You had a great time backpacking around Europe for the summer. You went to all the famous sites, hung out with awesome people, and ate fantastic food.
And what do you have to show for it? A 4-inch model of the Eiffel Tower and three 4-gigabyte memory cards full of photos?
Now what? Perhaps you glue the model of the Eiffel Tower to the dash board of your car and throw the memory cards in a desk drawer. You want to go through and put pictures up on the web, since showing off your pictures is a great way to share your travels, but it’s hard to find time for it. And how do you make them interesting to other people?
Use folders to keep from being overwhelmed
First, get those photos off the memory card and onto your computer. Then, sort them into folders by location. Instead of one folder with 2000 photos, you might have 40 folders with 50 photos each. It’s the same amount of photos, but suddenly it’s manageable — you can organize one folder at a time and get that warm feeling of progress. I know I’m more likely to sit down to sort through 50 pictures than 2000. And if I can get myself started, I get into it and sort through a lot more than I thought I had time for.
Send copies to the people in your pictures
Maybe you’ve only posted three of the pictures from the night out on the town, but you’ve got another dozen on your computer. Email those to the people you went with. Your friends at home may not care to see the others, but the people who were there will be interested. If you’ve put them up on the web somewhere they can download them, send an email with the link. It’s a great way to stay in contact with people you met.
Amateur photographers get one good shot out of every ten they take. Professional photographers get one good shot out of 100. Only show your best. Digital is great because it’s easy to take lots of pictures, but be brutal when deciding what to share.
The one really fantastic shot of the view from the hiking trail loses its impact when surrounded by nine sort-of-okay shots. Ask yourself “If I hadn’t taken this, would I still think it was interesting?” After the 40th picture of “This is me at the bar with some people I met at the hostel” your viewers will be bored. Always leave them wanting more.
Don’t feel you must have everything done before you start sharing
Start sharing straight away, even if there’s more to sort, or some photos you want to touch up in Photoshop. Get the ones that are ready up on your website (or blog, or Facebook account or other photo-sharing site). Create a manageable goal: one picture a day, or five a week. Getting comments from friends and family will inspire you to keep posting until you’re done.
Write captions about what happened
Sure, the picture of the river is okay, but isn’t it more interesting to know the river is from a melting glacier; it was 7:30am when we crossed and my legs went numb as soon as I stepped in. One person was so short the water came up to her waist and I thought she was going to be washed away. Someone else declared it was so cold she’d rather go through the pain of childbirth again than go back across, but Kat, the girl in the middle, crossed seven times to help the rest of us make it.
The goal is to make the viewer jealous. Either jealous of what a great time you had or jealous of what a great story you got from the adventure. It’s not really important which.
Add some music and make a video
Ok, I admit this is something that I haven’t actually done, but once I find some easy software (any suggestions for a mac?) then I’ll do this. I’ve already got the music and photos picked out. It’s a great way to view lots of pictures quickly.
There’s more ways to share pictures than just the web
Get some prints, glue them to index cards and mail them off as post cards. Make a collage or a scrapbook. Put framed copies up on the wall. Use them as inspiration to plan your next trip.
If you do more with your pictures than throw the memory cards in a drawer you’ll appreciate them a lot more than a 4-inch Eiffel Tower.