?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Photo Albums

I have a quandary. (Or am I *in* a quandary? Is there a difference)? I'm trying to figure out what to do with all my photos, in terms of presentation. The traditional solution would be to put them in a photo album, and I've done some of that over the years. (In fact, I have a lot of half-finished photo albums, which is really quite annoying, but let's ignore that for now). I've always sort of thought that a physical album that you can hold in your hands, and sit on the couch to flip through the pages, is the best. The trouble is, I don't really want to do the sort of scrapbooking those albums require. (Which is part of the reason I've got all those half-finished albums haunting me). It's a lot of work (fun, yes! And loads of opportunities for creativity, but it takes a lot of time, and space to lay out the work). In any case, I'm at the tail end of the process of getting rid of all my scrapbooking supplies, so I don't intend to do albums that way anymore.

The other option for physical albums is to format pages on the computer, and have them printed professionally. On the surface, this seems to be the best solution. I've done a few books this way, and liked the results - but didn't *love* the results. Some of the photos which looked fine on the computer screen turned out too dark when printed, when I used Blurb.com to print the books. I've looked at other options, a bit, but haven't found one that seems really great yet. They're either too limited in terms of layouts, or don't have the variety of sizes I'd like. Or, in the case of Apple, the prices are WAY more than I'm willing to pay.

A few days ago, another thought occurred to me. What about just having all my photos in digital presentations, instead of physical books? In the past, that seemed really lame for some reason. I just like the idea of books. But maybe I'm ready to rethink that. Sure, it's nice to sit on the couch and look through an album with a couple of friends or family. But . . . maybe it could be just as nice to sit in front of a computer or television, and watch digital albums with friends and family. My current monitor actually allows me to display photos at a much larger size than I could on paper. And more people could view simultaneously. Plus, the perfect digital solution would allow me to put my albums on discs that could be viewed on any computer. (I have a program that will do that, in fact - here's an album made with Shutterbug). In theory, it sounds nice. I'm not sure yet, though, if I'd like the idea in practice. I think I still have a bit of a love-affair with books that I can hold in my hands.

So, I thought I'd put the question to the lovely folks on my f-list, with a poll. (Because who doesn't love filling out a poll, right)? So, are paper albums superior, or am I a dinosaur for resisting the digital age?

Poll #1146855 Photo Albums

How do you best like to view photos?

Paper albums, with pages that actually turn.
7(23.3%)
I prefer to view photos on the computer
2(6.7%)
I don't really have a preference; either is good
0(0.0%)
OMG who wants to look at photos of someone else's vacation, anyway? Neither sounds good to me
0(0.0%)
What about a bit of both? Mostly digital, but a few paper albums of the important events, or maybe one per year as a summary
4(13.3%)
Photos? Huh?
0(0.0%)
Um, haven't you heard of a shoebox? Everyone knows that the best way to store and view photos
0(0.0%)
Ticky BOX!!!!!!
0(0.0%)

What do you do with your photos?

I like scrapbooking them into paper albums
3(10.0%)
I do everything digitally
4(13.3%)
I don't really take a lot of photos, so I don't have a system
0(0.0%)
Mine are all in shoeboxes, or envelopes from the processing place
3(10.0%)
Photos? Huh?
0(0.0%)
I don't really have a system. I hope your friends will have some good advice that I can use, too!
2(6.7%)
I do a bit of both. Paper and digital.
2(6.7%)
TICKY Box!
1(3.3%)

Please share any suggestions you have about viewing photos:



Please comment with any additional thoughts. I need a good solution, and the sooner the better. :) I've got a LOT of photos, and it's lame having them unavailable for viewing. That's not the point of taking pictures, after all.

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
here_be_dragons
Mar. 1st, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
Yeah, I hear you about the snuggling. I like to do that with Connor, too. Then again, right now I CAN snuggle with him in front of the computer. And I suspect that technology will only make that easier in the future. (Playing things on the television in front of the couch, for example). Still, there is something I really like about a physical book. But I think I might like the ease and speed of doing albums digitally just a bit better. We'll see. :)
syrinxkat
Mar. 1st, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
I found flickr and never looked back. Everyone I know always rolls their eyes and sighs when I pull out one of my albums, and it's so hard to squint over them and explain the photos at the same time. Instead, I make flickr sets, label them as well as I want, and turn people loose there. *So* much more gratifying for me (as I can see my photos being appreciated by others, all over, all the time), and now they're where people can see them vs. tucked away on my bookshelf. I no longer have to entrap people into looking thru photos...on the computer it's all big and shiny and interactive.

I'm extremely digitally biased, but apparently so is most of my social circle, so it all works.

Photo albums = boredom and dust. Online albums = everything at your fingertips, and avl to anyone w/ an internet connection. No more rummaging thru endless boxes or sheets of negatives looking for that "I know it's here somewhere" shot. With tags and albums, you'll have everything you need in real-time.

Sigh. This coming from the Highly Motivated person who's still got a large box of photos awaiting scanning...
here_be_dragons
Mar. 1st, 2008 04:11 am (UTC)
The thing I don't like about Flickr is the inability to change the look of the pages. If I could put my own backgrounds, and do just a tiny bit of customization, I think I'd be with you on using it for ALL my photos. Right now, I'm using it for just the ones I want to share with online peeps. Maybe I could suggest that as an improvement to the site - I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to be able to change the look of things a bit.

And yeah, I know what you mean about the dust and boxes. Right now, I'm getting my photos organized perfectly on my computer - and now that I'm tagging them (I'm using Aperture), it is SO cool to have them all at my fingertips. I'm nowhere near done with the organization, but already it's SO much better, and all my photos are in one place. But that's only good for me to find what I want - it doesn't let other people see them. Nor does it let me really enjoy them, other than just flipping through.

And yeah. I've still got DOZENS of rolls of 35mm film that I want to digitize. I'm probably going to have the negatives scanned, instead of the photos. But yeah. Motivation aside, it's a toss up now between spending a LOT of time to do it myself, or spending a LOT of money to pay someone else to do it. So it's just not happening this month. :D
syrinxkat
Mar. 1st, 2008 04:22 am (UTC)
I made sure my scanner had a 35mm negative scanner, so I'm set there, tho they tend to come out a bit brighter than the prints. I know I could photoshop them back to normal colors, but...eh...laaaaazy :P

(I'd be happy to take a stab at a strip or two of yours, if you want. Can do more if you like how they come out)
here_be_dragons
Mar. 1st, 2008 04:30 am (UTC)
I actually have a film scanner, too - a dedicated one. But it's S L O W and I'm not sure I like the results, really. In my case, the colors aren't brighter - but they're not "right" either. Probably something I could fix if I bothered to mess with the settings. But yeah. Laaaaazy. :D

Although, maybe I should give it a try. I sent some of them to a place in India which is a) very slow (although they tell you that up front, so it wasn't a surprise; and b) not cheap.

Sure, I'd love to see how your machine handles the negatives. Maybe we can have a scanning party or something once I get into town full-time. :)
countedx58
Mar. 1st, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
And one more thing ....
WTH is a "ticky box"?
here_be_dragons
Mar. 1st, 2008 04:11 am (UTC)
Re: And one more thing ....
Exactly what it looks like. :D
countedx58
Mar. 1st, 2008 07:19 am (UTC)
Re: And one more thing ....
And what does it look like?
here_be_dragons
Mar. 1st, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Re: And one more thing ....
Look at the poll, honey. You were staring at them right before you asked. ;)
countedx58
Mar. 2nd, 2008 01:53 am (UTC)
Re: And one more thing ....
I'm lost. I have no idea what you're talking about. I looked at the poll. I looked on the comments page. I looked on the friends page. WTH?
here_be_dragons
Mar. 2nd, 2008 01:56 am (UTC)
Re: And one more thing ....
Heh. I thought you were pulling my leg. The ticky box is the little box in the poll that you can check off (as opposed to radio buttons, which are in poll questions that only let you choose one of the possible options). The "ticky box" (or "check box" as they're more formally called) is very popular with many users of the internet. I don't know why, but people love ticky boxes. :D
countedx58
Mar. 2nd, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)
Re: And one more thing ....
Okay, then why isn't it called a "check box"? THAT I would have understood! And how the heck does one use a ticky box to organize one's photos?
here_be_dragons
Mar. 2nd, 2008 02:07 am (UTC)
Re: And one more thing ....
Hee! You iz not spending enough timez on teh intarwebz! It's just blog-speak to call it a ticky box, and I have no idea why or how it started, but it's been going on for years. I'm guessing that it started at some point with people complaining about only being able to choose ONE answer for a poll, and wanting check boxes (which allow you to pick multiple answers), and someone called it a ticky box for the heck of it, and . . . meme-o-rama. :D Now, it's a common "joke" to include something about a ticky box as a poll answer. And whenever I take other people's polls, I like to check the "ticky box" response, because I think it's cute. But you're right, it's got absolutely NOTHING to do with photos. :D
countedx58
Mar. 2nd, 2008 02:11 am (UTC)
Re: And one more thing ....
I'm sure everyone I know would say that I spend entirely TOO MUCH time on the internet.

I guess if I'd understood the whole ticky-box-as-nonsensical-poll-response I would have thought it was funny. But now I've just belabored it to death. ;)
here_be_dragons
Mar. 2nd, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
Re: And one more thing ....
Well . . . next time you see it, you'll understand what it's all about. And you'll think it's funny - or, maybe you'll cringe. Hard to tell. :D Yeah, the internet is a strange creature. :D And I KNOW I spend too much time here. :D :D :D
synergy
Mar. 2nd, 2008 05:28 am (UTC)
Re: And one more thing ....
Because people make the word "ticky" from the word "tick" which means to check...
conradin
Mar. 1st, 2008 06:10 am (UTC)
I think a mix is best.

I'm quite happy to look at them on a screen, but somehow, the idea of our children's children's children coming across is a book of photos is more appealing. It enables instant and definitely recognition of what it is. A CD/DVD my be too hard/get chucked without looking at.

But digtal does let you be less discerning about what you keep. So I'd do a LARGE digital archive, and a smaller collection of the REALLY good stuff/special events stuff on paper.
vivid_cognition
Mar. 1st, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC)
Two cents. (Maybe more, with inflation. ;-) )
I love having my pictures on the computer. It's totally awesome being able to manage my stuff that way. It also takes up a heck of a lot less space than shelf after shelf of print albums and picture-boxes. From an organizational standpoint, being digital can't be beat.

That said, sitting in front of a computer screen to view photos, especially more than, say, ten at a time, inevitably sucks the living soul out of me. It's sort of like having to watch Powerpoint slides, only (usually) without any of the corny transition effects and (too frequently) with any text accompanying the pictures being sized all kinds of wrong, forcing your eyes to work back and forth between focusing on 10-point Arial and a four-megapixel image. This is especially true on the web, but even offline, on the best Apple Cinema displays, the resolution and the unavoidable fact of backlighting has a wearying effect on the eyes after a little while.

There's a good reason Wired.com and other websites limit the size of the image galleries accompanying their stories. The mind just goes numb, or at best trancelike in a bovine sort of way, when faced with large albums, even if the story they tell is an interesting one.

Nothing's worse than getting a "friendly link" to somebody's photo stream of their latest trip to the coral reef or to visit Aunt Matilda... and discovering that what they've done is dumped a hundred or more pics of everything on you, with no "best of" or "highlights" subset you can opt to check out instead. Even with a fast web connection, flipping through all those pics, one by one, is like being faced with an unhealthy llama's hindquarters, compared with being able to turn pages in a paper album, skim half a dozen pics at a time, and flip to the next section.

The other great thing about a book format over Flickr or Photobucket is being able to see multiple photos, laid out exactly how you want, so that the whole page can tell a story. I'm a book-layout and typesetting nerd, but I think pretty much everybody appreciates the coffeetable book as a potential art form. Held in your lap, an album--if well-done--has a concave, inviting form that's more immersive and warmer than current electronic displays can be.

The best (and currently unavailable) solution I can imagine is laying out an album digitally, and then exporting it to a device that's a.) comfortable to sit down with or pass around and look at, and b.) higher resolution than a laptop or tablet display, and c.) isn't backlit, so your eyes can really relax into the image and the page. What I *really* have in mind is a device using multiple (say, half a dozen) sheets of flexible electronic-ink paper, each of which can display any of the pages in your album.

With a setup like that, you could still flip through the presentation as with a traditional paper album, skimming a whole page in a moment and skipping ahead if you're thrilled by the forest but not by those particular trees. But you would have the option, too, of zooming in on an image, or moving two pages across from each other to compare images from different parts of the same album (or from two different albums, if one bound e-volume has access to multiple albums), without messing up the original album. Traditional paper just can't beat this.

Flexible, color displays like this have been demonstrated (I think Panasonic debuted theirs in January) but they won't be commercially available, or cheap, for a couple of years.

While it's not reasonable to say, "Just wait for what's coming," for all of your album ideas, maybe it's worth holding off on certain paper album projects. If you're keeping track of all your files on your computer anyway, the job of creating those e-paper albums in the near future should be a snap.

But for now, yeah, I voted for a mix of both bound-paper and electronic displays. Being able to share pictures online, or the occasional "slide show" at home on a big display, is always going to be a nice option to have. And there simply is no better way to manage a photo collection than to have it all tagged and tweaked in a good digital library. But until the electronics matches paper in terms of convenience, flexibility and warmth, some things will be best presented in hard copy.
here_be_dragons
Mar. 1st, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Two cents. (Maybe more, with inflation. ;-) )
Yeah, I know what you mean about photostreams. When I post things to Flickr, it's always JUST the highlights. Actually, I try to do that even in my albums (paper or digital), too - too many photos is a worse crime than too few, I think.

And darn it. I'd hoped everyone would say WOW WE LOVE LOOKING AT PHOTOS ON THE COMPUTER. Because that would have been easier for me. :D Darn all of you for being honest about preferences! ;)

Oh, and you have a really good point about layout. I do love doing layouts, which is the downside of the "slideshow" format. Yeah. This gives me some things to think about, for sure. :)
synergy
Mar. 2nd, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
I think you are in a quandary because you have a dilemma. :)
here_be_dragons
Mar. 2nd, 2008 06:03 am (UTC)
Yeah! That sounds right. I knew someone would know. :)
elfundeb
Mar. 5th, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)
I should not be giving advice because I have two archive boxes of photos in my attic, and two shelves worth of old albums that need to be replaced.

I have mostly gone digital, and think that's the best for the vast majority of my photos (I'm also a ruthless cutter of bad photos), but I have a baby album for each child (neither is finished, even though they're teenagers). My cousin, an avid scrapbooker, also did something I might try to emulate: when each of her children graduated from high school, she presented them with a highlights album with a montage of memories from infancy onwards -- but organized by theme instead of chronologically.

I also have tried my hand at slideshows. I made one from our Colombia trip, with captions and authentic music. Even though there are nearly 200 pictures, the whole show takes only 10 minutes to watch, and with the music it's not torture for someone who wasn't there to watch. (Well, the only outsider I've inflicted this on was my mother.) I would only do this for special events, though.

I think you're on the right track, scanning most of your stuff.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Teresa Jones