If there’s any ritual I both dread and look forward to every year during the holidays, it’s sharing photos. I’m sure many people reading remember passing around glossy 3.5″x5″ photos and hoping no one ruins the only copy with an errant gravy spill. In that respect, at least, modern technology has made this process simpler – or at least more compact – by allowing us to store photos on our phones and computers, and create galleries that can be viewed online.
But when it comes time to pass them around, I’ve found that rather than trying to explain for the 100th time how to swipe through the pictures on my phone, or having to get back into my photo gallery after an accidental swipe on the home button (again), it’s much easier to simply display them directly on my TV.
Of course, getting the photos on the TV still requires some technical hurdles. There are a lot of technologies and devices that allow photo streaming, from software built directly into newer TVs to set-top boxes and game systems. Going over directions for each of them (and for every possible setup) would take more words than I have available here.
Thankfully, I’ve come up with a few techniques that make going from my phone (or tablet, or laptop, or… okay, I may have a device problem) to the TV a little simpler, regardless of the setup I’m using.
Perhaps the most substantive, slightly technical tip would be to have a standard Wi-Fi network setup. This allows a wide range of devices to be used for sharing to your TV.
The rest of these tips come down to one thing: organization. A little preparation ahead of time will make showing off your photos way easier when you’re juggling house-guests and chasing down gravy spills.
Keep all your photos in one place on your device. Most sharing systems access photos from a specific folder, whether you’re doing it from a computer or a smart phone. By keeping all your photos in one specific folder, you’ll be able to spend less time working through arcane file structures while your family quietly judges you.
With that done, organize your albums before you get ready to show off your photos. Most people (myself included) have hundreds of photos sitting on their hard drives. Without organizing them into albums, sorting through them to find exactly the relevant ones can be nearly impossible (and more than a little boring).
Be descriptive when you’re naming albums or photos. While a simple date might be tempting, if you don’t have a very keen memory, it can also be confusing. Was that the day you organized the album? Is it the day the photos were all taken? What are those photos even of? Something like “John’s 1st Birthday party,” or “Thanksgiving_2012″ is much more desirable than “11_18_12.”
Write out the directions for how you access and display your photos. Not only does this serve as a helpful reminder for yourself, it also allows you an easy reference to give to other friends or family members if they also want to display their photos. If you know ahead of time, you can also e-mail it, or include it in an invitation so that they can prepare to share.
Of course, if the highlights from your family consist of a guided tour of the cheese factories of Wisconsin or their collection of photos of all their dogs in sweaters, here’s one more tip. Forget the reference, and just use this convenient phrase: “It’s a little bit technical.”