Saturday, May 13, 2006

Digital Photography - Smart Tips for Recording and Preserving Family History for Generations to Come

By Brandon Baumgarten

Recently my friends, parents home burned to the ground. As tragic as it was insurance covered almost everything. But there were some things that money just couldn't replace. Like the antique furniture passed down from family. Like an emerald ring from his great, great grandmother. And the photography, the beautiful glimpses of generations in action. Time capsules from the past, our family roots.

These are some of our most valuable possessions, if not the most valuable! My friends mom says what she really misses most is all the family photography they lost.

Let's rethink the way we go about our photography. Look at it from a new perspective, one that places the proper importance on these family treasures. There are many things that we can do to ensure quality images for generations to come.

First of all always use the highest quality setting your camera has to offer. The more megapixels you shoot with the better your photos will look when they are enlarged. Even if you like 8x10's today fine, in 211 years they may want to make a 20"x 24". Shooting at the highest resolution also allows greater flexibility editing your photos. You can crop and zoom more to compose a better picture without the image becoming to pixelated.

Use high quality long lasting photo paper and inks. When putting photos in albums, always use archival quality materials. Also display your photos under glass and out of the direct sun to protect them from fading.

You don't need a fancy camera to record your families heritage. Today there are several compact and ultra-compact point and shoot cameras available that approach the quality of the digital SLR.

These new little cameras From Casio, Nikon, Canon, Olympus and other companies sport from 7 to 9 mega pixels and fit perfectly in a purse or pocket. Many of the features are the same ones offered on their bigger models. If you have an older digicam replace it right away, with one that's at least 7 megapixels your ancestors will thank you and you will notice the difference too.

Back Up Your Photography. Set aside a saturday and scan every photo you own, even the ones on the wall. These images are what make a house your home. Pull out all your old negatives and get those in the computer immediately and preserve them. They are way too valuable to be deteriorating somewhere in the house. As you did with your framed family artwork carefully take apart your photo albums and scan those too. Next time you are visiting a relative, call ahead and ask if you can bring your photo scanner with and scan some family photos while you are there.

If anything were to happen to their photos, they would be able to replace their cherished memories with a simple call to you. Also give them a cd of the family photos that you scanned on saturday to hold as a backup for you just in case.

After you have your photo collection together, look for a photosharing website such as smugmug that lets you upload every photo you own, no limit. Once you've uploaded to your own private gallery at your own web address on the internet (Ex., family members can order copies online anytime and any size they want. You can even order a burned cd of all of your photos and have it delivered. Having your family pictures in a few locations is very smart.

Use either link below to compare several different online photo sharing providers. Some are free like Kodak EasyShare and some are not, they all have different features to compare.

Take your camera with you everywhere you go. Bring it out and use it. Take it to the kids sporting and scouting events and capture them participating in activities. The only thing more tragic than losing a photo you love, is missing the shot to begin with. It's not like you have to pay for film and developing anymore. Shoot it up!

Read books to learn more about photography, a few tips here and there will really improve your photos, which will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Have your families photo taken professionally on a regular basis. Every photographer has their own style including you. It's always good to sprinkle another artists interpretation of the family into your photo collection. It makes it richer and more interesting.

Get one of the new photo viewers, like the Archos AV500 with a 100 GB hard drive. Store all your family photos on it and when you visit family, they can look at your photos on the built in screen or hook it up to the TV, for a show everyone can enjoy. Then exchange photo files. Upload your files to their computer and download their images to the Archos.

A photo from the photographer at the scenic overlook in Vail Colorado, of your family skiing together, is $35.00. The same photo, 20 years from now, framed on your wall, is worth more than money! In the long run, the investment in professional photography services is worth it.

Instead of washing the car on saturday, take control of your photos. It's really much more important. Our photos are our most valuable family heirlooms. Great photography enhances your family's legacy.

Visit to compare several online photo sharing plans, and multimedia photo viewers. Read our review of the 5 best digital cameras over 7 megapixels. Read actual customer reviews or find accessories. You will also find KISSER reviews for digital cameras and inkjet Printers.

For helpful information about, How to Become a Freelance Photographer, visit our unique Freelance Photographer Jobs website at: for There's a lot of free photography tips, tutorials and travel information there along with more great ideas. I have been a professional photographer at many western ski resorts. Starting out in Wyoming. Where I landed my first professional photography job, taking action photos of skiers on the slopes at Grand Targhee. I am currently a freelance photographer in Lake Tahoe, California.

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