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From jpgs to Memories: Four Steps to Enjoy your Vacation Photos

Life is good … you’ve just gotten back from an amazing summer vacation. You took lots of pictures so the memories will last forever. Right. Not necessarily. If your pictures never leave your camera, ipad or iphone, and they are not organized, they are just jpegs, not memories. Follow these simple steps to turn your digital files into memories you can easily access and share

1. Delete as you Go

Don’t wait until you get home. Take a few minutes each day to delete poor quality and redundant images on your phones and cameras. Do you really need 18 pictures of a sunset?

2. Consolidate

We just returned from a family vacation to Costa Rica with over 1000 pictures and videos. Five people were snapping away on their iphones, I used a “real” camera, we purchased a CD of pictures from the hotel photographer, and my daughter had her GoPro. The day we got home I downloaded the vacation pictures and videos from the eight sources onto one central hub so all the files could be organized as a group. Create a vacation album in your photo organizing program and drag everything in.

3. Organize

Now comes the fun part (well fun to me, but I love to organize). If your devices were all set to the correct date and time stamp in theory the pictures from all the devices should merge into the proper timeline so that everyone’s photos of the hike to the waterfall, for example, should be together, and it will be easy to pick the best shots of that event. If not you can move them manually within your online album. You can also use the geotag feature in many photo organizing programs to view pictures by location, if you visited multiple cities in the same trip. Videos can go into a sub folder.

Most photo organizing programs have rating systems (stars or colors or favorites). As you compare pictures from the same event, delete the poor quality and redundant shots, and give your favorite pictures (and those that tell a story you want to remember) a high rating.

After this step my 1,000 pictures from Costa Rica were whittled down to under 200.

Before you “share and enjoy” you can do some light editing (cropping, enhancing, red eye removal) as needed.

4. Share and Enjoy

Sure you might have posted a few pictures on Facebook while on vacation, but now that your vacation pictures are organized and at a manageable number, share an album of the highest rated images with family and friends on an online sharing site. Print out and frame a few pictures. Create a montage set to music with the best images and video clips. My favorite way to remember a vacation is to create a printed album that can be enjoyed for years. There’s nothing better on a winter’s day than to look through a library of vacation albums and remember that Life is Good.


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