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What will make you a more effective author of your memories?





Certain types of media (such as a Microsoft's Photo Story) can created and sent in a matter of minutes, turning photos into a compelling video quickly and easily.











Where it all started...for me.

This is a place where it all started for me. A place where the event of my daughter became the basis and premise for everything I was going to share. I decided that anything and everything was fair game. With a starting point (April 17th, 2000) and a destination unknown, I used a simple timeline to help build the structure of our journey together. My main audience was Chloe's grandparents. As time passed we began to share our stories with extended family and friends. I discovered that I could easily direct the attention of a specific group of friends or family via e-mail. I would send them a link to a specific story (or series of stories) I had posted. I found myself sending specific images and content via e-mail or via our digital picture frame. I invited guests to visit the site every couple of months.

My audience began to grow...














Excerpt from "The Future of Memories" --by Dane M. Howard
You might change your camera, your PC, or your hard drive a dozen times, but your memories will be forever.

When I think about the future of memories, I think about having more potential.

> The potential to tell better stories
> The potential to access and distribute memories more effectively
> The potential to build and author them faster

Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of telling effective and simple stories. The personal computer is constantly maturing into a tool that extends our reach and our voice. I can send Christmas cards to 5 or 50 people… immediately. I can author and print a beautiful mini-book… from my home office. I have more choices with my media, but less time. How can I get the effectiveness of a traditional memory album with the advantages of multimedia?
As I began to think harder about the premise of this book, I realized the dilemmas that will continue to face anyone with a camera, a PC and a little motivation:

How will you --

> Manage your Media
> Author your Events
> Distribute them “Anywhere”
> Do it Quickly

If you buy a digital camera, you’ll shoot a lot of images. If you copy them to your computer, they will reside somewhere on your personal computer. Soon you will be swimming in pictures.

That’s the problem. The technology has given us the freedom to freely choose which photos we keep or delete, but (currently) it’s really difficult to author those images into an organized index. Digital cameras increase in capacity, as will the size of your hard drive. What and who will make you a better author of memories?

Here's a roadmap:

> Ask the right questions
> Find your audience
> Work Quickly
> Choose a context

> Author when you browse
> Begin now.


Ask the Right Questions

What do you Do already?

Be sure to ask yourself questions that will bring you towards your goal, whatever that might be. Soon you will have created a rich body of work. By asking the right questions you should be able answer to whom you sharing your memories with and how you will author them.

Ask yourself some important questions:

What are my habits?

> What do I do (daily) already?
> What is the tone I’m looking for?
> Who is my main audience?
> What is the desired reaction I’m looking for?
> What do I want my body of work to look like?
> What do I already know?
> When will I most likely be shooting my photos?
> Where will I share them?


Find Your Audience

A good question to start with is: Who really benefits from this body of work you are creating? Who are you really making this for? Is this going to be for yourself or your family and friends? Will you show this to your girlfriend or your child one day? Figure out who is going to be your primary audience and then plan to direct most of your energy to speak to what this audience needs.

  The diagram above illustrates a sample social network. The source of the photos (1) is shared across different groups. The inner circle (3), which is usually more intimate, can benefit from a more in depth and frequent sharing of memories while the outer circles (2) can usually benefit from receiving just facts.


Choose a Context

Context will give your images a point of reference. Force yourself to choose images that will be building on some type of context. You may want to document and share them now, or at least have the opportunity to later. Choosing a context is a great approach to take when it comes to shooting pictures and organizing them. It is a way to plan stories and group common occurrences. I do this all the time when I shoot pictures because it gives me an assignment while shooting. I also use the technique when I am staring at about 100 pictures and I need to put them into a cohesive sequence.

A context can be just about anything... .

< Pet smells, Abstract shapes, Buildings I like, Cloud shapes, Close-up on shoes, vacation breakfasts, car-trips - scenes from my window, Dad's favorite chair, Chalk drawings, Yellow outfits, Great flowers, scenes in Mirrors, Pets in my neighborhood, Shadows in my backyard, birds-eye views, baseball jerseys, Worm's-eye views, The hands of our family, Chloe's favorite toys, The video box collection, Bike (details), bedspread patterns, The kid's sippy cups, our Morning rituals, A walk in the Park, A really fun slide, Grandpa's chores, Favorite documents >

Documenting Events around You from Dane Howard.


Its perfectly ok to choose a context that is simple. it will be a focal point for your narrative and will guide your selection process.


Author While you Browse

What do you Do already?

Many times, we try to organize all of our old images, smiling and remembering as we go. I've found that if I can capture and edit my thoughts while I'm browsing, I create an opportunity to craft and document those little memories as I go. Don't confuse browsing with authoring. You can easily spend a lot of time browsing through images with no intent or prodding to share or create a new context. If you can keep a folder, bin or concept fresh while you're browsing, you can quickly add a number of images and quick notes. Before you know it, you will be able to look into that bin and find 8 or 10 jumping-off points to quickly author and share. You can get completely stuck on the technical details of the process without focusing on authoring the media. I have always found that when I document something fresh, I begin to naturally contextualize it from the event(s) that preceded it. Any and all technical details are exposed in the process.



Begin Now

Take your camera and shoot a series on anything you like. Try to share this series with five of your closest friends or family. Send it to yourself as well. Try to do this as quickly and effortlessly as you can. You can use any means of communication you like using any and all software or techniques that you feel comfortable with.

I suggest that you pick up your camera and document something you are doing right now.


When you've documented something, ask yourself two important questions:

Were you effective? Were you satisfied with the images and the story you told? Did it communicate what you intended? Did it effectively communicate to whom you intended? More importantly, would you have been glad to be on the receiving end of this? If you were to reference it later, is there a clear indication when this event occurred and/or was published?

Were you efficient? How long did it take you from beginning to end? Did you try and tell too much or did you not tell enough? What part of the process was bogging you down? Did you feel like you had the right equipment, software or skills necessary to accomplish what you wanted? Was your idea great but your approach not so great? Did you understand all the steps you needed to take? Write down (specifically) which steps held you up. .

Take a minute and think about your authoring process. Be sure to note anything that would improve your effectiveness, timeliness, or effeciency.


If the technology allows us to do one thing, it will be to tell those stories currently untold.

Next : In-Camera >>

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Your memories are a collection of stories. These stories are some of the most valued assets you will own. There is a style and an approach that is expressively your own. It is my wish that you find it and use over and over. If you read no other section in this book, use the techniques in this section to apply to your own personalize narrative style. ..




One of the hardest things to do is to get started. Jumping into a context (or timeframe) may be difficult. A nice timeline interface (left) from Adobe's Photoshop Album provides gives you access to your images indexed automatically by time. The software will automatically organize your images based on the time & date stamp already located in the image.









The easiest time to find are those habits you have already. If you have a (recent) memory to share, begin right now. You’ll be one step closer than you were a minute ago. Find yourself a time to build an incremental body of work.















The experiences that are shared collectively might be some of the most significant and memorable for you.












Link to Microsoft Plus! PhotoStory

Using Plus! PhotoStory

The Family portrait.... Many times we rarely see this many photos in context, but it illistrates an important point: There is more to the story than the just the keeper. This is where a great little program like PhotoStory comes a long.

This little program is a run-away hit. This wizard-like interface my Microsoft allows you group photos into a seemingly rich presentation with music and narration. The output is .wmv movie file, so it is easily transportable. You can easily speak to photos in your own voice to add flavor or context to the scene. Now you can send the keeper AND provide a richer context. Most of the time the extra side stories are more interesting anyway. You learn more about the people and who they are. The more familier you get with the program, it offers quite a bit control over the timing and movement over the images. With the Plus! edition, you get an advanced tab that gives you control over the timing and cadence of your story. ...

Behind the Scenes
A good Photostory can even replace the traditional “keeper.” Reward your audience with a rare perspective. This will ad to your authenticity and intimacy of th overall sequence. Use some of your “leftovers”...you’ll be surprised how rich in narrative they will appear.








Excerpted from “The Future of Memories.” ©. 2008 by Dane Howard. All rights reserved.