How was your trip? Did you have a wonderful time? What was your favorite part? Did you get great pictures? Of course you did!

 

Reliving your vacation through your photos can be as much fun as the vacation itself.

In the recent past, we photographers tended to limit our shots since we may have only had a few rolls of film on us at any given time. However, now that most people are shooting exclusively on digital media (with effectively limitless storage), we may be overwhelmed by thousands of pictures when we return from our trip! A recent survey revealed that 56% of people take between 250 and 1,000 pictures on a week-long vacation!

What’s the easiest way to deal with all of those digital files so your favorite vacation photos are at your fingertips?

Get them all into one place

How many memory cards did you use? Did you use your phone as well as a camera? Set up one folder on your computer and migrate all the files you have. Did you travel with a partner, friend, child, or someone else who was taking pictures? Ask them for their photos as well.

Sort

This can be a system entirely of your own making. Whether you decide to sort by day, by event, by location is your choice; regardless of how you do it, I highly recommend making folders to help you easily sort.

Edit

Ok, now we’re getting to the nitty gritty, and a little ruthlessness at this stage will save you time and energy down the line. Going folder by folder, look for duplicates, photos that are out of focus, over- or under-exposed, or that simply didn’t turn out the way you had hoped. Delete them.

Rename

This is one of the simplest steps to make your photo collection more accessible, but it does take time. Rename the pictures that you intend to keep with identifying information. I often use the initials of the people in the picture and one or two words to describe the location or occasion. This picture of me and my friend Kim that I took at a July 4 parade is one of my favorites of 2014, and I can easily find it because the file name describes the picture (rather than the meaningless IMG_7531) . Add another tag like “best” to your 5-star photos if you plan to make a family year book or other memorabilia later. Now your files are searchable by those keywords!

SH KA parade cropped best SH KA parade cropped best

Edit again

Did you take several pictures of the street outside your hotel on different days? Does one stand out among the others? Did you try to capture the light at the beach *just right* and finally get it on your last evening? Is there that one picture where your daughter or brother is lit up with delight? Those are your 5-star photos. You surely don’t have to delete the others, but if there are photos that just seem kinda meh in comparison to those that give you the warm fuzzies, you may want to consider it. At the very least, you can create another folder to revisit in, say, a year when you have a little more emotional distance.

Share…selectively

Everyone wants to see your vacation pictures, but no one wants to see ALL of your vacation pictures. If you share on a pubic or private website, just put your best out there. If you make a book or prints to share, do the same. You may feel overjoyed reliving your day-long hike by looking at every picture, but the best one is enough to share your experience with friends.

Backup

Last but not least, don’t forget to back up your photo collection. You want these reminders of your awesome trip to be around for a long time!

So are you ready to tackle your summer vacation photos? These simple steps will get you off to a great start!

(If you’re still a little apprehensive about this whole thing, look for our special promotion in mid-August – like your favorite vacation, it’s almost too good to be true!)

PS: looking for a way to jumpstart your personal archiving project? Check out my ebook More Storage More Problems: Easy Steps to Manage Your Flood of Digital Photos