By Komal Thakkar – George Washington University
It’s taken long enough, but I have finally emerged from the Stone Age. I recently upgraded to a Mac computer. My Dell PC is now a mere figment of my imagination. As I was configuring my Mac and downloading applications, I decided to import all of my pictures and videos from 2002 up until the present into iPhoto and realized I had an overwhelming 9,304 photos and 550 videos! As they slowly imported album by album, I spent hours scrolling through countless pictures and videos that I hadn’t looked at in years. It was like I was watching my friends and family grow up on my computer screen. Each picture triggered a memory, and I found my mind wandering back in time quite often.
While I am not a huge fan of being in front of the lens, I love being behind it! I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t know the first thing about photography, but there is something about taking a picture that makes me feel like I’ve captured a valuable moment in the history of someone’s life. (That’s the nerdy history major in me surfacing.) I couldn’t help but think of that old age, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” As I looked at each photo, I realized that pictures are tangible documents of the images in your mind and have the power to help you recall a thousand words, emotions, and memories.
Between my digital camera, the camera on my phone, and the stills on my video camera, I can’t keep track of the hundreds of photos I take. I upload them to my computer and never see them again. They seem to disappear into this black hole.
I could put them on Facebook. However, I usually assume my more proactive friends will upload them and tag me. More often than not, my assumption is correct and there’s no need for me to even go through my pictures from the same event, upload them, tag everyone, and add some witty captions.
I could upload them to a photo site and send the link to my family members who I refuse to befriend on Facebook. I could purchase a digital picture frame and create a nice slideshow for our living room, or I could make a slideshow for my desktop or screen saver. While I could do all of these things, my laziness always prevails, and I don’t do any of them.
Maybe it’s the artistic nature in me, but the one activity I love to do with photos is scrapbooking. After buying paper, a book, decals, stickers, glue sticks, and printing my photos and then spreading everything out on my table, I thoroughly enjoyed creating the first three pages, but unfortunately my attention span is not conducive to long projects like that. It’s rather expensive, messy, and time consuming.
Now digital scrapbooking… well that’s a whole other ball game. While it does require an attention span, some time (considerably less than manually creating a scrapbook with art supplies), and effort, it is one of the most wonderful ways to create a project with my photos so they don’t get lost in the black hole that is iPhoto.
When I returned from Ghana, my best friend gave me the best gift I’ve ever gotten. She bought me a voucher for an online scrapbooking site. I had over 1000 pictures from my trip and about 20 blog entries from my five months abroad. There was no way I had the desire to go through all those pictures just to put them up on Facebook or a photo website. The voucher motivated me to go through all of my pictures and organize them chronologically. I picked out the ones I wanted to put into my scrapbook, downloaded the free and extremely easy to use (especially for someone like me who is technologically challenged), and uploaded the pictures I had selected into my project.
I decided to make a classic 11.5 x 8 in scrapbook. There is generally a standard fee for 20 pages, and then each additional page is usually a dollar on most sites. I started working on it for two hours a day and soon realized how addicting it was. (So much better and more productive than Facebook stalking!) I organized all of my pictures chronologically, touched them up with the autocorrect tool, added captions, copied and pasted all of my blog entries into separate pages, added backgrounds, incorporated stickers and decals, and then proceeded to the checkout. A week later, I was holding the scrapbook I had created online. Now, I literally look through my Ghana photo book every couple weeks, and it is the greatest way for me to share my trip with my family and friends. Instead of letting my pictures sit by themselves on my computer, they now have lots of eyes enjoying them.
Based on my research and scrapbooking experiences, My Publishers offers great prices and user-friendly software. I would definitely advise anyone interested in making one to conduct some searches of their own and do some comparisons depending on what kind of photo book you are looking for. Make sure you look at prices before you begin the project as it could easily add up if you get carried away with how many pages you want to include.
Now that is a present that’s going to be tough to match!
Image via Amy Loid’s Workshop.