Picture Perfect!

The tech boom has exploded and amoungst the debris are many everyday people asking the ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘where’ questions that once seemed to answer themselves. For many of us, one of the most difficult changes has been to photography itself….

I remember the excitement I felt for my first camera, I was 10, and it was sky blue, with yellow buttons… but wow! Did I feel so connected with my world whenever I took photos on it? I was diligent, I examined my target, I thought about the direction, the zoom and the light and then…boom! I would snap that elusive shot, the shot that would capture my experience perfectly.

The excitement grew as I put my roll of film into my local Kodak store to be processed. I kept my fingers crossed that I had managed to take some great shots. I remember being handed the packet of photos and eagerly flicking through them (the photos only just dry), smiling as I remember how and why I took the photo and proud that I could now put them in my ever-growing collection of photo albums.

Photo album? Gosh! I haven’t seen one of those in many years now. If you are like me you still have a trusty camera, for me, it’s my Canon 450D, it’s hanging in there and has captured my holidays perfectly. But whether you use a DSLR, a compact or an iOS/android device, we all face a new dilemma, where do I store my digital photos so they are not only ready for me to print when needed but also backed up for longevity?

Today we also see the emergence of photo enhancement applications that are now accessible by us ‘newbies’ to the photo-editing world. With the push of a button I can add sepia, adjust the brightness, crop and turn my photo into the most professional looking snap ever. Once the domain of the most professional photographer, it has allowed us to snap with confidence, knowing changes can easily be made. We are no longer limited to that case of film that held 36 photos, but that has created a new dilemma of storage.

I’ve called on the expert advice of Paul Chapman. Paul runs his photography business ‘Noodle Photography’ from here in Singapore and I’ve asked him to share with us some thoughts on digital photos and his top tips.

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What device do you use to ‘snap’ those everyday moments?

I use whatever camera I have with me. Anything from mobile phone to full frame DSLR. It doesn’t matter what you’ve got, just get out and shoot. Pro-shooter Chase Jarvis is quoted as saying ‘the best camera is the one that’s with you’.”

What are your top 3 storage solutions for your digital photos?

“Back up, back up, back up!
From your camera – At least two hard drives containing your photos, backed up with software such as ‘Carbon Copy Cloner’. This means if one dies you have a spare. Keep one at the office and one at home in case of flood or fire etc. You can never have too many backups. Space is cheap, photos are priceless.

For mobile phones – You can set up your phone to upload your photos to Dropbox, iCloud or Google Drive from your mobile. Set it up once and forget about it. Never lose the photos from your phone again.I also use Google Drive (a cloud solution) to archive. Gmail address owners have 15gb of free space at their disposal and to upgrade to more space is pretty cheap (cheapest cloud storage on the market currently). The Google Drive software can be downloaded and used on your folder hierarchy for seamless back up. iCloud is the Apple equivalent and also offers free space. Use either as a double.”

What are your top photo editing applications for PC and/or mobile devices?

“I use Adobe Lightroom for organisation and most editing. Then Photoshop for the finer detail. For a smaller budget, Photoshop Elements is also a great bit of software. iPhoto is great for Mac users but will be replaced next year (2015) by Apple for a new and ‘better’.

For mobile I use Snapseed. This is a Google owned (but not Google developed) piece of software meaning Android users get it free on their devices while OS (Apple) users may need to pay. But it is very good and you won’t need anything else for great looking adjustments to your images.”

Paul has offered some great advice for all of us who consider ourselves a novice! These tips also lend themselves well to the classroom, what tips can you pass on to your students?

Paul’s passion for photography is evident in his work, but his true skills lie in instilling his passion and knowledge into others. Paul has successfully worked with teachers at my school and runs workshops to get people ready to ‘turn automatic off’. If you are in Singapore or South East Asia, he would be happy to chat further with you on anything related to photography. You can find his details on any of the links below:

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