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What to Do With Your Digital Camera

24 (Other) Uses for a Digital Camera

by Patti Tokar

Digital cameras can do more than just snap vacation pictures. Since digital images don’t require film and expensive photo processing, you can take hundreds of pictures without spending a small fortune. But what can you do with those images? Here are some ideas to help you get your money’s worth out of your camera:

1. When you need to go to the hardware store to buy a replacement part, take a picture of the part or the fittings that you are unable to take with you. Hold a ruler up to the part for even better results. Sure, you will remember that you want a five sided widget. But the picture will help you remember that it needs to be rounded on top and flat on the bottom.

2. Take thorough pictures of your household goods, including serial numbers. Open drawers, jewelry chests, closets, shelves, and snap away. Print a thumbnail set of these pictures, save the picture file on a CD, memory stick, or other removable storage and put both the CD and the thumbnail pictures in a safe, a safety deposit box, or a location away from your home. This will prove absolutely invaluable if you ever have a break in, a fire, or other disaster.

3. Take multiple shots of the room that you are furnishing. Take shots from all angles and sides of the room.  Print the picture.  Use plain paper, but try to get the colors as close to the actual colors as possible.  This will be a great help in the furniture store when choosing colors, styles, and sizes. There is nothing like buying that lovely full sized couch, only to come home to find that it will cover the room’s only heating register.

4. Take a picture of your flower gardens at various times when the perennials are in bloom. Try to get a shot that shows the location and shots that will show you what the leaves look like. This will be a great help in the spring when you are trying to decide what part of the garden to till and what part to leave undisturbed. The pictures of the leaves will help you decide whether that new little plant coming up is a weed or one of your beloved flowers.

5. Take a picture of the contents of a storage box before placing it in the attic, garage, under the bed, or in a storage room. Then print two sets of thumbnails. Place one set in a file and note on it what the box looks like and where you stored it (or just be really lazy and take a final picture of the box in its storage location so that you will know where it is). The other set will be taped on the front of the box so that you can avoid rummaging through all the storage boxes to find that widget or seasonal item that you are searching for.

6. Take pictures of your yard during the various seasons and times of the day. This helps greatly in determining the depth of shade and sun that an area gets and also in remembering slopes, bare patches, and established plants when you are planning new landscaping. Print as needed for taking to the landscaping store.

7. Choosing paint colors– take a picture of the room or building, etc that you want to paint. Then use your picture editor to change the colors of the shutters, walls, trim, etc, so that you can get a good visual idea of what the total look will be with different colors.

8. Take a picture of a name, address, paragraph in a book, recipe, set of instructions, signs, etc. when you don’t have a pencil and/or don’t want to have to write the whole thing down and you don’t have a scanner available.

9. Use your camera to take pictures of your excess stuff... then list them on eBay and sell them.

10. Get organized... take a picture of where things are supposed to go on a shelf, then post the picture on or next to the shelf. This is especially helpful for business applications, such as office supplies, and for situations where volunteers or other untrained people might be working, and even for helping children to remember where things should go on a shelf.

11. When you put something seasonal away, such as the Christmas table cloth, snap a picture of it in the drawer, shelf, closet, etc., so that you can use the picture next year to remember where you put it.

12. Take a picture of your favorite outfits, or better yet, yourself wearing your favorite outfits. Print the thumbnails and hang inside your closet for quick outfit decisions.

13. Take before and after pictures. Are you losing weight? Take a picture of yourself every week or two. They don’t have to be glamour shots, just informational. Are you using a new skin care product and wonder if it really works? Take a picture now and then of the same skin area, using the same angle and lighting, every week.

14. If you are interested in remodeling, but totally stuck on deciding what you really want, take a snapshot whenever you see a room, a landscape or other items that you like. It may be a design, a color, a way that things are arranged. Anything that flashes in your mind that this is how you want the room or the house to look. As you assemble these pictures, you will begin to notice, for example, that you love Victorian, or contemporary, or mission style, or woods, or metals, lots of glass or windows, whatever... as you start compiling those seemingly eclectic things that really electrify you, you will begin to see a pattern and it will become much easier to choose your remodeling or decorating style.

15. Take a picture of the everyday things in your life. Your child’s bedroom, the family room couch, the kids playing a video game, your child’s favorite toy or stuffed animal, that cartoon character pillow case that they love, their bicycle, your favorite coat, the birthday cakes, the arrangement of furniture in the living room, the family car, a family meal, the front of the house, the tree you just planted, the dog sleeping..... whatever it is that you see everyday, whatever seems almost mundane. Take 50 - 100 shots. Then repeat this in six months or a year. Over the course of a few years, the earlier shots will begin to bring back powerful and beautiful memories. It’s your life.

16. If you are doing do-it-yourself repairs and need to disassemble something, take a picture of every step, showing the parts as clearly as possible. This may be a lifesaver when you are trying to reassemble the item... did I put this part here? do I put this back first or does this other widget go in first....?

17. If you just got a great haircut, ( or your friend did and you want a cut just like it) or if you are having a great hair day and want to be able to repeat the look, snap a picture. It will help you when styling and it will be invaluable to your hairdresser in recreating the look.

18. Take a picture of your separates pieces and “orphan” clothes before you go clothes shopping - then print a thumbnail page. Use this to remind yourself of what pieces you need to complete an outfit... this will also prevent you from buying a great sale item that matches absolutely nothing in your wardrobe.

19. Make a chronological family journal. Use the same reference point, such as a doorway or a tree, then take photos of your family member(s) on a certain day each year, such as the first day of school, or a birthday. You might even have your family stand in the same pose and position each year to heighten the effect. Over the years, this will make a fascinating time-line.

20. Take a picture of your luggage before you leave for a trip. Take a picture of the contents and the luggage itself. Take a thumbnail print with you (don’t store it in your luggage!!). Leave the original photo file at home. This will be invaluable for filing a claim if your luggage is lost or delayed at the airport.

21. Take plain, clear pictures of your pets for the purpose of identification if they ever become missing. You can use these to print fliers or to show to people when searching for your beloved pet.  Along the same lines, if you are traveling to a remote area or traveling overseas, take clear, plain pictures of the people you are traveling with. This will save valuable time in describing and locating them if you are separated.

22.  If you have an item that you no longer need or use, but it has a memory attached that makes it hard to give it away, then take a picture of it.  In this way you can "hold onto" the item while still giving it away.  You will have the picture to look at for the memory's sake, but you will not have to store and clean the unused item. 

23. Stay connected with a relative or friend who lives in another city, or who is traveling. Take snapshots of everyday events,- the kids, the house, family gatherings - and send them as an email attachment so they feel closer to you. (Hint: if you have a high resolution camera, learn to reduce the size of the image before you send it.) Sure, if appropriate, you could use Facebook instead.

24. Take daily shots of an important building that is being constructed in your neighborhood or town. Try to take the shots from the same angle(s) each day. This makes a fascinating slide show when the building is complete.

Now you have 24 new ideas of uses of that snazzy little camera. Once you get started, you will probably think of even more! Now get that camera out of the drawer and use it!





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