One trillion digital photos will be taken in the year 2015. If printed on 4X6 cards and laid end to end. it would stretch over 200 million miles or 1.1 times round trip from the Earth to the sun. Nearly 80% of these are taken by phones. And by the end of 2015, we will have more than 4.9 trillion digital photos stored on computers and external hard drives. All of these statistics are according to a study done by Worldwide Image Forecast.
Anyone else feeling anxiety about these numbers?
What are we going to do with that many pictures?! Let’s think about it in another way. Imagine you are going to take just 10 pictures a year of your child. Just 10 a year, not 10 of each holiday, birthday celebration, trip to the playground, 10 total. And your child lives until the ripe old age of 80. That child would have 800 photos of their life. I think that number is overwhelming and we absolutely take more than 10 pictures a year.
So what should we do? Have a great cameras built into the mini-computer we keep in our pockets. Between smart phones, tablets, laptops and digital cameras, we all feel like freelance photographers sent on a mission to document every riveting moment of our lives. Then we have Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pintrest and several other platforms to publish our photos. We take pictures of scenery, our food, our pets, and tons of pictures of the important people in our lives and don’t get me started on selfies!
Often times these photos are uploaded to our computers and sit there until the computer crashes and we grieve the loss of our memories. Some people have a good system of downloading them to external hard drives or uploading them to the cloud. Both of these systems are wonderful and give the photographer a sense of security.
I want to take it a step further and challenge our society to stop experiencing life through our devices’ lens. Experience and truly be present with your friends and family. Sure, snap a picture or two, but don’t document the entire trip to the backyard tire swing.
After an event, take the time to choose a handful of pictures that show the important people in attendance. Pictures of the decor, cake, each guest and every present opened is overkill. Imagine taking thirty pictures of your son’s 6th birthday party. Cute, huh? Now imagine that you have three kids and take that many pictures of each of their birthday parties every year! Overwhelming!
If you are taking less pictures and trying to enjoy the moment with your loved ones, and editing the few pictures you do take, now we need to make sure they are protected. I like using both the cloud – OneDrive, Google Drive and Drop Box are all very comparable. If you are an Apple user, iPhone photos are automatically uploaded to iCloud storage and shown on your Mac. External hard drives are a safe bet and available at any price point. From $10 to several hundreds of dollars, you can choose different storage capacities.
I suggest setting a routine for backing up and managing your digital photos. Setting an appointment in your calendar to sit down and manage your downloads. Delete any photos that are blurry, any duplicates or ones you don’t love. Create a folder with clear names “October 2015″ or ” Reed’s 6th Birthday” and save away! I suggest keeping the external hard drive in a fire-proof safe.
Following these few guidelines and creating habits around picture-taking and storage will give you more control over digital photos. Stop panicking when you computer or phone has a glitch. Don’t feel pressure to document every second of your child’s life. Live well and enjoy your pictures!