How are Digital Photos Used

Most of us take lots of photos and then chuck them in a drawer. If we care enough about some, we may even put them in an album. The problem is, we rarely share them with others and after awhile forget a lot about the circumstances under which we took them. Digital images change all of that. They are easy to insert into documents or Web pages along with captions or text. This makes it easy to create journals for personal memories or to share with others. You can post them on the Web for anyone to see, or print copies and give them to people who shared the experiences with you. Everyone can now be a publisher.

Lots of us have old family photographs that have been tossed in drawers and not well cared for over the years. As our families grow and spread out, it's harder and harder to organize and share these images that recall so much. However having them scanned, or even just photographing them with a digital camera, makes them easy to insert into documents or e-mail. You can even give someone a digital picture frame and feed photos to it over the Internet from anywhere in the world.

The Digi-Frame™ModelDF-560 comes complete with three interchangeable decorator frames -change them to match your decor, or your mood.

In the old days of film photography, you had to physically deliver photos to people you wanted to share them with. Today, that's not necessary. You can quickly send photos as e-mail attachments, post them on a Web site, or upload them to one of the many free photo sharing sites such as ofoto. Once your images are uploaded, you can even order prints, or lots of other products with your photos on them.

Who needs a gallery show when you can put your own photos on mugs?

Once images are in digital form, you can start to take pieces from various images and paste them into other images. These composite images can be tame or wild. In fact, compositing is done so often on television and in print advertisement that we're growing used to it.

Here the moon has been cut out of one image and pasted into another. You can't even tell the image has been altered.

Posters, books, magazines, journals, reports, and other kinds of other documents are illustrated with photographs and other images. Since these publications are increasingly desktop published, digital photos are just another part of the stew.

Rick Ashley took a digital photograph of the drummer Mohammed Camara and merged it with some clip art to create a stunning poster used to announce classes and performances. Image courtesy of Rick Ashley.

Some big users of digital images are multimedia developers. Since multimedia is always displayed on a computer screen, or projected from it, digital images are a necessary ingredient. Whether originally taken with a digital camera or with a film camera and then scanned, the final image has to be in a digital format.

The PACE program was produced by Kim Foley to accompany a college computer text written by herself, Kunal Sen, Cathy Morin and myself. The text and program are published by Irwin/McGraw-Hill.

Anyone who is taking photographs for the Web prefers digital cameras because the images are ready to post as soon as they are taken. The images don't have to be first processed and then scanned as film has to be. This saves both time and money. Since most screens display only low-resolution images, the low-resolution of some cameras is no drawback. In fact, higher resolution images would be too big to post on most Web sites and would have to be reduced anyway.

The author of this site has a number of Web sites all well illustrated with digital images. The site shown here is one for kids on bulldozers and other construction equipment. If you click the link to check it out, please come back.

Once images are in a digital format, you can include them in desktop published documents created with programs such as Microsoft Word, PageMaker, or QuarkXPress.

Images have been placed in a PageMaker document to prepare them for publishing.

Once the almost exclusive domain of Polaroid instant cameras, photos for IDs are increasingly taken in digital form. Once captured, they can be immediately printed right on the ID cards, making counterfeiting more difficult.You can also use the images to create buttons or illustrated business cards.

Fargo printers are used to make full-color ID cards complete with photographs. Courtesy of Fargo.

Newsletters from companies and organizations are often full of images. Employees and members are honored when promoted, retired, or when they reach some milestone, and events are documented. As the publishing process has become digital and moved to the desktop, so have the photographs used to illustrate these newsletters.

Realtors are big consumers of photography. Exterior shots are taken for newspaper ads and interior shots for brochures and Web sites. The ease and immediacy of digital cameras makes them widely used in this field.

If your house or office burns down, or blows or floats away, how do you prove you lost that velvet painting of Elvis? The best way is to photograph your belongings and store the image files on a disk. Then, hope you'll be able to open the images a decade from now when you need them and file formats and devices have changed (remember the 5 1/4-inch floppy?) To be on the safe side, display the images on the TV and tape them then store the tape in a safe place.

If you don't have some items insured, you may have to make do if anything goes wrong. It helps if you have photos that show the "before." The insurance company will photograph the "after."

If you are like millions of other people, you may have things around the house you want to sell. It's easier than ever now with on-line auction such as e-bay. It's been proven over and over again that items accompanied by a good photo bring much higher prices.

A clear crisp digital image can make all of the difference when selling an item in and on-line auction.

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