What should you do with your summer photos?

Labor Day has passed. The kids are back in school. So, it may feel like summer is over, even though there are a few weeks until fall officially arrives. But you can still relive all the summer fun through the photos you shot on your phone, camera, or tablet. Here are six tips to ensure you can enjoy them all year long.

1. Back them up. If you want to be sure you'll always have access to your photos, backing them up is your first step. Otherwise you risk losing them. For example, if you never offload the images from your phone or camera, your memories could be lost or damaged as easily as the device itself. But even if you dutifully transfer your photos to a computer or website, you’re not home free. Drives can crash or be destroyed in a disaster, and online companies can go out of business. Two simple strategies for safeguarding against the hazards of fate: redundancy and geographic distribution. In other words, make multiple copies of photos and don’t keep them all in the same place.

2. Curate and edit them. In this age of digital photography, it's easy to amass lots of photos quickly. Not all of them are keepers. Go through your photos, choose the best, delete the repeats and duds, and then edit them, cropping to eliminate distracting backgrounds and fixing things such as red eye.

3. Share them online. Now you're ready to post them on your favorite photo-sharing site. As you probably know, you've got a lot to choose from, including Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and more. Check your privacy settings. You may not want the world to see that photo of you waking up with bed head.

For more on point-and-shoots and other cameras, check out our buying guide and Ratings for digital cameras.

4. Make some prints. While you might share the bulk of your photos online, there’s something very special about a nicely printed photograph. You have several options: printing out your photos using an online service, sucha as Shutterfly or Snapfish, or in a store such as Costco, or printing them at home using an inkjet printer, which in many cases can do as good a job as an online service.

5. Create a photo book. Do you remember filling up photo albums with prints you'd insert in pockets or under sticky sheets that lost their sticking power over time? Now it's easy to create a digital photo album, which is superior in many ways. Using one of the photo-sharing services, you can create a keepsake book in an hour or two, without any experience or real skills, and for not a lot of money. What’s nice about such services (such as Blurb, Shutterfly, Snapfish, and others) is that you can change the sizes and number of photos per page, the layouts, the paper quality, add text, and more.

6. Go multimedia. Creating a slide show of images that can be turned into a video and posted on YouTube is a fun way to present your photos. You can even narrate the images by adding audio to your presentation.

—Terry Sullivan

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