A Perfect Time To Read This Article By Debbie Zeitman

As we continue in our theme of sharing,saving and accessing your photographs, we bring you an article, by reader Debbie Zeitman, which hits right on target with us.

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    Liberate Your Photos
    by Debbie Zeitman

Digital photography makes it easy to leave your photos locked up in your computer, meticulously backed up and protected, but largely invisible. Yes, they’re simple to share by email and to post to Flickr or a personal website, but what about the times you want to sit back and reflect?

For me there is nothing like turning the pages of a photo album, images placed in order, captioned, edited, and thoughtfully displayed. When my photos reside inside iPhoto or Aperture, I call them up effortlessly, but the choices are endless, and since I seldom toss out the less desirable shots, there’s a lot to pore through. Even when placed in organized folders, it’s just not the same as stepping away from the computer for viewing.

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I’ve become a big fan of liberating my photos and designing photo books to be printed and kept on my living room shelf. Memories become more precisely organized and the feel of a book in my hand can’t be beat. Sitting beside someone on a couch and looking through a book together simply feels better than sitting in front of a computer screen as images flash by. At least to me. In moments of computer sharing I start to feel as if I’m treating a visitor – even an eager viewer – to one of those slide shows of ‘Look at my vacation’ mocked in countless movies to reveal the obliviousness of the host.

But when someone holds a book of photos in their hand, the reaction turns to that of engagement. They move through the images at their own pace. They pause and ask questions and relive your moments beside you. And I find I look over these books far more frequently and with greater enjoyment than I do when parked in front of a computer.

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I’ve started giving photo books as gifts, at times using photos I’ve snapped at a meaningful event such as a wedding or birthday or even a fun, casual gathering. Other times I ‘borrow’ the photo library of a family member or friend and layout and purchase the book for them. It’s a gift that is never outgrown and never becomes a trinket to discard (well, maybe in the event of an ugly divorce, but I’ll let that one go…)

So far I’ve used iPhoto to create my books, though now that I’m an Aperture user, I’m eager to test out its offerings due to the flexibility of creating your own layout and having Aperture’s vast adjustment tools nearby. The ability to caption and note key facts to go along with a photo can turn your book into a mini journal as well. And this is a great way to connect your kids to their memories. Hand them a camera on a trip, encourage them snap away, and when back home let them create their own book of their experience. There are plenty of online sites that offer similar services as well, such as Blurb, Shutterfly, Picaboo and countless others.

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When I speak of this to many point-and-shoot users who don’t see themselves as photographers, a look of fear crosses their face and words emerge that mimic, “I don’t know how to do that.” In response I say, “Trial and error. It’s actually quite easy.”

And it is and the results don’t disappoint. Give it a try and get your photos out of your computer and into your living room.

To contact Ms. Zeitman, email her at :wavewatcher@verizon.net

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