Digital Storage Devices
Stealing Your Business Pictures?
about the last time you looked for a picture at work. Was it easy to
find? Probably not. Despite the increasing amount of digital cameras
sold, few people are uploading and storing these photos in a way
that’s organized and accessible. In the workplace, digital pictures
are used for everything, from brochures to websites, headshots to
media kits. Whether the pictures are new or old, they are an important
part of doing business today. Having the proper storage for your
pictures is a necessity.
Billions of Digital
Pictures Lost: This year
more than 24 billion images will be snapped, up from 18 billion in
2005 – but if the past is any indication of the future, almost all
of these pictures will remain on a digital storage device. Therein
lays the problem. The truth is, after almost a decade with digital
cameras, as many as 50 billion photographs may be AWOL – AWOL on
lost memory sticks, corrupted hard drives, misplaced CDs, or inside
storage devices that have sputtered out and are now lifeless.
myth of digital picture taking is that electronic storage is a good
thing for photographs. Not true. The expected life of a CD or a DVD
under totally ideal conditions is a measly 60 years and while you get
a more from a memory stick, how often have you lost one? As old
fashioned it may seem, a plain-vanilla, processed print on
professional paper is the surest way to preserve your memories for
generations to come. Why is that? Photo papers have a shelf life of
more than 108 years – and, however cluttered they make a desk
drawer, they’re a lot harder to loose. So, if digital storage
devices have been stealing your pictures, its time to do something
about it. It’s time to start making permanent prints.
Step 1: Find Your Photographs:
all of those wafer thin memory sticks and load them into your
computer. If you don’t have a stick drive, go to your local
electronics store and buy any of the several available plug-and-play
external drives. They’ll cost less than $100 and fit into your USB
port. Now, load your hard drive, sort them all out, find the best,
ignore the rest, and get ready to print.
Step 2. Select a Processor:
you no longer have a roll of film you still want good looking prints.
By that I mean, no pixilation, bright colors, vibrant whites and solid
blacks. But how? Do I make
a CD and haul myself up to the local drugstore or do I click on a web
site somewhere on the Internet and upload my treasures to a nameless,
faceless place with some cute little name? Or, for heavens sake, do I
just print them at home? There are pluses and minuses to each.
it seems like there’s a print processing kiosk everywhere you go –
and the nice thing is, they’ll all give you an excellent print,
although they do have limitations. You can only make a print as large
as the width of the roll of paper inside the machine which is usually
a print only as large as an 8”X10” (after that, you’re out of
luck). It can be awkward to work on your photos while others are in
line behind you. Alternatively, Wal-Mart and Walgreens, among others,
have launched web sites that let you upload your pictures from your
home and pick them up later. Not a bad idea if you want privacy.
Home Printing: Digital
cameras have given consumers unprecedented control over their
photographs but the industry has failed miserably when it comes to
educating consumers about the nuances of print processing. For
instance, as tempting as it is to use your home printer, most people
fail to realize that a rich, film-quality photographic print is still
something that starts in a darkroom (no kidding!) and takes as much as
an hour of calibrations before the print machine makes the emulsions
on the papers print a real “red” when your photo has a real red.
However, the absolute convenience of home printing more than offsets
the quality of the colors, which for some casual photographers are not
that important anyway.
Online Web sites: Online web
sites such as Snapfish and Shutterfly and Myphotopipe let you do it
all from your desktop. You upload your photograph, select a print
size, enter your credit card number and the prints arrive at your
doorstep in a matter of days. Unfortunately, not all online sites are
the same. Many sites are just marketing vehicles and don’t actually
print your photographs. Instead, they send your pictures to a
centralized “factory” and grind them out. Some web sites are
oriented towards gifts, others are volume discounters, and a few offer
professional processing which includes hand inspections. Ask a few
questions before you select yours.
Be sure you know what
you’re getting: According
to statistics compiled from customers using online services, one of
the most frequent mistakes a consumer makes is to confuse matte and
glossy. Matte should probably be renamed “dull,” because the
finish is “flat.” Glossy is still, well, glossy.
is the swimmer who has no hands. No matter how you do the math, when
you take a standard 4X6” image and enlarge to 8X10” you’re going
to loose two inches. Thankfully, there’s a solution to this, which
is called print-to-fit. Print-to-fit means your entire photograph will
“float” on the paper. Many
online services offer this option but remember to tell them if you
want the white areas trimmed off (most do it for free).
the most confusing thing is the pixel. Why anyone decided to measured
photo sizes by pixels instead of inches or millimeters is a mystery to
me but at the end of the day, the thing to remember is this – when
you take a photograph, don’t take any chances. Shoot it big and save
it big. When you look back and discover you have the world’s
greatest shot, you want to be at least 99.99% sure that it can be
blown up into a beautiful enlargement.
No matter what you’re using these pictures for, it’s important to have
the proper storage to preserve them so future generations will have
the opportunity to access and utilize the power of your images.
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