Ok, so now you have lots of amazing digital masterpieces stored in your digital camera. What do you do with them?
The least safe place for your pictures is sitting on your camera's memory card waiting to be accidentally deleted or lost through some malfunction. It is very important to move the images to your computer so that you can organize them and view them at a reasonable size and then store them safely!
All digital cameras should come with a USB computer connection cord that will allow you to connect the camera directly to the computer. What happens then is where the tricky parts can start.
When connected to the computer, most digital cameras will be automatically recognized by the computer as just another storage place for information. However certain brands require special software in order to make the camera recognizable by the computer. It isn't always necessary to install the software to connect your camera and this software not always needed in order to make the connection work.. Your instruction manual or your local camera store can help you determine whether that special software is required. The software enclosed with the camera is usually some version of an organizer that the camera company feels will make the job of categorizing your pictures simpler and it may even include some ability to edit your images.
Whether you choose to use the camera's included software or simply let your computer's operating system decide what to do, it is simply a matter of connecting the USB cord from the camera to the computer and then turning on the camera. The presence of a new device that contains pictures should cause the computer to start the necessary software or it may just ask you what you want to do with your pictures. You will usually be give the option to either view the images right on the camera or you can ask for the images to be copied to a particular location on the hard drive of your computer. If nothing happens when you connect your camera to your computer then your computer has likely been configured incorrectly or, at the very worst, the cable connections may be faulty. You will need the help of one of our technicians to get you past that issue.
My choice for organizing pictures is the computer operating system's native organizer. In the Windows environment it is Windows Explorer and in the MAC world it is iPhoto. Both of these give you the ability to organize your pictures by moving them into folders that can be named according to events or holidays. You will also be able to view your images as thumbnails, full screen or even as a continuous slide show. The software that comes with the camera is also a good choice but some software packages have the tendency to "take over" all of the images tasks on your computer and this isn't always the best option. You will have to evaluate this and see what software you are most comfortable with.
Whatever you do, after getting your pictures into your computer, it is important to realize that the are still not completely safe. Computers have been known to "blow up" or otherwise fail at the most inconvenient times. You want to safeguard your images from loss by storing them on some kind of removeable media. The very safest method is to print the images at your local camera store because the printed image will have to be completely, physically destroyed in order to get rid of it. If you don't want to take the time to print them immediately, then the next safest storage media is the CD or DVD. If nothing else you should be storing your images out of the computer on a CD so that you can retrieve them in the event of a computer meltdown. If you are having difficulty figuring out how to make a CD or DVD on your own computer, your local camera store may be able to provide you with some instruction or they should provide the service of copying your images directly from the camera card to a CD/DVD for a small fee.
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