Over the last three years of traveling and with the addition of our son, our photo collection has grown to about 12,000 cherished memories taking up 33 GB of storage. I have tried organizing them on my computer’s hard drive, but that has failed and proven to be quite complicated. I have pictures scattered in folders on a laptop, desktop, an iPad, and of course our two smart phones. It has become an overwhelming task of trying to keep pictures in order.
I’ve spent some time in the last weeks researching a way to organize, edit, and share my collection and wanted to share what I have found. There are dozens of software to do all of these things, but I will share just a few of the most popular ones
Organization and Storage
Google’s Picasa offers 1 free GB of storage using Web Albums. A feature I particularly like is being able to geotag a photo. This attaches latitude and longitude to a photo so you can place your photo on Google Maps. You can tag faces and sort by people using Face Recognition technology, which allows you to group pictures of a person together. If you turn on the auto backup feature, any picture taken on your phone will automatically sync with your Google+ account. Google will also sync your Picasa web albums to your Android device’s Gallery app.
Picasa allows you to easily share your photos using Google +. You can share photos among your circles or email to other Gmail subscribers. Another feature that I really like is the Movie Maker. You can combine your photos, videos, and music into a movie and upload it to YouTube. You could get really creative with this when sharing photos of your travels. If you use Blogger, Picasa makes it easy to upload photos with a BlogThis feature.
Picasa has basic editing tools like cropping, red-eye removal, and blemish repair. You can do editing using some fancy filter effects with side by side editing. Picasa will also turn collage pictures into an animated GIF, which is a nice feature. Picasa preserves a copy of the original photo.
Google+ Picasa can be used with any device as long as you have a Google+ account.
iPhoto for Mac
Organizing and Storage
iPhoto for Mac offers a great way to organize your photos by syncing all your photos using iCloud to all devices. iCloud offers 5GB of free storage. When you add a picture to one device it is automatically synced with your other Apple devices. iPhoto keeps the last 1000 pictures in the My Photo Stream on all your devices. Photos are automatically grouped by month, but you can also tag and add favorites.
Pictures can be uploaded to Facebook, twitter, and flickr for social media sharing. iPhoto also allows you to create a photo “stream”. A stream lets you invite family and friends to view your photos. They can add comments and post their pictures to the stream as well. You can opt for real time notifications when others interact with the stream. Using iCloud you can create slide shows and web journals for sharing.
iPhoto offers basic editing tools as well as a large assortment of effects. There is also a mobile version which allows you to edit pictures on touch screen devices.
iPhoto may be the best fit for you if you have all Apple devices since you can use iCloud to sync amongst them all. iPhoto cannot be use with Android or Windows devices.
Organizing and Storage
PhotoBucket allows 2 GB of storage with the option to purchase additional storage as needed. You can upload photos from your computer, Facebook, a URL, or bulk upload using the Photobucket Backup (for Windows and Mac) which automatically backs up images saved on your computer. Photobucket Mobile will automatically sync your photos and videos to your Photobucket account.
You can share photos to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.
Photobucket offers “One Click” sharing of photos to social media. This feature allows you to share all photos uploaded to all selected social media accounts at once. You can also simply attach a photo or video and forward it directly to your Photobucket account.
Photobucket offers touch up tools, quick edits and enhancements, photo frames, stickers, and drawings as well as basic editing tools. If you want to add effects, they have those too.
Photobucket can be used on all major platforms. By downloading and using the app from your phone, Photobucket gives you an additional 8gb of storage.
These are just a few of the organizing, editing, and sharing tools on the market. There are many others like Flickr, Photoscape, and Lightroom by Adobe. I provided the information I found for my personal use. I chose to use iPhoto since we own mostly Apple devices. I like that iPhoto automatically sorts photos by dates. I opted not to use iCloud, just because of the size of my collection. The cost for additional storage is quite expensive. I decided I would backup all my pictures to a USB drive instead. This may be an option for you as well, or you could consider Dropbox which offers 2GB of free storage, with more storage using their paid plans.
Taking time to organize photos will save all of us a lot of time hunting and gathering. It’s important to me to know that my memories are safely stored in case something happens to my hard drive. Being able to edit and share pictures easily with friends and family will allow us to share our experiences as we travel along and store them safely for those moments of reminiscing in the future.