Yay! You’ve decided to go on a group vacation! I’m excited for you….you’re going to have a great time, especially because you’ve done your homework, and you’re well prepared for the trip.
You can make your travel experience even better by documenting your group’s adventures with your photos, and setting up an easy way for group members to share photos once the trip is over.
In this post, I’d like to give you some tips on how to take great storytelling photos, share your pictures with one another, and create a memorable photo album that all the group members can enjoy.
How to Document the Experience on Your Group Trip
It’s a good idea to decide in advance whether you’d like to create a photo album about your trip, because that decision may influence the kinds of photos you take on during your travels.
If you’ll be leading this effort, talk to your group members in advance, and let them know you’ll be creating a group album, and that you’ll create a place online where people can share their photos for the album.
Then, when you’re taking photos during the trip, you’ll want to document:
- Who you’re traveling with.
- The stops you make.
- When you get to your destination.
- All the stories and memories along the way.
Memorabilia can be helpful to keep track of some of the details on your travels, so hang onto your airline tickets, maps, pamphlets, restaurant menus, and your itinerary (which will likely included with the group planning of the trip).
Use your camera to help you document everything you experience. Take photos of things like the people you meet, the food you eat, and the signs you see. In a previous blog post, we’ve offered some tips for documenting stories from a trip. You can also check out our previous post on keeping your photos organized (and backed up) while you’re traveling.
If you are changing time zones during your trip, make sure your camera clock is set for the correct time – and tell your fellow group members to do the same. This is particularly important when you’re sharing photos with one another and creating an album. If someone’s camera clock is set wrong, it will be tricky to place that person’s photos in the correct sequence when you’re compiling images.
Most Android and Mac smartphones have location settings that will automatically adjust when you switch time zones. If you’re using an SLR camera, check to see if it has a location setting that will automatically adjust – if not, you will need to remember to manually update the clock.
We do have clients who don’t bother to change their camera clocks when they travel. When we have that client’s itinerary while we’re organizing their photos and creating albums, we can adjust the dates and times to match their locations during the trip. That’s a service people really appreciate – but you don’t want to get stuck adjusting time settings for the other group members. A quick “Set your clocks!” reminder to people when you arrive in your new time zone should eliminate the problem.
How to Share Photos from Your Group Trip
You can set up a sharing site that folks can use to upload their photos while they’re still on vacation, or after they return.
It’s easy to set up, and your group members will love you for this!
In a previous post, I recommended some options for good photo sharing services, and you can use any of the sites I mentioned in that post. Dropbox is a my favorite service for a project like this – it’s easy to set up the folder system that I’ll be talking about next.
You probably don’t want the members of your group to upload every single photo they take on the trip, so it’s a good idea to suggest people review their photos and only upload their favorites.
It’s also best to share a paid account for the sharing service you choose, because the free services will probably compress the photos when you upload them, making them lower quality. Poor quality photos won’t work, because you’ll need full size, printable versions of the photos in your album.
I’ve done photo sharing during several group trips. Here are my top four tips for setting up your sharing system and getting great quality photos to share:
1. Set up a group shared project folder, and title that folder using the year, month, and trip location (i.e. “2017-07-China”). Then create subfolders with people’s names, so each person can upload images to his or her individual folder.
For example, you can title the folder “Smith-John.” Using this naming convention and organizational system will be easier to manage than having a huge group of everyone’s photos all in one folder. It will also make it more manageable to work in portions (by day or event), rather than all at once.
When we took a trip to France a few years ago, we traveled with a group of 20 people – which meant that people contributed photos from 20 different cameras!
2. As I mentioned earlier, have them upload just their favorites. When you have people self-select the best photos to upload, it helps pare down the quantity of photos you have to review for your album. For our trip to France, I had to sift through over 7000 photos, because I didn’t use individual folders and didn’t ask people to limit the photos they uploaded!
3. If you’re creating the album, download the shared photos to your computer. This gives a clean copy of the images to work from while you’re picking images for the album.
4. As you’re downloading the folders, rename the photos and add the name of the person who took them (for example, “2017-07-01-China-Smith-John-Canon”). By having the date taken to the photos, the images will fall in order – which will help when you’re creating your album. This is also helpful for tracking the sources of the images, which means it will be easier to deal with problems if they crop up.
My Recommendations for Creating a Group Album
Once you start creating the group album, you’re going to be grateful that you’ve been so meticulous and organized!
You’ll have only the very best photos of the trip, which will make it much easier to select the images you want to use. You’ll also have a simple way to refer back to the who, what, where, and when of your trip, which will be useful for storytelling.
Follow these steps to create your album:
Step 1: Create subfolders for each day of the trip. In most cases, people want the album to be in chronological order, so it’s a good idea to create subfolders by day – especially if you did a multi-day trip. Then you can look at all the photos for a particular day, and pick the best ones from that day for your album.
Step 2: Review the photos people have shared, and select the best ones. Keep in mind that each person on the trip will want to be represented, so you’ll need to make sure you have photos of each person. Some folks in the group will take fantastic photos, but not every person is a great photographer – so you may want to let people know in advance that you will get to choose which photos are used!
Step 3: Edit any images that need to be adjusted. You may need to flip or rotate some of the images, so now’s the time to do that. I actually have one travel buddy who managed to take all her photos upside down! You can also color correct your images through the “Photos” features on your computer.
Step 4: Copy the best images (post-edits) into a project folder. Keeping the final, edited versions of the images in separate folder – instead of saving over the originals – will be handy if you need to revert back to the originals.
Step 5: Create the album by page or spread, keeping events and/or locations together. Now you get to create your album pages!
When we design an album here at Picture This Organized, we typically leave space for text (for captions and stories), then add captions and stories after we know which pictures will be used. You can also wait to design the album until you have all the text.
You can utilize your photo sharing site (where people uploaded their photos) to clarify locations or get stories from the group members. Most photo sharing sites have comment fields, and you can copy and paste comment text directly into the album layout pages.
Unsure of the location of a particular photo? That’s okay! If you stopped at locations that had similar features (like cathedrals, ruins, etc.), you can refer back to your itinerary and use the Internet to search for locations and verify photos. We often use this trick when we’re working on client projects.
Step 6: Get your album printed. When you have finished choosing your photos and adding text, you’ll need a good company for album design and publishing. I recommend Mpix – you can share the login details your group members, so people can see your progress and help with the final proofing of your album.
Once your album is completed, you can have each person order their own copy, or you can collect money and handle the ordering for them.
Sharing the Highlights of Your Group Trip
Group trips are often terrific experiences, and when you take the lead on helping people capture and share their best photos, you’ll get the group to document all of their very best memories.
And once you’ve used these tips to design and print a beautiful photo album about your big adventure, all of you will have a wonderful keepsake that will remind you of the wonderful trip you all took together.