As I prepare for the launch of the 2010 Library of Memories class at Big Picture Scrapbooking, I started considering switching to a digital version of the LOM system. I spent a lot of time and money to start this system and felt really energized and reinvested in my scrapbooking creativity, but I haven't really used or kept up with it. So much still sits on my computer because I take SO many pictures, it would be overwhelming in time and especially cost, to keep up with it. So maybe a digital version is the answer for me. However.... when I started this LOM group on yahoo, I also started using ACDSee to catagorize the existing photos I had on my hard drive. Over the course of a few weeks, I spent about 30-40 hours working on getting all my photos tagged. But alas, after several hard drive crashes in my computer enhanced life, you would think I had learned my lesson and started backing EVERYTHING up! But I didn't. And I lost it all. Including three months worth of photos. Thankfully, I had printed some of those because of the LOM system and had (some of) them already printed so I could re-scan them. Now, as I consider re-organizing my system and switching to digital, I was a bit weary of investing all the time to re-catagorize everything and risk losing it again. So I wanted to make sure ACDSee could do what I needed.
This week I actually sat down and read the ACDSee users manual from cover to cover. I did invest in the 2009 version a couple of years ago. I also use Picasa, which is a free photo organization system, for organizing all my digital scrapbook stuff, and either would work, but now that I actually read the ACDSee users manual, I am glad I invested in it.
So what are some of features I learned to "do" when I read the manual you ask? Well, for one, they emphasis MULTIPLE times to back up your directory often! Too bad I didn't read this earlier. But I also learned, I can keyword and categorize all of my images without having to keep them all on my hard drive.
It will automatically create image thumbnails so I can keep the larger version somewhere else outside of my hard drive and free up that space. (Speaking of which, I now religiously back up all of my images to an external hard drive and burn them to CD, like a good girl should!) I can back up the directory to CD or to my external hard drive as well and it will back up the thumbnails with it.
I also learned that using keywords rather than categorizing may suit my needs more.
I originally used a ton of categories, but then found that if I wanted to find a picture of say me and my Dad together, and I clicked on my name and I clicked on his name, it gives me every photo I am in and every photo he is in. If I use the keywords instead, I can search for keywords and specify that I only want it to show me photos with Both words, or with either word. Yay!
So now that I am about 99% sure I am going to switch to a digital LOM version, I started thinking about all the photos and film that still need to be digitized. Yikes! But it's been a fun weekend going through old film and photos and looking at all those images. Especially those from when I first started out as an amateur photographer. I miss those days where you had no choice but to shoot in Manual mode, the says of black and white film and mounted transparencies, the days where you had to rely on what you knew and couldn't see the product of what you shot until you were in the dark room. But then again, I wouldn't give up my DSLR for anything!
I don't want to sound like a spokesperson for ACDSee. There's plenty of other photo organizing software options out there. The point for me was that that something I already purchased had the capabilities to do what I need, but because I didn't take 30 minutes to sit down and read the manual, I lost out on so many more great things that it can do for me beyond what I ever imagined it could do. What I learned wasn't so much about a new program or reading a manual, but more about how I limit myself by being lazy and thinking I can figure it out on my own. Maybe this is a bigger lesson that will help me realize that a little effort now, saves a lot of frustration later.