Photography Tutorials

What to do with all your photos

It’s been a wonderful summer! Well… an OK summer. Well… it didn’t rain every day. Yes, yes there were riots across the land and awful things happening in the world but generally it was kind of great, it was summer after all.

my feet

If you’re like me you’ll have been furiously snapping away with your camera these last few months; the week in Spain, the kids at the theme park, Uncle Joe’s birthday, the new puppy (none of these things happened to me, by the way, believe me, you’d know about it if I had a puppy). And now; now you have gigabytes of photos and a guilty sense that you ought to do something with them, but what? Here are some ideas…

Option 1 – the slide show

Invite everybody over one evening. Before guests arrive allow at least 45 minutes to locate the correct wires/sockets/Japanese instructions so people don’t have to watch you running around shouting “everything’s fine, everything’s fine” whilst you jam random wires from the bits-and-bobs drawer into the back of the telly. Alternatively you could ask a seven-year-old to do it for you (it will take them less than 2 minutes).

In terms of what to actually show people – don’t get hung up on making it a multi-media spectacular – so long as most of your audience know some of the people in the photos (or you’ve been somewhere particularly noteworthy) this will be a great evening – especially if there’s plenty of wine and nibbles to hand.

Remember to edit out all the duplicates and mistakes! Try sticking two or three photos together, they can often tell a story that individual shots just can’t.


Finally, don’t be offended if some of your crowd are asleep when you switch the top-lights on at the end of the show – this will always happen, even if you have verified photographic evidence of your own alien-abduction. Plus, it’s a known fact that all Dads when placed in an armchair with the lights dimmed are programmed to sleep and can do nothing to override this setting.

Option 2 – the photo album

Oh, the photo album! In the past they seem to have held three main roles:

  1. to embarrass grown-up children’s new boyfriends/girlfriends by displaying aforementioned little darlings completely naked save for Mama’s high-heels (hopefully their age in the photo will be single digits).
  2. to thrust at visitors you don’t really like to fill awkward silences and instigate an early departure.
  3. to browse through whilst a bit squiffy on Boxing Day evening after too much Turkish Delight and Baileys, wailing “I used to be thin, THIN I tell you!” [sob]

So, as I see it that’s three good reasons to carry on creating photo albums! Especially as nowadays you can create beautiful ones that look like proper books. It’s all done online and they can sit elegantly on your bookcase so you will also look well-read or possibly that you are so famous people have written books about you.

Option 3 – Wall art

Displaying one of your own photos on a wall is a lovely way to express your personality in your home and it’s not showing off, honest! It took me ages to get over myself and concede this; I put it down to being English – we can be overly repressed and modest (not always in an attractive way).

my red shoe print

The right photo can look amazing when enlarged and framed on the wall and a great talking point when you have visitors.

Personally I prefer frames with nice, wide cardboard mounts (try the classic RIBBA frames from IKEA) rather than the canvases you can have done. It’s useful having the option of swapping the photo now and again – it keeps things fresh when you’ve grown accustomed to the old image. I keep the previous photo in the frame too, that way it stays safe and flat and makes it very quick and convenient to swap the photos round at any stage. It’s also fun to do this and swear blind to others that the photo they think has changed has been there all the time and that they are actually going mad.

Option 4 – share on-line

These days I am very familiar, some would say overly familiar, with the breakfasts, shoe purchases, cafe trips, holidaying arrangements, nephews birthday parties, ‘planking’ exploits and various drunken phone escapades, of not just close friends and family but also people I met at a conference in 1998, the guy in the packing room, the cousins who aren’t cousins that moved to Canada in 2002, the boy from school who used to eat his bogeys and the bloke from Kwik-Fit who replaced my exhaust pipe that time. And many more. Thanks, Internet!

Sharing on line is easy and it’s everywhere; facebook, twitter, instagram, flickr, picasa… oh boy, this needs its own blog post. This needs a book! Suffice to say sharing photos is part of our lives now and I believe we are the richer for it. I love that peoples lives are there to see, should we so wish. No one’s making us view them – they’re popular for a reason; we are nosy.

We may print fewer photos than we ever did in previous years, but more people see all our photography than ever did, and that has to be the point, don’t you think?

The only helpful advice I can give is to say that with all these methods and channels for sharing photos it can be difficult keeping track of what is where – devise yourself a workflow, a systematic routine to storing all the photos you take, if only for your own reference and sanity.

Option 5 – novelty items

There’s no limit to what you can have photos printed on these days – mugs, tea-towels, calendars, clocks, underpants! Lots of fun – don’t go too matchy-matchy though or you may look like some sort of obsessive stalker.

Option 6 – back them up

You don’t need me to tell you this, you tell yourself all the time, don’t you?

Option 7 – look at them

However you choose to do it make sure you give yourself time and opportunity to look through your photos. You do already, I’m sure because they are enticing little things and when you’ve looked at one you can help but have a little peep at one more, and one more, and one more… Photographs are as captivating, emotional and interesting as they were over 100 years ago and I can’t see the situation changing any time soon. The technology for taking and viewing the photos will undoubtedly change but our eyes and our hearts will not.

sandy path

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  • Reply
    2 September 2011 at 17:37

    i think i will have to have a slideshow now afer reading this! it will be a good excuse for lots of wine if nothing else ;o)

    • Reply
      2 September 2011 at 17:39

      that’s very, very true – why do you think i take so many photos?! 😉

  • Reply
    5 September 2011 at 14:55

    That’s a very useful list.
    Sometimes I wonder about printing my best photos and creating a scrapbook with them. I think it would be a nice present for friends (and also for my own pleasure), but it usually take a lot of time to create a scrapbook.

    • Reply
      5 September 2011 at 15:02

      Thanks, Eleonora :)
      I’ve seen some stunningly beautiful scrapbooks created using photos – you’re right about them taking a long time though, I’m not sure if I’m a patient enough person. Most of us are after some middle ground – to give our photos some context and to keep them safe.

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