Got a lot of travel photos? You probably put some real effort into planning your trips over the years, and that effort should pay off in terms of memories. So don’t let this be you:
“Wow, I forgot about that.”
“How could I have screwed up that shot?”
“Omg, I can’t believe she took a photo of me sleep-drooling on the train.”
Travel photos are time capsules that should capture once-in-a-lifetime moments. They should not be a swamp of repetitive, poorly shot photos that are uninteresting and subsequently ignored. But, in our smartphone era, we often replace unique shots with masses of mediocre ones, and then add insult to injury by leaving them on our hard drive or smartphone storage.
Making good use of your travel photos means remembering a few of the following steps during your vacation, and then immortalizing the right photos as soon as you get home.
Tips For Taking Photos During The Trip
Failing to plan is planning to fail! That’s why I recommend being proactive and disciplined when taking photos while you’re on the go.
Step one: Use a bit of care when taking the shot. Of course, grabbing the perfect still is an art in itself, so learn some of the basics if you’re not familiar with them already. For example, take a moment to center the subject in the frame; check that you have the amount of background you want; and get the angle that will eliminate glare, shadows, and other interferences. If you are photographing people, a few shots might get you the one where nobody is making a weird face or closing their eyes. But for scenery, don’t spend time taking too many images. (You’d be surprised how many times the perfect shot is the first one—right when a stunning scene strikes you.)
I will say this: if you’ve got a decent amount of memory on your phone, take some high resolution shots. This will come in handy later on. Worried about taking up too much space? That’s why there’s step two.
Step two: Delete every day. Whenever you have a break, or each night before bed, delete the photos that are obviously bad, or that don’t add to the story of your vacation. This will save lots of time when you get home and want to choose a presentation format. Also, if you have geo-tagging, make sure it is activated, because those tags can really jog your memory when you are editing your photos post-facto. (Let’s be honest—who notates the foreign spelling of every obscure town and village you pass through? Let your phone do it for you.)
Tips For Honoring Your Photos Post-Trip
Once you get home, it’s easy to say: Oh, I’ll organize my photos next weekend/next week/next ____. Don’t fall into that trap! It doesn’t have to be a huge project to immortalize your travel photos—but if you don’t do it soon, it might never happen. Here’s what I recommend:
First, decide on a format. How do you see yourself enjoying these photos? Maybe you had a short trip, and took only one really memorable photo – contemplate framing it. Or, if this was a family experience that you want everyone to cherish, make a photo book from your best snaps. Whichever format you pick, there are numerous ways to make sure your travel images are never forgotten.
One of my personal favorites is a slideshow. It’s online, so anyone can view it, even kids. It’s fun to watch and share. And it’s a permanent record that, because it is composed of many images, can capture various aspects of a trip. My suggestion is to look for a photo slideshow maker that’s easy to use and doesn’t consume too much of your time. A good slideshow platform will give you a wide range of customization options and enable you to easily share with friends and family.
If you’re willing to invest a tiiiiny bit more time and effort, go for a professionally-printed photo album. I personally like printed books. For one thing, they force you to choose only your best images. Kids and adults alike never get tired of flipping through them. Plus, they’re nice for making conversation when they sit on a coffee table or bookshelf.
Various services will print and send hardcover, high-quality albums to your door. All you need to do (at a minimum) is decide which photos you want to print – which should be easy, if you followed my advice at the beginning of this blog! Of course, you can also add text, choose book type (like moleskin covers!), and pick from a fantastic number of other features which will give your favorite pictures the rich setting that they deserve. But if you just can’t muster the time or energy—no worries, because many printing services will do the designing for you.
Finally, if you’re lucky, there will be that one travel photo that stands out. It might be the quality, or the location, or the people involved, or the period of your life that it captures. In any case, if you come across such a gem, consider printing and framing it. The one caveat here is that it will require high-resolution (see above). You should also think about having it printed locally, so that a professional can advise you regarding photo size, paper type, and framing.
Travel should be a life-long pursuit (and for more than just the photo ops). By using a few of these tips, your vacation memories will become concrete relics that you’ll enjoy and relive for years to come.