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How to find photos on your phone? Here’s how I do it.

How to find photos on your phone? Here's how I do it.

FINANCIAL NEWS

How to find photos on your phone? Here’s how I do it.

Jefferson Graham

| USA TODAY
If you’re like me, USA TODAY reader Denise, and so many other people I know, your smartphone has become overrun with photos and finding a specific one is a massive chore. As Denise Welch wrote this week: “Do you have any good recommendations for organizing/storing photos? I know people have asked but curious what your set up is. Is there someone I can hire to organize mine? I wish I was kidding.”I’m happy to tell you how I do it, and other photographers as well. Here’s what you need, some spare time to add information to your photos and access to these apps/websites: Apple Photos, Google Photos, Amazon Photos, SmugMug and/or, Adobe Lightroom.  I shoot thousands of photos yearly, on cameras and a smartphone, so how I organize photos may be a little more intense than you may want to do, but let’s start with my method.  Camera photos get imported to my computer and an external hard drive, where I create a specific folder for the name of the shoot, say, “Manhattan Beach sunset, December 2020.” I use Adobe Lightroom Classic, subscription software which starts at $9.99 monthly (great for photo organization and edits). I bulk name each photo (Sunsets1219) so that they pop out with a numerical order (Sunsets1219-1, Sunsets1219-2, etc.) I then upload the folder to SmugMug, the subscription service for online backup and ad-free display, and copy the folder from the first hard drive to a second one, for safe keeping. Additionally, I upload everything to Amazon’s Photos app, which offers free, unlimited storage for members of the Prime program so I have a second copy. (Because why not, it’s free? Also, Amazon has several advantages, which I’ll outline below.)Phone photos get imported to the computer after the shoot as well, and get viewed in Lightroom, where the larger real estate of the computer screen allows me to see them properly. Then, I’ll save just the ones that are worth keeping, and upload them to SmugMug and Amazon. I’ll also share them on social media, but beware. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram lower the resolution of your images drastically, so don’t think of them as online backup, just as a place to showcase your best work.Sorting by placeNow, how do others handle their photo management? Take Kristin Metcalfe, who roams around early mornings with an iPhone and a Canon Rebel DSLR taking dawn photos and posting them on Instagram as @foreverfollowingthesun.  She doesn’t rename photos or make albums of her smartphone photos but instead relies on Apple’s “Places” tool within the Apple Photos app to find images. So if it’s a sunrise in Dana Point, California or Newport Beach, she’ll find it there. “I’ve never been let astray,” she says. To use these tools, from the main Apple Photos window, click the search tab and search for the place in the search window to find the specific photo. You can also search by year, or months, where Apple categorizes specific shoots by date and place. For instance, my November iPhone collection shows Manhattan Beach photos on Nov. 11, Malibu on Nov. 22 and more Manhattan Beach on Nov. 25. Click any of these tabs, and you’ll actually get to see all the images snapped on each day of the month. It’s pretty effective for recent photos.Metcalfe, the senior director of marketing for the Catalina Island Co. also takes time to curate to whittle the phone shots down to just the best ones. “As much as I love a good sunrise, I don’t need 50 of them,” she says.Additionally, all her photos are backed up to Apple’s iCloud service, which charges her $9.99 monthly for 2 terabytes of storage. The default local option for most Android users is Google Photos, which many had to come to love due to the generous terms. Free, unlimited storage. But that changes on June 1, when Google will start charging for storage, starting at $1.99 monthly for 100 GBs, but more realistically at least $9.99 monthly for 2 TB. Photo storage on Google also includes Gmail and Google Docs, which can get very full. My Gmail accounts for 42 GBs, mostly due to all that junk mail I’ve never gotten around to deleting.This pro went with Amazon PhotosChristopher Michel, a San Francisco based pro photographer uploads everything to Google Photos, Amazon Photos and SmugMug, but will be discontinuing using Google Photos in June.He’s going to stick with Amazon Photos, which continues to be free for Prime members. Amazon search isn’t as advanced as Google’s. For instance, I did a search for “Hot Dog,” on Amazon and 2 of the 35 responses were indeed that, while the other shots were of pizza, burgers and tacos. Google showed me 74 possibilities, and got 24 right. Both do way better at locations and faces, if you’ve taken the time to use face recognition tools and name them. Michel says he believes Amazon will eventually catch up to Google with better search. “Amazon has just gotten started,” he says. “I expect there will be parity in product quality. And If I had to choose, unlimited storage at full resolution (on Amazon) is the feature I really want.”Pro tip on Amazon: when you upload photos from your computer, Amazon asks if you’d like to add it to an Album. It’s a good move to say yes, and title the album with your shoot subject. That should make it easier to find.Meanwhile, photographer Pete Halvorsen is constantly going back and forth between photos on his Leica and iPhone, so he likes using the more consumer friendly version of Lightroom (just called Lightroom, vs. Lightroom Classic) which automatically syncs photos between mobile and computer. “It makes it much easier to search through everything,” he says. Does that answer your question, Denise? Keep them coming! (But make it fast folks! My last column for USA TODAY posts on January 2.)In other tech news this weekRoku finally made peace with HBO Max, and has begun offering the app to its 100 million users. You’ll recall that HBO Max debuted in May and had issues getting on the Roku platform. To help sweeten the deal, HBO Max owner Warner Media said it would start showing all new first-run films on HBO Max on the same day as theaters. First up: “Wonder Woman 1984,” on Christmas Day.If you’re still procrastinating on buying your Christmas gifts, please get busy. The Apple HomePod Mini, Google Nest Audio and many other popular products are already sold out. No holiday gift is more in demand than the Sony PlayStation 5 or Microsoft Xbox 5. How to get one? Brett Molina and Mike Snider have some ideas. This week’s Talking Tech podcastsTim Cook nixes a TV show – so what? Consumer questions: “How do I get a PS5?””How do I unmute?””What’s the deal with 5G?””Which iPhone should I buy?””How can I make my Zoom meeting look better?””Most important tech of lockdown”


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