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What To Do With All Those Travel Photos

17 Aug 2008

You have made it home from your trip safely and taken care of your post-travel chores.  You either have kept your pictures organized as you traveled or organized them when you got home.  You have even saved every image and selected the best.

Now it is time to do something with all the wonderful pictures you have.  These images are your own, personal, first-hand account of your trip.  Do them justice.

The first thing you ought to do is E-mail or snail mail pictures you promised people.  If you said you were going to send someone pictures, be sure to do so.  Sometimes, when sending pictures as gifts, it is a good idea – depending on who is receiving the pictures – to send a few of the better pictures as prints, but also include a CD of those images.  This is good for photos of friends and families who may want to E-mail or print copies of those pictures for other friends or family members.  This is not a good idea if you are trying to sell your work.

NOTE: When E-mailing pictures or sending images on disc, send jpegs, unless otherwise requested or promised.  All computers can read jpegs; fewer computers can read RAW or other formats.

Though digital technology makes it possible, it is not recommended to treat your laptop computer as a portable photo album.  Dragging your computer around increases the chances of it getting lost, stolen or broken.  Chances are, you have more on the computer than just pictures.  Don’t risk losing all that data.

Instead, print up the pictures you like, then put them in a photo album.  That’s right, a good, old fashioned photo album.  Go to the store and get a three-ring binder kind with the sticky pages or pockets, print up your photos at the photo place, then go home, put on some music, sit down and fill in the pages.  It doesn’t cost much or take as long as you think.  The best part is that if your photo album is lost, stolen or destroyed, you can make another one.

If photo albums aren’t your thing, or you want to be a little more creative, try a photo book.  A photo book uses your digital images and bounds them in a book.  There are various options when it comes to creating photo books, depending on which service you use. A quick search for photo books gives you plenty of options.  Because we haven’t tried them all, we can’t recommend any, but if you’re skeptical about online bookmaking, your local Target and Wal Mart may offer similar services.  Call first.

For other people’s opinions on which Web site makes the best online books, click below:

Disclaimer: The opinions in the following links do not necessarily represent those of Get Out The Map, LLC and affiliated parties.

Yahoo Answers
Google groups

Personally, I think a photo book is the best idea.  They’re better looking and easier to assemble than traditional photo albums, though they do cost a little more.  Before price becomes a consideration, think about this:  You spent a lot of time, money, energy and resources on your trip.  Spend another $20 to $30 to give the trip the conclusion it deserves.  Don’t banish your pictures to some closet or basement, where they will be forgotten as the collect dust.  Make a book, then put it on the shelf where you and your guests will actually look at it occasionally.

If high(er) technology – and patience – is your thing, a slide show is a cool way to show off your pictures.  I mean the new slide shows, made on computers, with cool effects and music.  The kind you can burn to DVD and show on your TV.

Because putting together a slide show like that can be technical and confusing, we’re not going to offer any advice here, other than to say local music from your trip would make good background music.

Also, while making slide shows is fun, it shouldn’t replace a photo book or photo album.  The technology to run a magic computer slide show could change in the next two years, but books have been around for centuries.

For those of you who still like prints of photographs, you are not alone!  At Get Out the Map, we love printed pictures.  Computers are great, but a printed picture in your hand, in a photo album or a frame is simple, neat and complete.

Even if you are a digital photographer, you may prefer the finality of a print.  If you do, be aware of where you bring your digital prints to be processed.  Before you hand over your disk, to the photo processing person, ask if the machines they use are archival quality.  Archival quality means the prints are made with special ink and paper, on a specific type of machine, with the intention of having the digital print last as long as possible.

When prints are made from film, they go through a chemical process.  That’s why prints from film, if stored properly, look as good many years later as the day they were processed.  Some places that print digital images don’t use such a process and the pictures you get back is similar to printing a picture on an inkjet printer.  It’s not archival, it’s just ink on paper and it runs a greater risk of fading and deteriorating over time than if it were printed with archival quality equipment.

Here’s a quick test: If the store is a pharmacy or grocery store, they generally won’t have archival equipment.  If it’s a camera store or photo lab, they should.  But be sure to ask first.

When you ask if they use archival quality materials and they say, “No,” go someplace else to have your pictures printed.

In terms of printing pictures at home on your computer, we would like to discourage doing so.  There are some people who have spent a lot of time and money on equipment for printing photos at home.  Those folks may have the ability to print archival quality images on their own.  If you aren’t one of those people – if you were, you would know it – we suggest bringing your images to be printed at a proper photo place.  The wear and tear on your printer, along with the cost of all the ink and photo paper far outweighs the cost of printing pictures at a photo lab.

So head over to your local, friendly photo processing place, drop off your disc and get on with your day.

Regardless of which method you choose, when all is said and done, you’ll have a photo album, photo book, slide show or prints of your trip to look over and remember how much fun you had.

Then you can get out the map and plan the next one.

© 2008

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