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Digital Workflow Can Make Handling Your Photos Easier
Knight Ridder Newspapers via Knight Ridder

Like almost anyone who received their first digital camera, you probably unwrapped it and started taking photos. You then downloaded the digital images to your computer and thought "Wow, this is easy."

But after a few more trips to your computer with a few more full digital cards, you're going to wonder why your computer is working so slowly. Why are you getting a message that your hard drive is full?

To solve these and many future problems, you need to create a digital workflow that works for you and your equipment.

Your equipment can include a camera, computer, CD burner, storage for CDs and prints.

My suggested workflow begins with downloading your digital images to your computer. There are so many different digital cameras that it's up to you and your instruction book to figure out what settings work best for you.

With film, after you had your prints made you were able to put the negatives in a shoe box. When the box was full, you got another one. In digital photography, after you have your prints made, you have your images in your computer.

When your computer is full are you going to go out and buy a new one? Or a new external hard drive?

This is where your newfound digital workflow comes into play. Have a plan before your hard drive is full, so you don't get to the point of panic.

Here is a sample workflow:

  • Download your images to your computer.

  • Edit out the images you don't want to keep using photo browser software.

  • Rename your files with a keyword and a number (xmas01.jpg, xmas02.jpg, etc.).

  • Burn a CD of those images and label the CD with what event or people are on it and the date. Don't wait until later to archive your images. This could be your most important step.

  • Test the newly created CD in your computer to make sure the images have been burned correctly.

  • Work up the images you want to make prints of or e-mail.

  • After you're done with this folder of digital images, delete them.

If you follow this, your computer shouldn't fill up, and you should also be able to find your photos on your CDs long after you have taken them off your computer.

Some quick things to do if you're new to digital photography:

  • Get extra media cards for your camera. The odds are that your camera came with a very small amount of storage space, and this is something that can be a big disadvantage to digital photography.

    With film, you have to change the roll after 36 exposures. With digital, you can go for gigs and gigs without changing cards.
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