So you’ve just returned from an epic trip, and now you’re left with amazing memories and thousands of photos that you’ve captured during the trip.
What should you do with them? I know it can be overwhelming to sort through thousands of photos. I used to stress out when I saw the amount of photos I’d taken — until I finally found the perfect way to organize my travel photos.
As a travel blogger, I travel a lot, around once a month. So I really need to have a quick and easy way of organizing and processing my photos in between trips. Today I’m sharing this process to help you stay organized and have some beautiful photos to look back at.
Table of Contents
- Why Organize Your Travel Photos?
- How to Organize Travel Photos
- A Step Further: What to Do with Your Travel Photos
Why Organize Your Travel Photos?
First of all, let’s talk about why you should organize your travel photos.
They are just about the BEST souvenirs you can bring home from a trip. Travel photos capture moments you’ll want to relive many years down the road. Especially for families with young kids, they are precious moments in life you want to keep.
If you don’t store and organize your travel photos properly, it’s easy to lose them in the crazy world of cyberspace.
Plus, once you get used to the new process, it’ll take minutes to organize your travel photos each time.
How to Organize Travel Photos
Transfer Photos from Your Camera to Computer
The first step is to get the photos off your camera. It’s as easy as inserting your SD card into your laptop/computer and pulling/dragging the folder onto your computer.
The photos in my SD card are always found in a DCIM folder. I basically pull the DCIM folder into my ‘Pictures’ main folder. It’ll take anything from 5 minutes to an hour for all the photos to be transferred. This depends on how many photos you have and your internet speed.
Organize Your Photos into Folders
Once you have all your photos transferred to your computer, start by naming your folder. It’s important to name your folders properly if you want to be able to find your images in future.
I first have an overall folder for each year. Then I name the main folder with the month and name of the country. Within that, I have sub folders for each city or region that I visited.
Here’s a look at the format:
- Month – Country name
- Subfolders of city or region
- Subfolders of city or region
- Subfolders of city or region
Here’s a look at how all my folders in 2019 look like. Notice I arrange them according to the date each folder was created so they are in chronological order.
An example from a trip:
Let’s use the photos from my recent Senegal trip as an example. I will name the main folder “June – Senegal” and then divide the photos into sub folders for each area I visited.
- June – Senegal
- Ngor Island
- Goree Island
- Langue du Barbarie
I don’t recommend naming each individual image file as that will take ages especially if you have thousands of images.
If you take RAW files, I recommend splitting them from the JPG files and placing them in separate folders.
*NOTE: For the uninitiated, RAW photos are the high resolution version of the images. Most photographers would take photos in RAW format so they can use these high-res images in magazines or print.
An example of how I organize my RAW folders:
Don’t Be Afraid To Delete
Everyone has this same problem: we all take repeated shots of the same thing at exactly the same spot. That’s how you end up with thousands of photos, with 50% of them redundant.
I know, it’s inevitable. You just want to make sure you’ve captured your subject in the best possible way.
Now it’s time to go through your photos and eliminate the ones that just don’t make the cut. Don’t overthink it and I promise it won’t take more than 10 minutes.
Just choose the ones that look the best and delete the rest quickly. It’ll make your life so much easier.
Edit Your Travel Photos
After culling your images and reducing them to what you need, it’s time to edit them to make them look better.
If you have a blog or you like sharing photos on social media, editing photos is part of the process. Most photographers agree that photo editing is the most important step in getting good photos.
I use the Lightroom software program to edit all my photos in bulk and add my watermark. I already have a Lightroom preset in place (you just need to do this once when you start) so editing just involves applying my preset to all my images in a folder at once.
There are many free programs such as iPhoto, Picasa, GIMP, but they don’t work quite as well as the more popular programs like Lightroom and Photoshop.
Editing is an optional step and only recommended if you intend to use your travel photos.
Use a Cloud Service to Back Up Your Photos
Computers have limited shelf life. If they die, so will your photos. I’ve long given up on hard disks as they’re unreliable and hard to carry around (a pain for full-time travelers like myself). Don’t risk losing your photos.
I always back up my images on cloud storage . Dropbox for example is the most popular file storage service.
Just pay a fee each month for the advanced plan and you’ll get more than enough space for your images. Plus they are all automatically backed up so you’ll never lose your photos.
You can even write little notes on your photos with the annotation tool, to help you remember every moment of the trip. This feature is particularly useful for content collaboration if you want to share your photos with friends or family, or for work purposes.
A Step Further: What to Do with Your Travel Photos
Now you’re all set with organizing and storing your photos, what’s next? Most people only go as far as sharing their images on social media. But once memories of the trip fade, these images also get tucked deep into the back of your mind.
Print Out Your Travel Photos
One way to eternalize these travel memories is by printing out your photos.
When we first moved to Amsterdam, I selected some of our best travel photos and got them printed to display around our new apartment. They are still my favorite decor in our home.
I used Snapfish to print out my digital photos and got them delivered to my home. The website is easy to use: all you need is to upload your images, pay for the printing and enter your address.
Turn Your Photos into a Book or Canvas Print
Snapfish also allows you to put together your travel photos into a hardcover photo book.
The process takes only a few minutes: first choose a theme or design for your book, the size you want, and start uploading photos. Voila!
Canvas prints look amazing as home decor. I had an image of Kaleya on her first birthday printed into a poster and it looks gorgeous.
Pin Them on a World Map
Another great way to display your travel photos is pinning them onto a cork wall map. It looks fantastic and is a great way to keep those memories alive.
If you’ve kept some ticket stubs or postcards from the trip, pin them alongside the photos to make it look even more visually stunning.
Inspired? Pin it!