Tuesday, October 1, 2013

8 Things You Can Do With Your Vacation Photos

If you follow me around long enough, you will already know we travel with up to five cameras for three people (if this is news to you, check out All The Pretty Pictures or There Are No Words for an idea of what goes on in our lives).  This means thumb drives galore with photos.  4,156 to be exact from a recent trip to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.  But what in the tar can I do with all those pictures?

1.  Get them off your camera

Whether it is a DSLR or point and shoot or iPhone, the first job is to get them onto a laptop or computer.  This does a couple things.  First off, it is a backup.  If the iPhone gets lost or stolen, the images are gone.  If the DSLR gets left on an airplane, the images are gone.  Second off, you can do a whole lot more than swipe your finger across the screen occasionally to remember your trip.

2.  Use the pictures as a slide show on your computer.  Or the desktop wallpaper.  

There's nothing better then sitting at work and seeing palm trees floating across the screen to get you through the day.  Or the laughing images of your children sliding down the ski slopes.  My desktop background changes with the season.  Right now its a lonely island in the South Pacific (just waiting for me to come back to it).  In a month it will be the ski slope of Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler, British Columbia.

3.  Hang 'em Up

Get one or two images from each vacation printed.  Nowadays you don't even need to get a frame - just order a canvas print.  They come ready to hang.  If you go with the frame, IKEA has some collage frames that hold three images.  One year when I was feeling like we hadn't gone anywhere in forever (say it like a teenager to get the full effect), I looked at the pictures on our "vacation wall" and realized we had hit two states and a different country in an eighteen month time span.  I guess we had gone on vacation.

This one was actually a gift for my aunt - the photo was taken off her back deck.

4.  Slide show on the big screen

When we come home from a trip, somehow every relative in a 75 mile radius shows up at my house within a week (I guess they think we have t-shirts for them).  In the old days people pulled out the slide projector (remember those?) and screen (going waaaaayyyy back), argued over the bean bag and settled in for a show (or the coinciding nap).  Now you can stick the images on a DVD or thumb drive (if you have one of them fancy TV's) and just push play.  The pictures rotate through the screen and none of them will be upside down (you have to be of a certain age to get that one).

SOMEONE may pay attention to your photos.

5.  Make cards

This one has saved my butt a few times.  I print out 25 4x6 pictures and put them in blank cards.  The cards can either be cardstock that you folded and glue the prints on or actual blank cards where you insert the image into a precut frame.  Because they are blank, you can use them for any holiday, event, birth, get well, belated anniversary, belated birthday...you get the idea.

6.   Send out some holiday cheer

Christmas-time I know I have a good chance of getting mail that is not a bill (at least the odds get better).  Vacations are probably the one time of year families actually like getting together to have their photo taken (although a good portrait photographer will make this an enjoyable experience any time of the year).  Make the best of both worlds and turn your vacation photo into a Christmas Card.  With templates out there and online options galore, it's pretty painless to get a good card to send out to family and friends.

This was one of my most brilliant ideas - New Years cards with a blank spot on the back for Thank You's!

7.  Get yourself published

Scrapbooks are great!  I have a few (or 20) myself.  But they are bulky and can be hard to store.  Not to mention printing the pictures, getting out the stickers and the coordinating paper and double sided tape (one or three was always missing when I needed it).  These days I use an online publishing company like blurb.com or lulu.com and put together a book.  This is the one I did as a thank-you-for-letting-us-crash-your-condo for my parents.  Smaller than a scrapbook; less counter space used in the kitchen.  

8.  Image a Month Club

Or a fancy way of saying "Calendar".  We gave these out at Christmas (the idea-creativity juices stopped flowing sometime around November) and they got rave reviews.  An uncle of mine said it was a much better gift than something we could have bought because they were photos of somewhere we'd actually been.  Pretty good coming from someone with a way better camera than us (the nerve).  Lots of places print them.  My favorite so far has been Lulu.com.

Above all, get the images in front of you so you see them every day.  Sometimes I find a memory card I'd forgotten about at the bottom of a camera bag.  I dump it and it's like Christmas - the dog when it was a puppy, my daughter when she played soccer, images of an aunt that recently passed away.  Spend a few minutes of your day and get those pictures back into your life.  You spent a lot of money on them.

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