Here are two tips that will get budding professionals on the right track if they start from the beginning.
1) Take lots of photos
I know, you are thinking, "Is she serious?!!" Yes, I am absolutely! There are many tracks you can follow in genealogy. You can focus on client research, you can be a speaker or a writer. Very likely you will probably do a little bit of everything. Copyright is a huge issue for all professionals but genealogists are particularly sensitive to it. If you start taking your own photos right from the beginning you will build a large resource library where you don't have to worry about copyright (except perhaps someone stealing one of your photos!). In the process you will save a lot of money by not buying stock photos and you will save a lot of time by not scouring the internet for public domain or creative commons photos.
Consider this - the more advanced you become in your career the greater the need you will have for photos. Your PowerPoint presentations will need to have photos to liven them up. If you have a blog you will have a constant need for a steady photo supply. Even writers benefit from being able to supply their publishers with relevant photos. Client reports benefit from the addition of gravestone photos, historic house photos or other items relevant to the research project.
Get in the habit of taking your camera where ever you go for work. Take photos of the repository and archive buildings that you visit. That will prevent the temptation to "borrow" one from their website. Take scenic snapshots of geographic areas that your research focuses on. Take photos that relate to your specific niche.
I took the photo above during a walk today. I don't have a specific use for it right now but I can imagine I will certainly need it sometime in the future. I could use it in a talk on symbols used in cemetery research or a talk about researching fraternal organizations. This segues nicely into my second tip...
2) Organize your photos from the start
You will amass a large collection of photos if you get in the habit of carrying your camera with you at all times. It will only take a matter of weeks before catching up with your backlog becomes overwhelming. Many photo programs import photos to your computer by date. That's how mine are organized. Occasionally I have taken the time to label a folder by event and/or year. Most of the time I am in a hurry to clear space on my camera so I dump the photos and continue shooting. I've got a right mess on my hands!
I know what photos I have taken but I can't always put my hands on them when I need them. This is a problem when you are in a crunch to create a PowerPoint presentation or to finalize a blog post.
To fix this problem you need an easy drag and drop tagging system. Geoff Rasmussen did a great webinar about organizing photos. He talked about the free program, Picasa and Adobe Photoshop Elements which can cost in the $60-99 range. I got Picasa right away but wanted something more robust for organizing my photos.
I'm working on a number of projects right now that involve collecting and organizing lots of photos. I've been getting so frustrated by my inability to put my hands on the photos that I have. So I bit the bullet and bought Photoshop Elements today. As soon as it arrives I'm going to spend an hour or two every day to get my thousands of work related (and personal) photos tagged appropriately.
It doesn't matter what system or program you use to organize your photos. The important thing is that it works in such a way that you can put your finger on the photos you need in three minutes or less. If it takes longer than that you might want to consider revising your sytem.
There are many things that can get you headed in the right direction as your begin your professional career. Photos are just one example that can create a backlog later. Get a handle on them now and get yourself off to a great start.
Marian, I hope this isn't the last we hear of Photoshop Elements. I'd like to know how it goes for you. I have a folder system so everything "genealogy" either goes in a family name folder or a location folder. Useful photos for the blog, etc but not very important as genealogy records are in a special folder. Personal stuff like my own holiday or vaca pix have their own section. I don't find Picassa that useful for storage because the disk locations of those "folders" are hard to find from outside the Picassa software.ReplyDelete
Very practical advice Marian. Copyright issues can hamstring one when trying to complete an interesting article or webinar or other presentation, or even to add to a client report. Great idea!ReplyDelete
Great idea and something I am doing just on a hunch. Nice confirmation. Thank you. I use Adobe Lightroom. I does cost a little more but I look at it as investing in an incredible file cabinet. One can tag each photo on the day of import along with with adding a copyright notice to it. Also the location can be added. These notations can be done to large groups all at once. Lightroom can also modify the photo and enhance the over blown lighting or along with many other corrections. Apperature, a Mac only program, also does these same things.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you brought this up. I've been wondering about Lightroom but didn't have enough information about it. So, does Lightroom have drag and drop tags? I have Adobe Bridge which I like but it does not have the drag and drop feature which I find a real time saver.
So I guess the thing I am not clear on is whether Lighroom tags are in the meta information or whether they are a separate drag and drop like in Elements. Can you clarify that for me?
As I mentioned to Sara in the comment below I'm just looking for an organizational system because I already have the full-blown PhotoShop for editing. I've been so frustrated trying to find something simple and effective. When I saw Geoff's webinar it seemed like Elements was the solution I was looking for. But, again, I don't really have enough info on other options.
I use both Photoshop and ACDsee to edit photos. The newer versions have a very similar look. Just remember, you have to think differently in Adobe. It is different from the Microsoft world. It makes my head hurt to remember which commands are which.ReplyDelete
I'm going to be using PhotoShop Elements for organization only. I already have the full blown Adobe PhotoShop. I'm a long time Adobe geek! :)
Great post, Marian. I too have way to many photo's and while I thought I was organizing them from the beginning it is a large mess right now. I had to move everything off my computer to a hard drive and that makes it even harder to find everything. I need to find something that will work with a Mac and let me use multiple tags.ReplyDelete
I'd better start thinking about organizing photos, before they get even more out of control. Yes, I also have thousands. There is a very good suggestion in your post about a drag-and-drop tagging system. I assume that Adobe PhotoShop Elements will work for organization, without my getting the full blown Adobe PhotoShop. I'm definitely going to look into this. Thank you!ReplyDelete
In fact, the full blown Photoshop doesn't have the drag and drop organizational feature. I have it and it's not there.
Great advice Marian. I do well on item 1, as I'm a photoholic from way back and it's served me well on the blog. As to Item 2, I really need to get them more suitably labelled than they are right now. Having just bought Photoshop Elements here two days ago I was horrified, but not surprised, by how much cheaper it was there.ReplyDelete