By Jane Bokun
As grandparents, or grand anything, (in my case it’s aunt), we know the pictures we take are precious and may never come again. It’s true every shy half-smile we catch of our young ones, or even perfect faces covered in pasta sauce, make us feel truly connected – no matter where we live.
As heady as those connected moments as soon as we take our photos, they’re going to neverland in the backs of our phones. I never take them out and I want to start. With the aid of today’s apps and devices, we can do more.
If you haven’t done it, back up your computer or smartphone photos. It’s the most important thing you can do to make sure you can always enjoy your images. Luckily, there’s a painless way to back up your photos, and that’s to set up automatic backups. To do that you can go to settings and click on iCloud backup (http;//www.icloud.com). Then turn it on in settings. In the long-term, it’s always best to back up your files and photos.
Besides the iCloud, there are free solutions to back up your pictures including Google Photos for Android or iOS and Amazon Prime Unlimited Photo Storage via the Amazon Photos app. Options with small subscription fees include Dropbox.
If you’re not thinking about messing around with apps there are devices where you don’t have to download anything. A top device for many people is the Photo Stick (www.photostick.com). It works with any phone and can save up to 60,000 photos & videos (8G, 64G, 128 GB). Best for us grands, its easy-to-use and there’s no software or app to install. It also automatically backs up thousands of photos and organizes them for you. Easiest, it’s basically a USB Flash Drive and costs about $35. Lastly, if you want to store your photos on your computer, connect your smartphone to your PC with a Lightning Connector or mini-USB cord.
After you’ve backed up your precious pics, it matters what device you’ve used to take your pictures. Some people who use actual cameras such as the Canon, most likely store photos on disks. But, if you use your Android smartphone or iPhone camera as your only camera, it’s so easy to snap a photo and forget it. Recently, my sister-in-law sent me the cutest picture of myself and her puppy and I never even realized I was in any photos with her dog. Now, I’m obsessed with a photo I never even knew I took and there could be thousands more. I should also mention that I rarely take a good picture.
There are things you can do to save your pictures until you want to take them out and look at them again.
“Collecting photos over time is like a digital diary,” says phone enthusiast Brooke Pospychala, a lively Chicagoan with thousands of pictures. “I love that I can look at a photograph and be transcended to that moment in time that I may have forgotten about otherwise.”
After everything is backed up, there is clean-up for your photos. Find your pictures wherever they are all located on your camera. Do they all get saved to a photo file? That’s great, go to that file and delete the ones you don’t want, or that are grainy, or don’t picture you in the fabulous light you want. It’s like cleaning up your junk drawer. You’re going to feel like a new, well organized human being. If you’ve got birthday party, graduation party or any parties, keep just a few of those photos.
For those of you who are afraid to try new things. Just do it and then you can brag about it. For example, downloading apps. This is the dirty secret of many of us in our sixties. My 66-year-old sister who works in tech is afraid to download an app.
“I don’t know how to do that,” she always says.
I know her knowledge is limited because I bought her a Google Nest to listen to music and hear the weather although it still sits in the box. It only required an app and she won’t download it.
Here’s how anyone can download an app:
- Using an Android phone, you can first open Google Play, or, the Play Store app. Then, find the name of the app you want. When you find it, click install.
- With an iPhone, downloading an app is much the same process. You can google the name of the app, or click on the App Store icon, download the app and click install.
You can use an app called Flickr (http://www.flickr.com) which lets you share and host hundreds of your photos. Best of all, it’s free. The app, Purrge (http://www.purrge.com), lets you delete lots of photos in no time at all. It’s faster and there are a lot less steps. It does have a fee.
Now, you’re really ready to save your precious pics for all time, or the next family group text. My brother commemorates birthdays by sending each family member a collage of photos he has taken of them throughout the years. I thought, “what a lot of work.” Now, I realize it’s a lovely way to pay tribute to chubby-cheeked grandkids who are now teenagers, or those you love.
Now that you’ve got a handle on saving and collecting your photos you can start thinking about creating albums or archives of pictures you can share with others. There’s a device now, called Bevy (by Lineage Labs) that collects your digital photos and organizes them saving you the time. It’s both a device and a service that collects photos from your family that can be stored in one place.
It might be a lot to learn, but it’s worth it. For some photo collectors, it’s a labor of love.