I take more photos than I have time to sort through.
And, I'm not about to stop. The people I love in this world are growing up and changing, and I want to capture as much as I can. But, every month, I look at the ~300 pictures I've taken, and try to pick the best ~10-30 to save as highlights for sharing & coming back to later. You can call this "filtering", "editing", "selecting", "sorting". But, I call it "curation". My personal/family photos are the most precious images I'll see. So, my job, done right, is like a museum curator, to select, highlight, & preserve the best images for the future.
But, curation work gets boring! I'd rather not go through thousands of images. And, I don't always trust my decisions. I mean, will my wife, kids, family & friends rather see this photo or that? It's very subjective. This curation problem is what holds many of us back from properly capturing life events.
Finally, I see some hope! Google has just released a powerful feature within Google+, which Automatically Creates Highlights from your photos!
How can Google do this? Well, they have billions of images & billions of R&D dollars, and very sharp engineers, who have built automatic curation based on:
- Selecting images with faces/people.
- Picking images that have smiles
- Removing duplicates (or near duplicates), & getting the best one based on the above.
- Removing the blurred images or otherwise poor technical quality.
This doesn't just work for new photos, but works just as well for old photos that you get scanned. When you get your old 35mm slides scanned, or photos scanned by GoPhoto, they provide you a DVD with all of the images. (GoPhoto specifically provides an easy/fast upload directory on the DVD. The "web_friendly" directory is the same images as your full resolution images that are scanned, but the "web_friendly" directory has pre-compressed/shrunk images that are best for web uploading & sharing. They are 10x smaller & faster to upload to Google+ for instance.)
This will save me time, my most precious commodity lately. Sure, for key life events like weddings, I'll do the manual curation. But, 80% of the time, I'll just take all of the images from an event, and drop them into Google+, for the auto-highlights, and then send those out to the people who attended the event. That's so much easier, & quite good enough, if not better, than me "intending to do it" (but not), or picking the best photos (in my eyes), which are not "the best" that most other people would want to see.
There's just so much great about this article, I have to pass it along: NY Times on "The Family Stories That Bind Us"
We really do bond strongly when we share experiences, stories, and especially if those stories show how we got through hard times.
But, I recognize how hard it is to get the attention of the youngsters. They are so distracted by their peers & their gadgets. Words alone don't get through. That's why you need to sit down & share old photos with them. It's those old photos and old slides that will lighten up the kids' eyes, get them to not only listen, but ask tons of questions.
This isn't just a fun activity, but it's proven to really enrich your family's life & cohesion in the long term. And, it's proven to give your youngsters the broader identity, with survival over hardships, to give them the confidence & fortitude to bear the future.
Prints! From scans. Made easy
As CEO of GoPhoto, I've been hearing from many of my customers that in addition to getting their photos scanned, they also want to get some prints too. For years, we've been simply passing this on to other companies. But, we recently partnered with another good, small, but growing high-quality US provider. Let me introduce them: Photozini
Photozini makes simple, high quality "magazines" (prints) from your digital files. There's no way better to understand it, & see how easy it is, than with a FREE TRIAL
FIRST FIFTY FREE
The first 50 people who request a Photozini customized photo magazine of their GoPhoto scans will get it absolutely free. No credit card to enter. Just one click to request it.
To redeem: Just enter your GoPhoto gallery online, and edit any album of those slides, negatives, or photos we already scanned for you. Then, click the invitation at the top of the screen to request the Photozini magazine print of that album. Our teams will take care of the rest & contact you when it's on it's way. We already have your images online, and your address on file, so it's super super easy.
And, here's what it looks like: Nice & clean, with full page photos, very small margins (just enough for your notes when sharing/archiving).
So, it's never been easier to get modern prints made out of your old photos. It's a great new way to hold those vacation photos, wedding photos, family reunion photos in your hands again & share them with the ones you love.
Yes, we do enjoy our devices. The entertain us. They inform us. They connect us. Wait... They connect us? Maybe if we're far away & want to stay in touch, yes. But, when we've come from far away & are sitting in the same room as our family, they tend to separate us & distract us.
As the holidays approach, many of us travel long distances, suffering through crowds, traffic, airplanes. We suffer large costs, inconveniences. And, for what? To sit in front of our phones or tablets in the same room? Really?
Well, here's a simple game to get people to do some minimal human interaction before they zone out: "The Holiday Party Phone Game" as follows:
1. Everyone at the party must put their phone (or tablet) on a stack.
2. If you take your device off the table, you must either:
A) Take a picture of the youngest & oldest people at the party together. You must find them, get them to sit together or do something silly together, and take a picture. You MUST get that picture to the host of the party, either by email/online methods, or by using the host's camera.
B) Or: You must tell a story (nice one please) about someone older than you at the party to at least 2 other people.
3) Everyone, host included, who takes their phone off must do this, to be fair, & keep it fun.
You can alter the punishment if you have better, more creative ideas. Just be sure to make the rules fair, clear (put them on a sheet of paper by the stack), & focused on real human interaction.
I hope you have great parties with your family & friends. And, did you know we can make parties even more fun by getting those old photos scanned to digital & shared? Just visit us at GoPhoto.com to get started.
What is "HollyWood"? Content or Distribution?
In the past, Hollywood was a physical place where innovators gathered to create content. To get that content to the audiences, it was natural that distribution needed to grow to support the ecosystem. So, over time, both content & distribution where partnered & intermixed, & seen as "one" entity. (Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers, etc.)
But by 2012, distribution can be (and should be) separated from content creators. No longer are the interests of distributors the same as the interests of creators. Old "Hollywood" is clinging to a false belief that "going outside their approved distribution models is equal to stealing from creators". It's only stealing from archaic distributors, who themselves don't usually offer much % to the real creators.
When I look at the MPAA and their efforts to make alternate distribution methods illegal, it'd be like letting Walmart make Amazon.com illegal, as they are challenging Walmart's physical distribution with online distribution.. All the while, pretending to help the poor toaster manufacture. (Of course, the toaster manufacturer would love to have more, & cheaper new distribution channels.)
Distribution is radically cheaper online. And, only fraudsters would not pass along some of those efficiencies to the people at either end of the value chain.
YouTube is of course a huge distribution network, where creators can upload & reach audiences for FREE (or even get paid real $!). Even if you don't use YouTube, but build your own site, it costs just 30 cents of bandwidth to let your customer get your "DVD's worth" of content, without the shipping, materials, & labor, which totals at least $5, not including all of the headaches & physical processes to manage.
Creators of content are justifiably excited by the lower costs of distribution. Now, nearly everyone with a combination of real intention, some skill, and time & friends, can seriously put together interesting stories online. They don't need old distribution models (which support massive billboard/magazine/TV ads for just a few big hits). They can start by sharing their online story with friends, & if it's good, it'll spread naturally.
So, now, the real issue that any content creator has, is.... discovery. How can the right audience find the right content? Social sharing helps, sure (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, etc). But, I'm really excited to see new "channels" getting built, & taking off. Machinima, StyleHaul, and more channels are simply bringing together multiple quality creators of content, for their audiences to find them more efficiently. They are getting millions of views per day, & justifiable attention. It's those channels that are bridging the "social discovery" with "mass market passive consumption based on channels".
The future is inevitable. Digital, cheaper, wider distribution is here to stay.
Those that fight digital distribution will simply be leaving the future to other players.
In all future discussions on piracy, DRM, Hollywood, etc.... I believe we'll get to a better future, faster, if we separate "distribution" from "content creation" in our discussions.
OK. Enough on this off-topic, & back to my focus: Getting things scanned & preserved for families across America.
It's with great pride that I can share with you, that GoPhoto won recognition as one of the Top 100 Private Companies in the "OnHollywood" national event this month!
What does this mean? Well, the OnHollywood event is a gathering in.... (you guessed it)... Hollywood. It's a 2-day event focused on what's happening in Consumer Media. The world is undergoing rapid change, and Hollywood & Media are of course caught in the whirlwind of change. In the last 100 years, we've invented & obsoleted format after format.
The human experience revolves around stories. Every generation creates stories, both real & fictional, to entertain & enlighten. Those stories define us.
Most of the other companies in the list are big media companies like Hulu, Spotify, and others who are really just another way for big companies to publish to consumers through new digital channels.
In contrast, GoPhoto makes it easy to capture & share your own family's "Personal Hollywood". Think of it this way: When you're reflecting on your own life, and telling grandkids someday about your life.... Will you tell them all about Goodfella's? Princess Bride? Citizen Kane? Sure. But, more importantly, you'll want to tell them about where you came from. What life was like. Where your parents came from. Those personal memories define you. And, I believe, your kids & grandkids really want to hear more about where they came from than watch another Hollywood sequel.
There's no easier way to share those stories than over you own family photos. And, there's no easier way to share those family photos & stories, than to have GoPhoto do all the work. Let GoPhoto scan photos, scan slides, & convert video to DVD, for you today!
As there's only 1 month left of summer, I'm reminded to "Get'er Done!". Here's my list:
Get to the pool with the family to cool off & relax.
Make one of Mom's summer recipes to share. My favorite is the cool Jello Cake.
Camp in the backyard with the kids.
Get the rest of my Dad's slide scanning project done. He has so many good ones from summers back in the 70's, and I want to go through them with my kids to get more ideas of summer traditions I want to keep going with the next generation.
Also, my Dad has some Super 8mm film buried away too. GoPhoto can transfer that now too (8mm movies, Super 8mm movies, 16mm movies, with or without sound, all taken care of!). So, that's another one for my "MUST DO" list. There's gold in there!
I hope you all enjoy the last month of summer, & squeeze in as much fun as you can, while still getting some projects done too!
Everything must change. And, so it goes, that Kodak, after nearly a century of rightful dominance, is falling. But, will today's titans (Apple, Google, Facebook) claim a legacy as strong as Kodak's? Let's talk a bit about that legacy with the respect it deserves.
But first, in case you didn't already know: Kodak has sold their online photo management site to Shutterfly. Kodak is attempting to sell off many of it's patents. Kodak is even exiting the digital camera business! Even after Kodak invented the digital camera!
So, it seems like Kodak is almost done with a painfully slow death. But, kids today don't appreciate all that Kodak has done. It dominated the entire 20th century, from start to finish, by transforming how nearly every human sees their world. The memories you have from your life, which define you as a person, are ~90% from Kodak pictures, & 10% from your fuzzy memory. This is no small claim, & company's today can't make similar claims, as most of what's done today are smaller, more incremental steps.
From the introduction of the Brownie in 1900, which brought, for the first time, the ability for middle class people to capture every day life, to the spectacular quality of Kodacrhome slides. If you were alive in the 1950's through 1970's, I bet your entire life at that time is captured on either Kodachrome or Ektachrome.
So, they were leaders for a surprisingly long dynasty, (~1900-1990). Spanning the era's before, during, & after entire other industries were invented & obsoleted (like VHS and 8mm). Almost no other brand has been as influential & valued by families & done so for 3+ generations. Will Apple, Facebook, Google, & other of todays leading companies still be relevant in 2080?
So, I really respect & honor Kodak, their accomplishments & legacy. But, it's time to move on. They have. We should. It's time go "go digital". It's so much easier to share digital photos. (Even if it might at times seem harder for you to go digital, it's the way your kids & grandkids are sharing, so if you want them to see their family legacy, you need to get it to them digitally.)
GoPhoto is here to help. We have a full photo scanning service to make this transition EASY. Get those old 35mm slides to us, and let us bring your family's legacy forward to last even longer than Kodak's.
The Atlantic Coast is suffering under hot conditions, but Colorado is the place really burning up right now! Wildfires are threatening one of the most beautiful areas right smack in the center of the USA. I have old friends in Colorado, who justifiably brag about what a great life they have there. I really wish they make it out OK, with minimal loss of life, homes, parks, & lifestyle.
It just reminds me.... What's the first (non-living) thing you'd take from your house in a fire? If you're like most, it's not your iPad, your TV, your clothes. It's your family photos, slides, negatives, VHS tapes, & journals.
But, if you wait for a disaster to strike, it's too late. I know many of us "intend" to get all of those family images digitized, going from physical to digital, so everything's protected. Then, we can have peace of mind, with one less thing to worry about in case of disaster. Plus, once digital, it's not only protected, but also easy to share with family today.
Let this remind us to finally GET IT DONE.
It seems like today, every good company must use some elements of social marketing. I just didn't know that this was also common practice ~150 years ago!
As you can see from the Marine's recruiting poster during the American Civil War, even back in 1851, they put some good marketing practices to use.
Tell a friend: $2 (a week's pay for a private) bonus for bringing a friend.
Repeat customer bonus: $2/month more if you survive & stay enlisted each year.
At GoPhoto, we're not asking for your life! But, we can promise a great adventure! We make it really easy for you to have a great time looking back at those old 35mm slides and old photos. Let us help you make your photo scanning project easy.