There’s no need for a fancy camera to relate to these tips, just the desire to take better photos. This travel photography series is running for 3 weeks, focusing on preparing for your trip, taking photos on the trip, and what to do with your photos when you get home. If you want to take your travel photos to the next level, read on!
BACK AT HOME
- Download your memory cards to your computer, or make prints of your photos, immediately. Don’t wait. Remember back to the Before Your Trip post – it’s never good to leave your photos on your memory cards and then continue to use them. The more photographs you have on a memory card at a given time, the more you could loose if something goes wrong with the card or if it gets lost.
- Back it up. If you take away only one tip from this post, let it be this. Make sure you have more than one copy of your photos, in more than one location. If you don’t back up your photos, one mistake or computer crash could erase them forever. There are several easy options available to you. You can purchase another hard drive and copy your photographs to it, so they are in two places. You could also take advantage of an online back up company. This protects not only your photographs, but any files you would like. Carbonite and Mozy are both good online back up options for your photos. Do not erase your memory cards until you have your photos in 2 other locations!
- Categorize your memories. Look, I’m not really an organized type of person. But when it comes to my photographs, I’m an organizing freak! Returning from a trip with hundreds, maybe thousands of photos, is both exciting and overwhelming. Breaking your images down into different categories/folders will make looking through them and finding specific memories easy. I like to categorize by day. If my trip was 10 days, I’ll create 10 folders labeled ‘day 1’ and so on. Most digital cameras make this really easy and ‘digitally’ stamp your photos with the date and time. To access this information about your photo on a Mac, simply highlight the image file and click ‘command’ ‘I’. If you are feeling really ambitious, you can then break down your photos even further by locations visited each day. I find that categorizing not only makes my photos easier to manage – it also helps me remember the details of my trip better.
- Edit, sort, have fun, repeat. If you are into editing your photos, grab software that will make it fun and easy for you. If you have a Mac, iPhoto is a fun way to look through everything and apply effects like changing a photo into black and white, etc. iPhoto will also make organizing your images much faster. If you’re pretty serious about photography and want to take it to the next level, pro editing/photo management software like Adobe Lightroom and Apple’s Aperture are powerful, fun tools to use.
- Toss the crap. The advent of digital photography also brought with it the ease of taking LOTS of photos. As a result, it’s easy to take photos without really thinking, take multiple photos of each scene to try and get one that’s the best, etc. For me, lots of excess duplicates causes anxiety because it’s hard for me to decide between multiples of the same thing. Plus, these duplicates take up lots of space on your computer. Do yourself a favor and delete duplicate photos, blurry photos, photos where someone walked in front of the lens right as you took the shot, etc. You’ll thank yourself later when you go through those vacation photos and don’t have to constantly skip over the ones that didn’t work out. It’s a bit like cleaning the clothes out of your closet that you don’t wear or that don’t fit. It’s tough at first, but later on it’s like a breath of fresh air. It frees up space, and makes your life a little less cluttered.
- Make a favorites folder. Here we go again, back to organization. I promise that the time you take to organize your photos is worth it. It always is. When you’re looking through your pictures, duplicate the images you love the most into a favorites folder. On a mac, you can do this through the finder by clicking on the image and holding down the ‘option’ key while you drag your image to another folder. It instantly creates a copy. Some editing programs give you the ability to rate your photos with stars. In my case, stand-out images get rated with 5 stars. Later, you can sort these photos so you only see the 5 stars. This makes showing your favorites to others extremely easy!
- Do something, anything, with your photographs. Don’t let your photographs sit on your computer and gather dust. Please. You just went on a trip of a lifetime! Half of the fun of traveling is sharing your stories with those who didn’t get to go with you, and reliving the memories that you made. Now that digital photography is the norm, most of us just keep photos on our computers. Rather than just flip through your memories on the screen, play around with them, have fun, and show the world!
- Keep and reference your guidebooks! Guidebooks are as handy when you get home as when you’re planning for and on the trip! I use mine all the time to look up the name or spelling of a place I visited, to retrace the route we went and remember all of the little things we saw that I may have forgotten to jot down. Guidebooks help me figure out where some of my photos were taken, when I neglect (or don’t care) to record it on the trip.
- Make a slideshow. Slideshows are an awesome way to showcase your travels. Since you already have a favorites folder made, creating a slideshow is a breeze! Slideshows can be created within iPhoto, or you can use an online software such as animoto. One thing I love to do is purchase music from the places I go. If you use music you purchased on your trip in a slideshow, be sure to give credit to the musician or band – especially if you are posting it online. If you plan to sell or distribute your slideshow, you legally cannot use licensed music. Check out Triple Scoop Music for some great, royalty-free tracks. When you are finished creating your slideshow, post to facebook, your blog, or Vimeo for the world to see!
- Have a post-travel party. Make the theme the place you visited and share stories, photos, food, music – anything others would be interested in about your journey. When we went to Iceland, my husband and I loooooved their hotdogs. We brought back the unique condiments used on the hotdogs and served up a bit of Iceland here in the US. Our family had fun sharing some of the culture, and of course we showed them a slideshow of photos and told stories. It was an absolute blast!
- Publish yourself. Creating a photo book is an excellent way to get digital photos off of your computer to share. Since you’ve already created a favorites folder, it won’t be as tough choosing which photos to use in your book. Check out Blurb for book-store quality printing and binding options. If you go to blurb, make sure to sign up for their emails, as they will frequently send out coupons for book-printing. If you aren’t into the computer, bring your memory cards to a photo lab and get your images printed. Insert then into a slip-in album, and you’ve got an instant book.
- Find a theme and make a project. This step can be done on your travels as well. In Ireland, I noticed how much I loved all of the different colored doors. I started taking photos of them and wound up with quite a few! When I got home, I put them all together and made a themed poster. In Iceland, we kept seeing and photographing all of these amazing, unique little churches. I haven’t created a project with them yet, but I’ve got an idea in the works. J Making a project out of your photos can be really rewarding and fun. And hey, maybe you could even sell what you create!
- Make a work of art and hang it up. Create a large canvas of your favorite photo or memory and hang it in a spot that you’ll see everyday. (canvasondemand has high-quality canvas printing) Purchase a frame with 6 or more openings for 4 by 6 photos, and make a hanging album. I’ve done both of these things and each time I walk past those photos, happy memories fill my mind from my travels. It’s a way to keep your trip alive.
- Don’t make going through your photos a chore. Lists like this one can seem daunting. If you do a bit of work upfront, like backing up and organizing your photos, sitting down to create something from your travel memories, and will be a fun experience!
I hope these photography tips are helpful when you return from your next adventure.
If you have any specific questions you’d like me to answer, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I will do my best to work them into next week’s post!