What To Do With Those Hundreds of Travel Photos

published Apr 2, 2015
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Even if you aren’t the type who regularly takes photos of life’s everyday moments with your phone, chances are you still snap pics while on vacation. Whether you have an upcoming trip or you have a stash of photos from past travels, here’s how to do something with them so that you can revisit those special times and places both during your photo project and for decades to come.

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“Begin with the end in mind.”

I love this advice from scrapbooking icon and Project Life creator Becky Higgins. The overarching purpose of doing something with your photos is to make them consumable. So think: how do you want to consume your travel photos? Do you want to walk by an enlargement of your family laughing at your favorite beach as you walk in and out of the back door every day? Do you want a sleek and reproducible photo book of your family reunion trip to Disney World? Or do you want a slideshow of your trip to China to send to relatives and friends? Answering this question of what you want the photos for will set you up for a photo project you will treasure.

Cull, cull, cull.

We’ve all sat politely through someone’s unending scroll through an unedited archive of every iteration of mostly mediocre photos. Don’t be that person. Even if you think you’ll be the only one to ever look through your photos, save yourself the headache—and the disk space—by ruthlessly deleting (yes, deleting) the shots that simply aren’t good photos. (There are exceptions, of course, but you get the idea.) Rather than trying to pick the best photos, think of culling as getting rid of everything that distracts from the truly beautiful, moving, and meaningful photos. Beginning your photo project with only the photos you love instantly makes your project less overwhelming and sets you up for success.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Make a photo book.

Photo books are wonderful because templates take out so much of the guesswork. Keeping it simple with a neutral background and some journaling about your trip will help your piece feel timeless and imbue it with personal detail. I love Artifact Uprising‘s photo books. A big plus of photo books is that they are easy to store and you can easily make multiple copies as keepsakes for travel companions.

Print and frame your favorite.

Even if you don’t want to deal with the stack (physical or digital) of the entirety of your travel photos, picking one to put on display brings you back to a treasured time and place with just a glance. Costco prints excellent photos and enlargements — and you can pick up your photos while you’re buying a giant case of oranges. Choosing a spot to hang your photo as well as a frame and matting beforehand is always best so that you know what size to print and you’ll be ready to actually get the photo in there once you get it home.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Make a mini album.

If you enjoy saving and looking back on memorabilia from your travels, a scrapbook-style album might be the perfect fit. A pocket scrapbooking system blends the artsy aspects of traditional scrapbooking with a streamlined approach that limits you (in a good way) to 6×4 and 3×5 photos. Geralyn Sy’s travel albums are some of my favorites. Or you can go rogue and simply punch holes in your photos and memorabilia and put it all together for a multi-sensory trip back in time. Stephanie Bryan’s Barcelona album above is a gorgeous example of not staying in the lines. So is Kelly Purkey’s Prague album.

Put together a slideshow.

While a slideshow complete with video clips, photos, and a soundtrack is nice, finding the time (and having the expertise) for such a project isn’t always possible. Even a simple slideshow of photos with some captions translates your travel photos into a consumable form, into an edited story that you want to tell. You can put together a slideshow in the Windows Media Center, through iPhoto, or through many services you can find online. Upload to your YouTube channel (set to private if you wish), and you have a virtual album of your trip you can watch on the big screen or send to Grandma.

Whatever you decide to do with your travel photos, don’t miss out on the added joy they can bring you when you do something deliberate with them.