Monday, January 11, 2010

For the really important photos

Some, alright most, of our significant family photo moments these days involve our grandson, Jaiden. This past weekend was one of those moments; his first haircut. Where this isn't normally an issue for baby girls, the boys are usually introduced to a barber somewhere between a year to 2 years old. Trust me, they don't particularly like it.


Jaiden held up to this stranger, messing with his hair for what had to feel to him like forever, pretty well. Yes, he cried as he sat on his mother's lap, but calmed down when I came in. Yes, I have a way with him, he said, no the least bit proudly..... Actually, it was the fascination with the camera and the pictures being taken. I can tell he is determined to get his hands on one of our Nikons one of these days. My oldest son did that at around 19 months, but that is another story, for another time.

For this occasion in particular, there must be two of people present. One to hold the child, the other to grab the photos. My daughter thought she was going to be able to do it all herself. She also thought Jaiden was going to sit politely in the chair while all this strange activity went on. Now I have a flip video camera that takes high resolution stills, but, these are not just casual images that may just go up on the web or in emails. For us, these images deserve the same quality we deliver to clients.We are our own clients for any images we take of the family. Almost anything we capture might end up as a print, on a calendar, in a book, a framed wall collage, or even a full-size wall image. We shoot on the highest resolution available on our cameras. That way, when we edit, we have the most image data possible, and the full range of sizes available. The images go through the same workflow, backups and archival steps as client images. We want these photos available so that Jaiden's grandchildren can print them. Sure, the technology will change several times before that could happen, but at least they can convert the highest quality image we can make with our current technology.

You can do the same thing by following a few simple steps:
  1. Set the camera for the highest resolution setting it has. Sure, that will take less images per media card. The solution for that problem is to buy more cards, so you can take more photos. Memory cards are at bargain prices compared to just 1 year ago.
  2. Download these images to your computer at your earliest opportunity. Don't just leave them on the card, in the camera. Should you have the misfortune to lose the camera or corrupt the media in the camera, you could lose those moments forever.
  3. Make a backup copy of the images on your computer. Store a copy of them in another directory. Files or directories get corrupted, discs fail, things happen, bad things. External drives have become very inexpensive. Buying one to hold just your images is wonderfull protection against a hard drive crash on your computer.
  4. Make an archive copy of the images. Copy the files of the images you want to make sure you preserve to CDs. DVDs are okay, but try to find archival quality DVDs. Those discs are gold on both sides and will last far longer than those found at your average office supply.
  5. Make prints of the images, maybe even books. Printed photos last for generations; technology doesn't. You don't anything to enjoy a photo album other than a lap and some time.

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