Your Digital Legacy – Part 2. Catalogues

At the mere mention of an embarrassing moment a mother can disappear into a room and emerge within two minutes with a fifty-year-old photo of Johnny in the bath aged 3. Aunt Mary has even written on the back in pencil the day it was taken and where.

Compare that to finding the final edit of an image for a client that you took only two years ago on a hard drive of 40,000 images. The difference either way may be the structure of how you organise things.

In the film world, photography was expensive and cameras were difficult to use. Generally fewer photos were taken but yet there is a certain order in knowing that photos of Johnny at school are in the brown album on the top shelf.

In the digital world cameras are relatively cheap and taking photos is virtually free and easy, so it is easy for a keen photographer to shoot off thousands of photos in a year. However what you do to produce the same quality of images is certainly not free or easy and probably costs more than it did in the film days.

If you shoot say 10,000 images a year and produce different formats like Raw, JPG, TIFF and PSD files then how in ten years time are you going to manage your images?

You need to be able to search for images by date, the event that they were taken at, the type of image (landscape, nature, portrait etc), people (family, customers etc), keywords (urban, studio etc) and a rating so you can find the good ones.

Catalogue programmes such as Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture can be an efficient way to manage your images.

MORAL 2. Get an efficient catalogue system in place right from the start.

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Your Digital Legacy – Part 1. Paper Lasts

When King John signed the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215, copies were made and distributed throughout the land so that all could be made aware of the new legal order. Nearly 800 years later four of those original paper copies are still in existence.

Most families have photo albums of past generations around the place and it’s not uncommon to have photos dating back maybe a hundred years. Photos exist right back to the first Daguerreotype photographs taken in the 1830s.

In a digital world you need to store your images. This is probably the biggest single unsolved issue in digital photography. Unlike film though, a lot of people never actually print any of their images and keep them on computers or storage drives that only they know about.

One day when you are gone and someone is sorting through your things and they hold up that hard drive of your life’s work in photography, will they know what it is or the password to access it or will they be even able to plug it in to any computer that exists at the time.

Everyone knows what a photo album looks like and even if they didn’t, they could work it out in 10 seconds. Other than being lost through fire or a bitter relationship, an album could last forever. Your digital photography legacy however could become landfill.

MORAL 1. Print or make photo books of some of your best work.

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