Our Family Online Photo Album

(Note: You will not be able to view the Family album pictures themselves without a password.)

The Need

By 12/20/2015, we had six children, thirteen grandchildren, various siblings, and about 20,000 digital family photos covering five generations. The photos are filled with wonderful memories and several of our children have asked to get access to them. No one wants to wade through 20K photos. But every one of them would like to see all the photos of themselves plus their children and partner, and then maybe, if there’s time left, look at some photos of other parts of the family.

The grandchildren have a real task learning and keeping track of all the members of our extended family. And to top it off, we regularly are taking new photos and are slowly scanning old prints and slides so the number of digital images is steadily growing.

The Solution

To address this situation,  we’ve hopefully created the (almost) ultimate online family photo album that :

  • Organizes the photos to make it easy to get at each individual or family group plus see the relationships.
  • Lets you choose to look at all the worthwhile photos for someone or a family group, or to just look at selected photos.
  • Lets me easily update any of it whenever I want and lets everyone always see the latest updates immediately.
  • Password protects all the photos.
  • Lets family members use any photos in any way they want.
  • Is easy, convenient, and fast to scan and use.
  • Can be usably accessed from any smartphone, tablet or computer.

Why almost? Well, nothing’s perfect but we tried to get as close as we could. Also this is version 1 and I’m sure we’ll have some suggestions.

Getting to the Album

If you’re a family member, access our family album by going to my web site:

trahan.photos

(or www.trahan.photos or www.trahanphotos.com)

in any web browser, such as Safari on an iPhone or iPad.

To access the photos and collections themselves, you’ll need a password. Just ask another family member or me. Please don’t provide the password to non-family members without a good reason. This blog post is available to come back to at any time by going to the web site, selecting Blog, then picking this posting from the ones available.

How to Use the Family Album

Once you are at the web site,  from the top menu, select “Portfolio”, “Family (family tree view)”. In the family tree page that appears, you’ll see a box for each family group and, in many cases, underneath that box, a separate box for each person.

Family Tree View_2015-12-21_11-20-27

In a box, select the name which is a link to selected photos. In the lower right corner of the box is “All”. Select “All” to link to all the photos in the album for that person or family group. Pick whichever you want. Of course to make it easier to see and select, on a touch screen, pinch out and in a Windows PC browser, use Control with + to zoom in and Control with – to zoom out.

Once you’ve selected one of the links, a mosaic of those thumbnails appears in a separate tab or window depending on your browser settings. When you are done with those images you can close (X out) the tab or window and be back at the family tree menu.

All the pictures are arranged from most recent down to the oldest. You can just scroll through this compact mosaic to scan over the thumbnails of the images and never go deeper. But you can select any thumbnail to open up a single picture.

The single picture page will show the picture (but it may be chopped at the ends) along with the title, caption and the keywords for that picture. Some pictures have titles and captions filled in but most don’t. (Hey, I do have a life.) Not sure what baby the person is holding or who are the people in the picture? Look at the keywords. (Note: on small screens such as smartphones, the keywords don’t appear.)

You can select (click or touch) the right or left edge to move to the next or previous picture without going back up to the mosaic. There’s a little 4-box icon in the lower left. If you select it, a thumbnail strip opens up at the bottom of the page so you can hop around to different pictures for that person.  If you select the middle of the picture, it opens up the full  image on a black page without it being cut off in any way but you don’t see the keywords or other information. You can select the right or left edge here too to move the another picture.

Use your back button to go back up.  As we said earlier, when you’re done with that person, you can close out (X out) the tab to see the family tree page again.

The “Our Family” title at the top of the family tree menu also is a link. It goes to images selected down even more from the selected images of all the family groups in the solid boxes. This is a quick way to get an overview of the whole direct family. Family groups of spouse’s families are in boxes connected by dashed lines and also have some pictures. Those dashed line groups aren’t included in selecting pictures for the “Our Family” link.

Since multiple people can appear in the same picture, that same picture can appear under several people within or across family groups. However, when all the people in a family group are combined in the family group box, the picture will not be duplicated.

An Alternate View/Menu

If you are not familiar with closing tabs when navigating in a browser or you are letting a child who can’t read yet use the album, there is an alternate view available from the top home page menu. Select “Portfolio”, then select “Family (gallery view)”.

Each person and family group is listed alphabetically with a picture. The date that person’s album was last updated also is shown so you can check to see if any has changed recently.

When looking at the photo pages, there are breadcrumb links at the top left of the page. The “Family” link brings you back to this “Family (gallery view)”, not to the family tree view.

What You Can Do With A Picture

On each single picture, there are icons or links to:

  • Download the picture to your device.  On a PC, you’ll need to right-click on the picture for download options. Most of my newer pictures from the last five years or so are stored as reasonably high resolution (80%) JPGs. That would allow printing a 14″x22″ print on a full size uncropped image at full quality.  Earlier pictures are smaller JPGs.You can use these pictures in any legitimate way you like. (Blackmailing your siblings or parents counts as legitimate.)
  • Share the picture through your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or email accounts, or get a direct link.
  • Buy a photo product, e.g. coffee mug, print, ornament, canvas, etc., from Mpix, a major online photo service. I make no money on this. It’s at Mpix’s standard prices. I actually don’t like the feel of having this link on these pages but put it on as a convenience feature for you. Later if no one wants it, I’ll take it off.

There are more features that are part of the Zenfolio host that are available on the site, such as slideshows.

Please note that all these pictures have a small copyright in the lower right corner. I didn’t figure out a way to avoid that until all the pictures were loaded. It would take a couple of weeks to reupload all of them so I won’t do it until I know it’s a problem. If it gets in your way, let me know.

If you need a specific image with:

  • No copyright for printing
  • More editing and clean up (Hey, I did some but certainly not all.)
  • Touch up (e.g. removing zits. Dropping 20 lbs will cost extra.)
  • Higher resolution for larger prints,

just let me know. Give me the image title and person it’s under. I’ll work on it, send it to you, and repost it.

On-going Photo Updates

As I take new family photos, I’ll add them. The new ones will appear at the top for every person or family group. Updates on older photos can occur at any time. In particular, I’ll add images that are scans of older slides or prints. These additions will be done a batch at a time but the photos usually will be from a mixture of past years. Each image will appear wherever it belongs chronologically for each person.

To make it easier for you to see just what’s been added in the last batch of scans, the whole last batch also will be shown in one place regardless of who is in it. To see it, go to the menu Portfolio, Family (gallery view). Or, in the breadcrumb links, Home>Family>xxxxx, on the picture pages, select the Family link. In the gallery page that appears showing each person and family group alphabetically, scroll to the very bottom.  Select the ZZ_Last Batch of Older Scanned Slides and Prints gallery. This gallery also is arranged in reverse chronological order, most recent at the top to oldest at the bottom, and can’t be accessed from the Family Tree view.

When a new batch is posted, I’ll notify our children via email, since probably only they care. If anyone else wants to receive those emails or any of my children don’t want to receive them, just let me know.

Comments, Suggestions, Problems

I used some discretion in selecting pictures to include. Not much, just the absolute minimum, but some. If however, there is a picture you definitely, absolutely have to have removed, let me know. Since a key function in life of parents (and grandparents) is to embarrass their children (and grandchildren), please make sure you’re dead serious about it before asking. After all, I have to fulfill my duties in life.

I really welcome any suggestions to improve this online album. Just send them to me.

When I was telling some of my camera club cohorts about my plans, one woman told me, “Are you crazy? Do you know how many complaints you’ll get about how that person has more pictures than me?” I immediately responded, “My children and grandchildren aren’t like that.” knowing as I said it, that I was lying through my teeth.

Let the complaints begin.

Some Statistics

If you’re interested, here are some approximate overall statistics on the pictures as of 12/20/2015:

_________________________________# of Images

Starting digital images                                                20,000

After removing redundant images (extra shots in a series); weaker, very similar poses; bad images that I somehow didn’t delete originally; inappropriate images, leaves:

“All” family album images                                           6,500

I probably should have been even more stringent but, for example, in group pictures, someone often is doing something odd so in some cases, I left a couple in so you could pick the one where you look good.

Selected images from the “All” images                   1,150 or 18% of the “All”s

Note that some of the funniest images are in the “All” images but not the Selected ones. And we have a lot of goofballs in our family. It’s actually quick and easy to scan the thumbnail mosaics, so I wouldn’t avoid the “All”s even when it’s not you you’re looking at.

The “Our Family” link of selected images of everyone
from the selected images                                             425 or 6% of the “All”s

Same problem. At this point, I was picking out the best of the best. You’re all so wonderful, it was hard! I didn’t provide an album for all the “Our Family” pictures. No one would ever use it.

Known Issues and Idiosyncrasies

There’s no “back” link to the family tree page.

Right. That page is outside the rest of the web site. So we’ve opened it into its own tab so it will be still easily accessible as you move around through the album without having to back your way through lots of pages. The “How To Use This Family Album” and “An Alternate View/Menu” sections of this blog post talk about this more in detail.

Some older pictures are near the top or out of sequence.

The creation date for a small number of pictures didn’t make it up to the site. As I see those, I’ll reload them. There are lots of individual albums so let me know that it happened on yours. By the way, the dates entered on the older scanned prints and slides are not accurate in most cases. There was no way to find the actual date they were taken so we just guessed.

Why is a specific picture in my selected list when it’s not about me?

One limitation on the site is that when a picture is selected for one person, it’s automatically selected for everyone tagged in that photograph. So unless I untag you completely from the photograph (in which case, it won’t show up in “all”), it will show up in your selected album.  But I can easily untag you, so if that’s what you want, let me know the specific image title.

Why do some links on the Family Tree view show in a different color?

Those are the links you’ve visited in the past. You’ll have to clear your browser’s browsing history to reset them.

 

 

 

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