Organizing Your Photos During the Cruise

What To Do with All Those Pictures? Part 2

Feb. 16, 2018

Back in the 1990s, I spent a week alone each fall at a friend’s cottage on Vinalhaven Island in Maine. One year I spent the evenings at the large kitchen table putting together photo albums from my boxes of snapshots, picking the best and discarding the rest. If I had 100 photographs from a vacation, it was a lot. The cost of film and developing drove judicious use of the shutter button.

Now I have 6,224 photos from my Grand Asia cruise and a humongous task ahead of me if I ever want to cut them down to a manageable size.

Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tips to help in the process of organizing my travel photographs. I’m hoping that you will comment with some of your tricks and tips to make me even more efficient.

Preserving and organizing your photos along the way

Whether you use a PC or a Mac, if you have a laptop I recommend you download your photos every day or so. This gives you a backup in case you lose your camera or smartphone. With newer technology you could back up your photos to the “cloud” from your phone or camera, but that requires Internet access. I’m not willing to pay for slow, pricey shipboard service to upload huge photo files. I never delete photos from the camera or its memory cards during the trip, so I have two copies of each photo (one on the laptop, one on the camera’s memory card). Once at home, my photo library automatically backs up to a second hard drive and to BackBlaze in the cloud.

Where you go from here will depend on how you already organize your photos. I have a MacBook Air, so I use Apple’s iPhoto app (yes, I know I need to upgrade to Photos).

For a long trip, I create an event or folder for each location. I usually like to immediately scroll through my downloaded photos each evening to see what I have. I use my app to rate the best with 5 stars. If there are other photos that I also might consider for a book or slideshow, I rate them 4 stars. And for those that I just want to delete for quality purposes, I rate them 1 star. I’ve learned that if I delete them, the next time I download photos from my camera they appear again, because the program downloads any photos not already on my computer. I can filter out the 1-stars into a separate event and delete it when I get home.

Because our cruise ended so close to Christmas (Dec. 20), I decided to design Christmas cards using Apple’s app. I wrote my annual letter and designed the card with some photos from the trip and others from earlier in the year. Having rated the best photos along the way made this process easier. When we got to Honolulu and fast, free Internet (thanks, Starbucks), I uploaded the card design and ordered my cards. They were waiting when I got home.

I usually make a photo book from each trip. Some people prefer to make a slideshow, sometimes with music or even videos. In my last post I shared the link to Michael and Cheri’s exciting YouTube videos from the Grand Asia cruise. They have finished and updated their YouTube channel with all their video.

It might be a year later before I get around to making a photo book from my vacation. I’ll write about my process next.