Thursday, February 28, 2019

What You're Really Signing Up For with Digital Photo Storage

A couple of years ago, a woman came to me wanting to know more about all this photo privacy stuff I've been talking about.  She said she had just learned that the online photobook company she'd been using for a couple of years reserves rights to all the photos uploaded to their site!  This means they could use pictures of this woman's baby in their advertising if they want.  Or sell them.  She was very concerned about photo privacy and dropped that company like a hot potato when she found out Heritage Makers does not reserve rights to your photos--they are completely private and solely yours.

The company this woman was dropping is, I believe, the most popular online photobook company out there.  Because of that (and probably because I'm a 14-year user of Heritage Makers and am quite accustomed to how they do things), I will admit that in the back of my mind I kind of didn't believe this gal.

I thought:  A company using your photos without your permission?!  How can that possibly be?!?

Guess what.  It's true.  

This scary article, {Those Cloud Photo Services... What's the Risk?} confirms it, along with several others linked there.  According to Darla at HeartWork Organizing, many public services take the rights to your photos when you upload them to their site.  This includes Google Photos, Facebook, iCloud, Flickr, and really any social media platform.  Once you upload your photos to their site, you are giving them your photosThey own them.

As just one example, Darla quotes the Google terms of use--what you are signing up for when you click "I accept."
"When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display, and distribute such content."
 "This license continues even if you stop using our service."
"Google may also stop providing Services to you, or add or create new limits to our services at any time." 
Okay, then.  Are your eyes as wide as mine are right now?

Darla's article also includes four links to stories of people's photos being used without their knowledge, including one where a family in Pennsylvania finds out that their picture had been used on a political ad flyer.

In talking with Caren Osborne, a {professional photo organizer at Memory Lane Photo Solutions}, I learned a few more things that I didn't know about Google and iCloud.  Many people sync their phones to one of these "photo storage" methods, so they think their photos are safe up there in the cloud.  However, what most people don't know is that once you delete a photo from your phone, it's deleted from Google or from iCloud, too.  That's what syncing with your phone does--it connects the two, so whatever happens on your phone happens in the cloud, too.  

And I can't even tell you how many people have told me that they can't ever find their photos when they use iPhoto.  But that's another story.

Let me give you a way to avoid this, a way to keep your photos private!  

2022 UPDATE:  Heritage Makers will soon be retired and photo storage will not be a part of the new website.  In 2021,  I was introduced to Forever which also offers private, full-resolution photo storage.  Forever goes a step further to offer permanent photo storage, meaning Forever guarantees your photos for your lifetime plus 100 years.  They do this by offering ownership of your storage--you buy it and therefore own it.  You don't rent it or pay a maintenance fee.  Your photos are even triple-backed-up with Forever Storage. There are lots more perks with Forever Photo Storage (which includes the ability to store video and audio files as well) which you can find at this informational webinar I taught in February:

In this webinar we talked about the fine print in many more photo cloud storage companies, too.

And here's how you can organize your photos well (and tag them, too!) in your Forever account:

If you do a web search for the best ways to store your digital photos, you'll find suggestions to store them two ways digitally and one way in print.  

Have you ever thought of having your photos in a book or album as photo storage?  Well, it is!

Print continues to be a largely overlooked and much more useful and satisfying form of photo storage.  You're still storing (preserving, really) your photos when you print them in a book or scrap page, and it's better than digital storage because photos are usually easier to find and easier to enjoy.  A page provides a place to record memories that belong to those photos, too, which is what makes the photo worth anything at all!

Forever allows you to store photos digitally and "store" (preserve!) them in print.

Forever also offers media conversion (digitizing VHS, slides, etc.).

Here's where it gets better.  Not only are your digital photos stored privately at full resolution, but the projects you create and print are, too.  That means it's not just your photos that are safely stored--it's your precious memories, too.  

Memories are what make photos mean something.  

So if this isn't what you currently get with your digital photo storage, you may want to drop your current choice like a hot potato.  

Share this important information!  Tweet, Pin, e-mail, or share this article on Facebook.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Storybook Charities--and How to Donate

Heritage Makers believes--correctly--that everyone has a story.  Since publishing the {first personal storybook} well over a decade ago, Heritage Makers has recognized not only the need for a storybook in every home but the needs of two extra special groups of people.

Both of the programs I'll be telling you about today are managed by {My Story Matters.  Please visit their website for more information.

They provide sweet Heritage Makers (heirloom-quality) storybooks as needed keepsakes for families who face early infant loss.  These books are a treasured memory.

This cause is very personal to me.  You can read about how early infant loss has touched my family here:  {Healing From Grief through Family Stories}.  Unfortunately, many families lose little ones, so you may know one.  To nominate a family to receive a free book through this charitable program, or to donate to it, find more information at {this link}.

My Story Matters also provides personalized Heritage Makers storybooks for children living in homeless shelters.  In some cases, these books are the only photos the children have of themselves, and these storybooks raise self-esteem while providing positive reinforcement and hope.

To nominate a child to receive a free book through this charitable program, or to donate to it, find more information at {this link}.

You may donate unexpired Heritage Makes publishing points, cash, or your own time to create books for both of these causes.  

"To be doing good deeds is man's most glorious task."  -Sophocles

Please pin to share this important cause.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Celebrating 100,000 Blog Visits with a photo yearbook giveaway!


Today we're celebrating passing the 100,000 blog visits milestone at LifeTales Books!  To thank you for all those visits, we're going to celebrate with a giveaway!

We don't often scroll through the digital images we have on our phones or computers, and when we do they are lacking the most important part of them--the STORY!  Or you might call them the memories.  One of my favorite ways to get those cherished snapshots into lives and hearts is with a yearbook.

yearbooks photo credit:  Denise Pehrson
I have 3 big reasons for loving yearbooks:
  1. The layout helps you out of Photo Overwhelm by encouraging you to choose 4-10 of your FAVORITE photos each month.  So often, we clog up our phones/cameras with photos we don't really need.  (Do you have 8 photos of essentially the same thing?  Do you have photos that were fun for the moment but wouldn't miss if they were gone?)  Just choose favorites!!  (Don't have 4 photos from a given month?  That's okay, too.)
  2. The yearbook is so well-organized!  You'll preserve your favorite photos and memories from one year in one slim book.  No mess, no hassle, no confusion.
  3. Because you're just focusing on ONE year instead of all the photos you own, you avoid additional Photo Overwhelm by staying laser-focused.
Of course, these are Heritage Makers yearbooks, so they're completely personal (no getting stuck in a template that doesn't fit you) and they're top-quality!  You're welcome to read {all the reasons I choose Heritage Makers} right there.  

Did you know that PRINT is one of the best photo storage methods there is!?  If you search "best photo storage methods," you'll get varying opinions, but the one thing they'll have in common is a recommendation to make sure you print your photos.  Print allows you to add the story (memories), yes, but it's also the least risky photo storage method.  (Ever had your computer crash?  Ever had a file become unreadable?  Remember floppy disks?  I rest my case.)

Without the additional charge of my hourly rate for creating books, this prize would be a $52 value.  However, since I'm putting it all together for you (bonus!), this comes out to be a $180+ prize!!

So let's enter the photo yearbook giveaway already!  Hurry and enter--it only runs from February 5-12, 2019.  There are multiple ways you can enter, and a couple of them you can do once a day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are chosen as the winner, keep reading so you'll know what you will need to do.  

If you are not the winner, you have two similarly fantastic options!  Option #1 is to check out this video, "How to Stop Being Overwhelmed by Your Pictures: a yearbook tutorial."  Everything you'll need to know is there, including ideas for going from an overwhelming amount of photos to a manageable amount.  And, of course, I show you how simple it is to create a yearbook!

Option #2 is to use my Digital Scrapbooking For Hire services.  I can be your memory-keeping partner, rolling up my sleeves to do all the work.

Now here's what the giveaway winner will do:
  1. Choose the year's worth of pictures you'd like to have preserved.  (2018, 2012, whatever)  (If you need photo organization tips so you can find all your pictures, {this video tutorial} will be your new best friend.)
  2. Choose from three styles of yearbooks.  There are actually lots of family yearbooks by Heritage Makers, but I've just picked three to simplify things for me.  You can see them {right here}, including page-by-page previews so you can choose the book that fits your style best.  If you'd really like a different style, I can work with you, so let me know.  
  3. E-mail me 4-10 of your favorite pictures from each month of that year, along with a little description of who is in the photos, where they were taken, what memories you have of them, etc.  So, for example, the first e-mail you'll send me might say "January 2016  Jane's birthday party was so fun because..."  You'll need to e-mail pictures to me in full resolution (highest quality).
  4. I do the work, you get the benefits.  :)  It doesn't get any easier than that!
Good luck!  And from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for all the blog visits, comments, pins, shares, tweets, and general support at LifeTales Books.