So this week, in between a myriad of other projects, preparations, and normal household life, I’ve been working on a little photo project to give as a belated (yeah, I already know it’s going to be late) Christmas gift. It involves going back through my favorite photos of the year and picking out a specific set of favorite photos (I’m not going to go into much more detail than that right now, since the recipient of the gift may read my blog).
As I went back through my “Monthly Favorites” collections in Lightroom, I was struck by the volume of memories that are cataloged there. In September 2012, I wrote a post about my photo workflow, and since then, very little has changed, most notably the fact that I purchased and use Lightroom 4 extensively now, rather than the PSE7 organizer. The main point here is that every single photo that gets saved on my hard drive (whether or not it is a “favorite”) is given a caption in the file metadata. And that is so, so valuable to me.
You see, I am not doing very much paper scrapbooking these days. It makes me really, really sad, because as I’ve mentioned many times on my blog, it is one of the hobbies that makes me the happiest. But between PhD ornaments and sewing projects and just general life, scrapbooking has taken a backseat these days. Life is full, and very good, and scrapbooking is not at the top of my priority list right now. In the past, this would have made me panic. I have a terrible memory. If I don’t have a photo, I might not remember something for very long. If I have a photo, I might remember some of the details. And I used to just rely on that to make my scrapbook pages–and hope that I scrapbooked fast enough so that I wouldn’t forget. Then I figured out that if I can take a few moments and write a few notes, I feel like that particular memory is “safe.” So I have a list of “stuff to scrapbook” that has little scraps of paper clipped to it, with journaling for layouts I know that I intend to make…someday.
And then I heard about metadata. And it kind of changed my life.
It sounds a little overdramatic, right? But it’s true! With a little daughter, the volume of photos in a week/month/year has exploded! All those tiny little everyday things that I love to capture with my camera… and a couple weeks from the capture date…will I remember why I took a photo of her wearing that weird hat and making that face? Not unless it’s in the photo caption! Someday, when I have more time (that’ll happen, right? right??!??) and get back to scrapbooking more regularly, I won’t have to panic about not remembering what was going on in the photos.
So back to the project I’ve been working on. I was looking at my monthly favorite photos from earlier this year and marveling at the detail that I’ve preserved by writing the captions for all of those photos. I even remember for certain months thinking that the photo set was kinda dull, but looking back on it now — not even that far in the future!! — I am so excited by them! I love that I have these photos and their stories! Life seems to change with lightning speed, when you look at it in hindsight.
And this has given me some motivation. I’ve just tonight caught up the captions for my November photos, and it’s almost the end of December already! I was feeling really discouraged, because I actually detest the process of captioning my photos. It really is so tedious and time-consuming. But to look back and see these treasures!! It makes it all worthwhile. Really.
Back to writing those captions!