The Newsletter of Geoffrey Alan Photography

Edition 1 Summer 2011

Welcome to the first edition of SnapShot. I want to share practical advice to help you get the most out of your photos.

Your digital photographs.  Will your grandchildren ever see them?

Many of us enjoy looking at well-worn but loved photo albums of our childhood, parents, grandparents and maybe even great–grandparents.  But how many of us will be able to say the same of the digital photos we took ten years ago or even last summer? A recent survey found that nearly half of us had lost some of their family memories because of misplaced, stolen or failed digital cameras, mobile phones, or computers. Many were unsure exactly where they were stored or whether they were safe, and had never backed up their digital pictures.

Even when they held copies on CD’s and DVDs – and around 60% of us do this - can we guarantee that those disks will not simply get mixed in with all the other “temporary” storage media and eventually “disappear”.  Also, CDs and DVDs won’t last forever, most have a lifetime of around 10 years before they deteriorate.  Formats of some CDs and DVDs are not compatible with all computers – and remember what happened to the floppy disk! And with laptop machines getting upgraded on average every 3-5 years, or Windows re-installs earlier than that, these are not the place to ensure long term storage. SO, what can we do to ensure that the photos we have been taking for the last 10 years on digital cameras will still be around to enjoy in 50 years time? Here are some practical tips … and apologies if some are obvious.


  • leave images just on phone/camera memory cards;
  • leave images on just one computer without backing up;
  • rely on online archives – the archive you choose will probably not be around in 10 years or you may simply forget to pay the subscription!


  • Print your best pictures. Each year, either make a photobook each year or simply print your best 100 6x4” postcard sized prints and put them in a slip-in album;
  • Upload your images from phone/camera cards to a computer as soon as you have returned home, then delete the images from the phone/camera ready for your next outing;
  • Backup your images from computer to DVD media;
  • Clearly label your DVD media, perhaps keep two copies, and give one to a relative;
  • Invest in an external hard drive. They cost around £50 and can hold millions of images.



SnapShot Photo Quiz Who took the three photographs below? Email your answer together with your name to 

The first correct answerselected on 31st August 2011 will win this this elegant John Lewis Silver Plated double photo frame. (Click here for full competition rules)


1   A contemporary monarch


2   Western Wall Jerusalem

3   lunch break for skyscraper builders


What’s on

A great FREE exhibition that I recommend is London Street Photography at the Museum of London. It has a collection of over 200 candid images of everyday life. Humorous sepia-toned scenes of horse-drawn cabs in the 1860s sit side by side to 21st century Londoners digitally ‘caught on film’. On until September 2011.


Photography tip:

Great portrait shots outdoors on a sunny day.

One of the mistakes many amateur photographers make when taking portraits outdoors is to place their subject in direct sun. This throws harsh shadows across the face and looses natural skin tone. The subject is also likely to be squinting. Instead, move them into the shade or even to a position where the sun is behind. Use your digital camera’s “fill-in flash” or move the flash option to “on”. The camera will automatically expose the bright background correctly and the fill-in flash will lift the shadows from the face.  Hey presto!



In the next edition of SnapShot:

Feature: scanning transparencies/slides.

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