all over the house, years and years of history lay gathering dust in those boxes. No one ever really looked at them, but at least they were physically there.
When digital arrived, it was the specter of “easy come, easy go” that frightened people the most. “Keep my photos and my memories on my computer, where they could be erased with the stroke of a key? Horrifying!”
But things have changed, and now you can do lots of great things with your digital photographs that were never possible with print photographs. We have a few great ideas for using those digital images to preserve your memories forever. So banish the shoe boxes to storage and get creative!
Back Up, Back Up, Back Up
Before you do anything with your digital photographs, take the time to back up your images. We can’t stress this enough. Computers die. Hard drives blow up. DVDs disappear into the cracks of the couch never to be heard from again.
So, make sure that copies of your digital images are stored in at least two places, if not three. Keep them on your computer, and copy them to a DVD. And for good measure, find a good backup site in the cloud, or purchase a fairly inexpensive external hard drive and store them all there. You could even take the step of keeping the external drive in an offsite, climate-controlled storage facility (like LifeStorage!) or even a safety deposit box if you want to make sure your images go the distance.
Show Off with a Digital Frame
What better way to get your treasured photos out of the computer and into your living room or office cubicle than a digital frame? Digital frames have really taken off in popularity, and their quality and design appeal have vastly improved since they were first introduced a number of years ago.
Digital photo frames use built-in memory or a memory card to store digital photos, which they then play back as a slideshow. Some can play short clips of video. Others even have Internet connectivity, so you can update them remotely. Digital photo frames are great gifts for family members who don’t have computers or Internet connections, but who’d like to have access to current family digital photos. In many frames, you can even add music so that the photos will scroll along with your favorite tunes.
If you haven’t looked into a digital frame lately, now’s the time. We recommend an 8×10 size, as they make a statement in your home and can become a decorating focal point as the photos cycle through.
Leverage Your Electronic Gadgets
iPods, iPhones, iPads, iTouch, BlackBerries, Droids, smartphones and all those hand-held gadgets can become instant photo wallets. Even your computer and television can become a rolling slideshow of photos.
Most electronic devices have screen saver or photo sharing options that you can set to let your photos scroll through either in the background or on demand. Noodle around in your “settings” menu and you’re sure to find the photo options.
You may also be able to use a wired or wireless network in your home to send digital photos from a computer to your home entertainment system, so you can watch slideshows of your photos on a TV. Take a look at what Crutchfield has to offer in whole-house entertainment.
Create a Digital Photo Memory Book
For those of you who still like to print, touch, and feel your photographs, there are many online resources these days for creating beautiful memory books, cards, and more with digital images. These aren’t your garden-variety scrapbooks; these are full-color, fully bound, hardcover books that feature your chosen photographs digitally reproduced on the pages.
Apple‘s iPhoto program, Shutterfly.com, and Picaboo.com have great programs for creating books, greeting cards, calendars and more. The templates are all set up, and all you have to do is drag your photos into the placeholders on the template, then add captions. It’s like creating your own electronic photo album. Then, you simply follow the instructions to upload the completed template the company’s web site, and in a few days they send you your full-color book, calendar, note card, or other keepsake.
Let’s face it, the days of shoes boxes full of photos that no one ever looks at are over. So back up your digital photos, send the originals to LifeStorage, and start getting creative with how you can easily display all those great images clogging up your hard drive!