Everyone calls me Mamarazzi because I’m always chasing my kids around with a camera. But I can’t help it – they’re adorable and always doing charming things that need to be immortalized.
And it’s not just my kids. I’m forever photographing my dad, my friends, my dog. One time, my husband fell while putting groceries away and instead of helping him up, I lunged for my camera. I’m glad I did! Now I have a picture to go with the story of how he held up a loaf of squashed whole wheat and said, “Well, the good news is I landed on the bread.”
I love looking at pictures. I could look at my grandma-in-law’s old black and white photos for hours. I cherish every single picture I have of my mom – and there aren’t many. (She was one of those ladies who was always hiding her face from the camera, saying her hair was a mess.)
So, I consider it my job to document family memories – for the sake of my kids, myself and my future granddaughter-in-law.
In the digital age, taking photos is a snap. Which brings us to my greatest fear: of having an overwhelming, unmanageable horde of photos in the ether that could get lost or disappear forever. So here are some of the easiest, cheapest ways to keep photos safe and start the New Year with an empty cellphone.
Wrangle them. Ivy Gallery is a free phone app that gathers your digital photos from wherever they’re scattered (Picasa, Instagram, your hard drive) and puts them into a manageable stream.
Store them in the cloud. The cloud is a magical, password-protected corner of the interwebs you can access from any device. I used to be really good at backing up my digital photos to our iMac. They’re still there, trapped inside the hulking square of plastic obsolescence.
Now I upload all my photos to a private Flickr account. Dropbox, Pogoplug, Google Plus and SugarSync have free Android and iPhone apps that automatically back up smartphone photos. OK, but what if Flickr goes the way of MySpace?
Back them up on hardware. You can get a good external hard drive with plenty of space for about $100 – including the top-rated Seagate Backup Plus. You can also back photos up to CDs and thumb drives. But what if there’s a zombie apocalypse?
Print hard copies of your photos. Just like in the olden days. The biggest hassle is figuring out the cheapest place. You’ve got to do algebra to compare prices: cost per print x number of prints + shipping - coupons. I ordered 479 prints from YorkPhoto.com at 9 cents apiece plus $5.95 shipping minus a coupon code for $15 off, which came to about 7 cents per 4-by-6 print, delivered. But if you have an iPhone, you’ve got an incredible option in GrooveBook, a free app that lets you organize and print your photos in books of 100 for $2.99 apiece. That comes out to less than 3 cents per photo, each with a date stamp and perforated edge for easy framing.