Photo Resolution

January 8, 2011

So last year I resolved to make my bed every day and guess what? I actually stuck with it. Not every single day, but most days and just that simple little action each morning made me quite happy. This year my resolution is a bit more ambitious. It's something I have been saying I need to do for awhile. During the holidays it came bubbling up to the surface in a more forceful way when I attempted and failed to make and send photo cards. Then during our trip to Bulgaria, we spent part of the time looking at their albums filled with our kids when they were babies together in Japan and I realized I really need to do the same sort of simple photo albums for my own kids. And this past week it appeared again in the form of Noah's family tree photo project. I should get some sort of extra credit for the amount of time I spent viewing each month from the past seven years to find family photos. Instead, I got motivated to finally do something about this image issue. It's a multi-pronged issue for me: printing and displaying photos. 

The first problem is the printing. Why is it that in this age of easy internet access and good quality home photo printers do I rarely print anything? Part of me yearns to return to the age of film when I would spend hours in the high school darkroom, standing in the dark, swishing photo paper in chemicals and waiting for the images to emerge. That was a very tactile and olfactory printing experience.  Or even that "old fashioned" experience of anxiously dropping off a roll of film with twenty four attempts and waiting to see if any of the images came out the way I hoped they would. I guess part of it comes down to my love of surprises. These days the printing process just doesn't have that same element of excitement. I can hit play on my camera and instantly see what I have captured and so I just keep shooting and accumulating and never printing.

And then there is the issue of displaying. It would seem like in this time of digital wonders that our home would be drowning with pics of smiling faces and happy travels, but the reality is that the only thing groaning under the weight of the thousands of images that I take each year is my hard drive. Even my flickr account has been badly neglected, but the most obvious area of neglect is in my home.  We have a few framed baby pics of our kids hanging in the hall near their room and holiday cards from the past two years still hanging up in our kitchen, but that's about it. Isn't that horrible?  It's especially sad since we do live so far from family and friends and pretty pathetic since I come from a family of photographers. For a few years I was good about making annual photo books highlighting memorable moments from the year. But I haven't done one of those in awhile. Really, the only place that gets a regular dose of image display is this blog and the kids don't sit down to read it yet, so I need to get my butt in gear and change this situation in our home. 

So in 2011 I am resolved to  printing and displaying photos (in easy access albums and on the walls/shelves). I just placed an order for 2 photo albums and I have one large hanging frame that can hold 100 images. I bought the frame several years ago with the intention of hanging it in the kids' room and this year it will finally happen. I would also like to complete at least three photo trip books this year. Those are my photo resolutions for 2011. So anyone have suggestions or favorite on-line printing companies?

Sorry this post got so long and wordy. I originally intended to post these cool old family photographs as the most recent motivators for this year's resolution. Those are our grandfathers that we never met and these are the only photographs we have of them here with us in Sicily. The photo on the left is my paternal grandfather.  He died before I was born. He was a documentary photographer in Louisiana during the 1940s. In that photo he is signing one of his books and I am pretty sure that is my grandmother in the background. The other photograph is Adam's maternal grandfather who also died many years before he was born. Isn't that a great photograph of him in his twenties? That was taken one summer when he was playing the saxophone in the Catskills. I found the photo of my grandfather on-line and my in-laws e-mailed us the other image. We didn't bring any older family photos with us to Sicily (they are all in storage back in the States) but I regret that decision. So today I am going to print these two pics of our grandfathers and get a start on my 2011 resolution. Anyone else making resolutions this year?
Dana said...

I love both of those photos of the grandfathers. I don't have any like this from my family, even though I know they are floating around. I may just have a mission for the summer.

About printing -- I have very similar tendencies. I have gifted my prints but have only one hanging in my home. My (sorta) resolution is to create photo books. I have albums from when Madelyn was very little, but they take up so much space on the shelves. The slim photo books are better for me and also fulfill a bit of my need to create and journal.
I dream of creating them from scratch in InDesign but I just don't have the time . . . sigh. I've used both Shutterfly and Snapfish in the past with seemingly similar results. Both have tons of (icky) themes full of clipart -- but you can also choose more subdued options.

Getting a jump on the "sorta resolution," I just now ordered one from Apple of the holiday season(which, btw, does not ship to APO -- discovered this after the book was created -- too bad bc it works seamlessly iwth iLife on my mac).

I really like MPix for prints and will likely try my next book with them.

Flickr is connected to Snapfish -- allowing for easy uploading, once.

This review, though lenghty, is helpful. http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2010/04/the-great-photo-book-round-up-compares-photo-book-companies/
There was also a review in the Nov 2010 Popular Photography if you can get your hands on that.

good luck. . .share the results with us!
D

likeschocolate said...

I have printed to books with blurb and really like the results. It seems they allow more options in the type of book you can buy and the layout formats. Blog to print is very limited. You can always find coupons for different companies though such as Kodak. One thing I have learned is that if you have edited a photo you want it to be a little on the lighter side because it always prints darker. Overall though I have really been happy with Blurb. Good Luck! I am about 4 books behind.

Emily said...

this is similar to my resolution, which is: photos. ha! i should really write down more specific goals. :) anyway, that one word includes the following:
-deleting! need to catch up on keeping the photos on the computer at 500/month. haven't done it since may!
-printing! i actually print out a lot of photos from mpix (the best), but haven't done it since we moved back. i display them this way: http://www.theblogisfound.com/index.cfm?postID=445 which i love, but i need to figure out how to store the photos i'm not displaying anymore. another part of the resolution!
-photo books! i've only done one and i used blurb. i was not 100% happy with the quality of the photo printing, but i am going to do one more book, and see if the fact that my photos have improved in later years will make a difference.
-canvas wraps! i want to get some big prints up from our travels. so i need to figure out which ones.

anyway. i have some other resolutions related more to the art of photography than to the organization. but i'll just leave that, as i've already written a small essay! :)

Emily said...

p.s. hooray for the follow through on last years resolution! :D

Corinne said...

So, I use scrapbookpictures.com to print and LOVE them. Excellent quality and cheap prices.

I actually JUST finished my 2010 album! I resolved to do that several years ago and I even started scanning in old pictures so I now have 2004-(almost) the present. What I need to resolve to do is to PULL THEM OUT and LOOK AT THEM with my children! Look, I just made a resolution :) I have used shutterfly, picaboo, snapfish and mypublisher and mypublisher is BY FAR the best. The paper quality is much better than the others and I like their interface the best. BUT - I make them VERY simple, pictures on a black background with as little white text as I can get away with :) I want the pictures to speak for themselves like a real photoalbum.

It's funny because just this morning I decided I was done have pictures in frame standing around in my house - I want them on the walls. I want to declutter my shelf space and move those pictures into other places.

I love that it's on both our minds lately :) Do you want me to email the book I just made so you can see how it looks?

Dawn said...

Oh... you are not alone. I had to laugh when you mentioned your poor hard drive. I know that so well.

Wes and I were just talking the other day about how all of our albums are of California. Fionna especially looks through them a lot. They make us miss California a lot. We decided that this year I need to print some of the great pics I have taken since we moved here and start a Nova Scotia album... or two.

I am lucky to have photo shop here in town that lets me send pics to them over internet and just pick up when they are ready. Great prints and really easy.

Best wishes for 2011... and many printed pictures!

Manny said...

Lucia:
I have many of the same thoughts about neglecting so many great photos. They're doing no good in my hard drive - I actually had to upgrade it for more space.... But the pictures are just as invisible to everyone there as they were beforehand.
I look forward to your future posts on this. I'm resolving to print more photobook albums.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Glad to see I am not alone in this! Thanks for the suggestions and commiserations. Emily, I especially love the idea of the magnet boards. One of my hesitations about framing too many photos is that we always seem to deal with at least a few broken framed pieces during our frequent moves. Those Ikea boards are the look I had in mind, but also easy to change, and easy to pack!

Cami said...

So, I made a "gallery" in the playroom where I was supposed to rotate photos and favorite children's books, and have I done it? No. Same old pics and books for the last year. I mean, all I have to do is click a few buttons and my husband can pick things up from Costco on his weekly trip. But no, I just don't. And I haven't done a photo book since 2006. Sigh. But right now our goal is VIDEO. Organize, put on CDs, and start TAKING them. Ugh. It is daunting.

Martha said...

I have looked at blurb but never used it. But have used Kodak for books that I send as gifts. They look very nice. I was happy with quality.

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