The family album is almost a thing of the past. Now we share photographs by passing round the mobile phone or the camera or if you are a bit more tech savvy you may post the images on Facebook, an Internet image sharing site like Flickr, Photobucket, Shutterfly etc. Or you may even have your own photoblog or website. Other alternatives are Digital Photo Frames, CD's DVD's etc. My son-in-law uses his Playstation and shows his on the TV. Or more likely you have thousands of images on the Hard Drive of you r PC or Laptop which no one will ever get to see.
The only problem with digital storage of photographs is the media is prone to corruption or deterioration or obsolescence! How may sorts of storage media have there been in your lifetime. How many more will there be in our kids or grandkids time?
In my opinion there is nothing like looking through a photo album. I am luck enough to have albums created by my grandfather who was a photographer in the early 1900's and my by my mother who was an avid snapper. She had the forethought to go through all her albums and notate the photographs with names, dates and places, which was fantastically helpful when I started on some family history research.
So what are the options? I decided two years ago to start putting photobooks together. I started by collecting together photographs of my 5 grandchildren. I used them to create a photobook for parents and grandparents as a present at Christmas. I am delighted to say that they went down a treat, everyone was delighted. Particularly the grandchildren who constantly refer back to them with great pleasure.
I use Blurb, you have two choices for creating your books an on-line publisher or a downloadable publisher, Both are easy to use and can be configured to be either simple to professional quality with various options in between. The site contains loads of help, videos, tutorials etc. You can stop and start making your book, it is saved automatically and can be alterer right up until you place your order. If you do find a mistake or want to change something you can re-edit at any time.The finished books are excellent quality paper and feel and look like a professionally made book. Check out the website and have a go.
Picasa, my favourite freebie photo editing software just had a major facelift. Picasa version 3.9 is now available to download or as an upgrade. I surprised to find a whole host of new goodies plus a few irritations, mainly changes to layout.
First the good stuff, there is increased connectivity with the net. A big green button for sharing on Google+, 24 new effects for twiddling your images and side by side editing, updated raw support. Also support for WebP is a new image format that provides lossless and lossy compression for images on the web.
On the irritating side they have moved some of the buttons off the toolbar at the bottom of the page, Movie and Collage in particular. Movie is changed its name to Video and is accessed through the Create drop-down menu. Or you can reinstate the Video (Movie) and the Collage buttons by going to Tools> Configure buttons> and use the Add option to place these buttons back where they belong. But why do they do these things in the first place? More information from the Picasa website.
If you have never tried Picasa you should, it is more than just a photo editor, it will organise your images, catalogue them, sort out duplicates, prepare images for the web, create movies, slideshows, CD's and much much more. It will never take over from Photoshop but for some jobs it is a whole lot quicker and easier, removing red eye for example.
Download Picasa from here.