Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Safeguard your Snapshots

I recently took a free online class on mobile photography from #PersnicketyPrints. I've been telling you, along with many others, that you need to back up your phone (and other devices) to prevent the loss of your pictures, but did you know it matters HOW and WHERE you do that?

How many of you saw poor, pathetic Dexter after his surgery? This is the picture I posted on my personal  Facebook page.

I took the picture with my phone and it has all this wonderful information attached (metadata)!

Now, compare that to the information from the SAME image, which I downloaded to the SAME phone from Facebook.

Do  you notice any differences? (FYI, I did not remove any pertinent information from the screen shot with editing, there are still no tags, but there was NO camera info...the image was downloaded, not taken.  It did categorize the image as "food" though, LOL!)

The date: my phone tells me when I actually took the picture. The downloaded image tells me when I downloaded it. Somewhat useful, but if I want to scrapbook this later, I may want the date more precise. And speaking of dates, my phone also named the image with the date. I'm not sure what the numbers from the Facebook name mean. Finally, and to my point, notice the difference in Resolution between the two! The original was 5312x2988 pixels. The download was only 528x960.

What is Resolution and why does it matter? Webster says,

 a measure of the sharpness of an image or of the fineness with which a device (such as a video display, printer, or scanner) can produce or record such an image usually expressed as the total number or density of pixels in the image 
  • resolution of 1200 dots per inch

What is a Pixel and why does it matter? Remember when TV screens where growing but some of the bigger ones were blurry if you didn't look at them just right? Those little dots of color that make up a picture are pixels.  Anyone remember Dot Matrix Printers? These actually combined dots of ink to form letters when printing.

Little dots of color make up pictures. Lots of dots = high resolution. Not so many = low resolution. Got it. Why is that important?

Did you ever try to print a picture and get the "yellow triangle?" On the #Walgreens website, this is the "low resolution" warning and means "your photo does not contain enough detail to produce a high quality printed image." You may also get this warning if you crop a picture to zoom in on the subject.

If I want to print Dexter's downloaded picture as an 8x10, that darn yellow triangle will show up, or I might buy a print and it will be blurry. Why? Facebook compresses your pictures. It needs to store a lot of information (not just pictures, cat videos too!) and get those pictures to load quickly. Facebook is a fun distraction but it is NOT a photography site. Can you imagine going to Uncle Jim's funeral and seeing a wallet size picture of him in an 11x14 frame because the resolution was too small to print  anything larger?

Now you know your phone isn't going to last forever, it could be damaged tomorrow, so you've got to get the pictures somewhere else for safekeeping. Facebook is not the place. Your computer is just as vulnerable as your phone. So, what else is there? The cloud. You can use a "major" cloud service to store your pictures. Right now mine are with photo services because I started using them pre-cloud. (I'm fairly certain they have clouds of their own.)

In a perfect world, all your pictures are on one service so you can find things easier. I have been putting my Family Tree pictures on One Drive. I have found that's the best way to link and upload/download them with the genealogy program I use.

Here's another comparison: The first bit of file info is from a picture taken on my phone and uploaded to One Drive. The second was downloaded from Facebook to One Drive. (I cropped out the file name because it's a name.) If these were pictures of your great-grandparents, which one would you print??

Here is the file info from an image I had at #Snapfish. Using their app I can upload directly from my phone. The information below is from the website. Notice that this gives me BOTH the date taken and uploaded, the camera (phone) information and the higher resolution numbers (5312x2988).

Finally, here is file data from #Shutterfly for an image that was received by text and saved to my phone, then uploaded with their app. The resolution is good and the date is close, but it would be hard to find in tens of thousands of pictures. In this day and age it might be easy to share pictures and information, but that doesn't mean that what we receive is what we will need 50 years from now.

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