My family and I visited the museum the other day here in LA to see the renowned King Tut exhibit. It will be the last time much of the collection will be able to be seen outside of Egypt, ever! The key word here is “seen”, as in looking at something and experiencing the use of our sensory ability called sight. If I am starting to sound sarcastic it is because as I wandered around the exhibit looking at all these ancient marvels, I also started to notice that many of those around me were not actually looking at the relics, but walking around and taking photo after photos of them with their mobile phones.Read More
Life in Focus
Navigations of a professional photo organizer, photographer and father
I deal with the same challenges and frustrations you do. I'm always searching for, and trying to keep up with the latest photo technologies and tips, so let me do all the hard work and sort it all out for you.
In 1974 my brothers Tim and Nico took a trip out the Midwest to visit their grandparents. My stepmother Susan was originally from Minnesota but her parents had relocated to Missouri and so the family took off for the heartland. Along the way they stopped for a visit to Mount Rushmore.
I love this shot that my father took. The quintessential snapshot would have typically had my brothers facing the camera, framed from head to toe (because we all know how important it is to include footwear in meaningful family portraits), with the four presidents shrunk to minuscule versions of themselves in the background.Read More
I recently had a chance to visit the fire zone in Agoura and Malibu, this was the wildfire called the Woolsey Fire that scorched parts of LA and Ventura Counties in November of 2018. It burned almost 100k acres, destroyed over 1600 homes and killed three people. Almost 300,000 people had to evacuate their homes, and it was many days before they could return because of fallen power lines and the danger from falling trees and branches. Most were lucky to return to intact homes, but many were not.Read More
I am always telling my clients that we all need to become the editors of our own life story, but sometimes figuring out what makes a photo worth keeping and adding to our story isn’t so easy. I’ve been a photo editor for years, but the criteria I used for professional editing and what I might consider for editing family photos isn’t necessarily the same.
What they both have in common is story telling, that’s what editing is. But while a professional edit requires a certain level of technical quality, family photos are more about emotional connections to people, places and things, the stuff memories are made of.Read More
…scanned from my archive. Boris Lenoff, Fire Island 1958. While growing up, there were always certain photos that seemed to be present, either in frames on the wall, taped to cabinets, stuck to the fridge or in one of the several photo albums lying around. My father and my mother’s father Boris, were usually the photographers of most of the family photos, so they aren’t present in as many of the family photos as other family members. Boris was a professional photographer, so like myself, he was usually much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.Read More
In addition to being a photo organizer and photographer, I have also been a photo editor for much of my career. Photo editing entails culling down what is usually an enormous number of images to a concise and hopefully cohesive story. Editing is story telling, and an editor must take an objective and sometimes ruthless approach in order to achieve the goal of creating an understandable story with meaning and purpose.
However when it came time to doing that with pictures of my own kid, all my professional training went out the window.Read More
Depending on what part of the country you live in, natural disasters can strike, and strike fast. While here in California we are bracing for another torrid wildfire season (and it’s always earthquake season), the Gulf States are readying themselves for a hurricane season that seemingly gets more intense each year. Other parts of the country can experience tornados, floods and Nor’easters.
Natural disasters can be horrific, but fires and floods in your home can also cause terrible damage and wipe out most, if not all belongings.
So of course you grab your kids and pets, but what is next on the list, that’s if you even have the time? Many people grab the family photos. But as we are living in the age of digital, the question has to be asked – do you know which hard drive to grab? And what about your older prints and albums?Read More
How many photos will you have in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Kinda scary right? And what about videos? Yikes!
Aside from the holidays, summer is the time of year we take a lot of pictures. Taking lot of pictures is great, but taking so many that you don’t even want to look at them, let alone edit them, is not OK. Also ballooning the storage on your phone is not fun, so let’s focus on quality not quantity this summer. Here are a few ways to do that.Read More
“Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.” ~ Susan Sontag. Funny, when I read that, I totally related to it, as someone who was a professional travel photographer for over 20 years, that sentiment was right on. But if you read the rest of the passage in Sontag’s On Photography, the collections of writings she did about photography, well it turns out she did not really intend it in a positive way. She was essentially saying that when we travel, we can often use the camera and the act of photographing as a way of limiting our experience of traveling.Read More
…scanned from my archive. Mom, circa 1928. Mom just celebrated her 96th birthday last week. She’s here in LA, a long way from her Brighton Beach, Brooklyn roots, but she is close to her family, especially her grandson, and that is more important to her than geography. These are a couple of photos taken in her father’s photo studio which was located on the first floor of the apartment building she grew up in. The entrance to the building was on Brighton 4th street, but my grandfather’s studio was entered to directly from the Coney Island Boardwalk, just a hop, skip and a jump from the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.Read More
Sounds like the diagnosis of a patient, right? Well like the human body, a photo collection is really a system of connections, and if all is not well with that system, it doesn’t work quite the way it should.
As a professional photo organizer, when I see a client for the first time, I actually do a diagnosis of their photo collection to see how healthy it is. I’ve seen some pretty sick photo libraries in my time, but thankfully no terminal cases so far.
So the question becomes, what makes up a healthy photo collection? Basically I am looking to see how it works in these six areas:
Is it organized?
Are images findable?
Are images accessible?
Is the collection safe?
Can images be shared?
Is it endurable?
The Apple Photos app exists both on your computer as a desktop application, and as a mobile app on your iPhones and iPads.
The way Apple Photos typically works is it uses your iCloud account to sync your photos between your computer and your mobile devices. Apple calls it Hand Off, the idea being that if you take a photo on your iPhone, it will then sync (or hand off) that photo up to iCloud, which then syncs it down to your computer (and other devices you may have).
When you edit a photo on one device, it updates that photo on all other devices. And when you delete a photo on one device it also deletes it on all other devices, this is very important to remember.Read More
The Holidays are upon us and that means we are going to be taking a lot more pictures than usual. All good, except when the storage on our phones or laptops starts to max out and we have to scramble to free up space. Here are some Apple Photos settings that can help you avoid that mess and get you set up the right way.Read More
My first video - How to use keyboard commands to quickly and easily navigate Adobe Lightroom.
One of the questions I get asked the most is “When I’m using Apple Photos, what is the best way to share my photos with others?”
You could use the Apple Family Sharing plan, but that will entail a bit of a set up, plus a subscription fee for iCloud storage (This would be in addition to any iCloud account you may already have in your name).
Some folks have asked me if they could have other family members sign into their iCloud account. The problem with that is everybody who signs in will not only have their photos shared, but also their Contacts, Documents and whatever else they have backed up to iCloud as well. Not a good answer!
The easiest way and cheapest (its free) way to share your photos is to use iCloud Photo Sharing. This is how it works.Read More
Why get organized? Why should I organize my photos? As a Photo organizer, I sometimes take for granted that we should just all organize our photos, but getting organized for organized sake is not going to be a good answer if that question should pop up from a potential client and I am unprepared.
Bringing Life into Focus was a talk I created based on my family history and personal experience of going through and organizing my own family photos. But it wasn’t the organizing that was the important part, it was the insight and perspective I gained as a result of that experience.
Starting down that road was interesting for me. I have been a professional photographer for many (many), years and back in 1996 I had formed my own photo agency. Read the whole articleRead More
I came across Lyn on a website listing alternative photo cataloging apps. I had been looking for a simple, desktop-based photo management program to offer as an option to my clients. Aside from Apple Photos, there is a trend towards cloud based image platforms such as Google Photos that offer no desktop management at all. Lots of my clients like working on their desktop and don’t like being forced to do all their work on the web. Also, with so much hacking going on, I think it’s asking for trouble to be completely reliant on web based platforms. Read whole article...Read More
Adobe Lightroom is a great way to catalog and edit your photos but it can be a very intimidating program to work with. Here is a recent article I wrote that tries it make it a little simpler to use. Hope it helps.
Many years ago during my misbegotten youth, I worked as machinist in the San Francisco shipyards. It was there I learned two very important lessons. First, you can lose a finger. Second, make sure you have the best tool to get the job done right. Happily I can report that I still have all ten digits. During my later years as a photographer, photo agency owner and now, photo organizer, Adobe Lightroom has proved, since its inception, to be the most valuable tool at the center of my workflow. Read the whole article...Read More
Scanning and restoring old color prints can be a tricky process. Trying to make it look brand new is not always possible or even desirable. We want to evoke and bring back the memories, not make it look like it was taken yesterday.
While it is not realistic to restore every print that you want scanned, the good ones, maybe the images you will want to print in an album or hang on the wall, are worth the time. I can scan hundred and thousands of your old prints quickly and inexpensively, and restore your favorite ones back to life. Learn more here...