I have a confession: I’ve put off for as long as I can addressing the issue of what to do with all the pictures on my iPhone. Everywhere I go when people want to see what’s new in my life, I’m passing them my phone.
Gone are the days when all my family pictures were developed and then organized in my prized photo albums. No matter what has gotten purged in residential moves, or grabbed first when a fire alert is issued, my family photos pull rank on all my other possessions.
Starting from my childhood, and after becoming the family historian and archivist, I’m in possession of my family’s pictorial record. I love to sit in my family room with those albums and be transported back to my childhood home in Chicago, my first family home in Encino, my children’s births, birthday parties, relatives past and present, graduations and weddings. My hairdo and clothing often depict the era without even looking at the notation next to the picture — which is part of the fun and the chagrin.
When my first grandchild made her debut last fall at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, I was there with my iPhone at the ready, along with her other grandparents, aunts and uncles. We all sat and passed around these little pictures of our newbie or posted them on Facebook and sent them on to family and friends.
While I love my ability to take digital photos for personal and professional use, I have not moved to the next stage of printing them and putting them into albums I can enjoy off the phone.
Everything I have photographed lives on my iPhone and iPad, and I live in fear of losing my phone or forgetting it’s in my back pocket. I miss my photo albums, and just knew there was a solution.
At long last, I decided to call Nancy Barasch, a local Santa Barbara photographer and techno-wizard who has been teaching clients how to operate computers since 1995. Now, she’s helping them transfer those prized phone photos to computers so they can be printed up for e-photo albums or the Old School kind I have that fill several bookshelves in my Summerland home.
“I have gone through many frustrating days trying to understand this crazy world of electronic devices and have learned how to help others,” she said. “The most important lesson I have learned — and try to pass on to my students — is the need to be patient with yourself.”
Barasch offers what she calls “update therapy” for anyone who feels overwhelmed by electronic devices and wants to get to the next level of proficiency.
In the mid-1990s, she was the multimedia manager for Ericsson at the telecommunications company’s technical training center in Dallas. It was her job to develop basic instructor-led courses in computer training for new engineers and technicians working on cell phone hardware and software. She had to learn about the inner workings of this first generation of cell phone hardware and computer development software, such as Authorware and Photoshop.
“Because of my ability to improvise and to have both the teaching and photography backgrounds, I was able to merge the two together to produce training,” she said.
In the early 2000s, with the onset of digital cameras and then smart phones, Barasch realized that most people over 35 needed help. After relocating to Santa Barbara with her daughter, Emily, she founded a company called Clik and Go to use her knowledge and experience to help people in a classroom setting and privately at their homes to, in her words, “get over their techno-phobia.”
“Now with the iPhones and iPads, there is more need than ever,” she exclaimed.
Finally ready to take the plunge, I invited Barasch to my home for a basic tutorial. My digital photos are a mess, and I had questions about how to get them safely onto my computer.
She wasted no time.
“You need a storage unit for your photos, and this goes for documents as well,” she said.
Elementary, Watson! I had to think of my computer as a file cabinet and my folders like file folders.
“You wouldn’t put unnamed folders in the cabinet, so why would you do that with your photos and documents?” she asked. “Let’s use your computer as the storage unit and fill it with folders.”
Barasch explained why backing up your photos is so critical, using the iPhone as an example.
“Backing up your photos is key,” she said. “This is a very important part of the process, just like location, location, location.”
Barasch uses an external hard drive connected to her computer so it is done automatically.
“If you don’t pay for the (Apple) iCloud, once you have more than 1,000 photos on your iPhone, the cloud will delete the oldest photos to make room for the new ones,” she warned. “If you haven’t backed these up, they will be LOST.”
Her belief is that, unless you’re traveling, you should not have 1,000 photos on your phone at any given time.
Barasch was full of tips — too many to list here — but she covered many of the basics that she uses in her tutorial business, Digital Diva. Highlights were how she edits her pictures using other photo apps as well as transferring photos to a computer where albums can be created.
Once a day or every other day, she transfers her photos to her computer using PhotoSync, an app available on both the iPhone and iPad. Another option she shared was to connect my phone to my computer. If you use iPhoto, Photoshop or a similar photo program, you can direct the photos to go to files in one of these software programs.
These are some of the decisions one must make to get organized and fully enjoy the world of digital photography. I’ve already scheduled a second session. Like The Little Engine That Could, I think I can I think I can.