5 ways to organize your travel photos amid COVID-19

Few of us are traveling far amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

If you stuck at home with travel-withdrawal symptoms, consider diving into photographs of your past trips. Perhaps you have some extra time to organize those photos or embark on a fun photo-related project. Revisiting destinations may stir up fond memories — and it may spur ideas for your next trip once travel is encouraged again. 

Here are five activities to tackle whether your photos are on your smartphone, computer, in the cloud or prints from film:

1. Cull photos collected from various excursions over the years.

I’m talking about the 2,000 photos from your trip to Australia that you dumped into your computer and haven’t looked at in two years. First, get rid of the mistake shots of the ground and out-of-focus images. Then ask yourself, “Do I really need 10 images of the same rock formation?” Do the same with older print photos from film.

2. Organize your photos.

Once you’ve narrowed down the number of digital or print images, organize them, label them and edit them. Doing this makes your images ready to share at any time and you don’t have ask yourself when and where you were in a particular shot. You may want to break up these tasks since they take time.

For digital photos, create separate files by year, location or whatever category you choose. Do something similar for print photos, but file them in envelopes, boxes or photo albums (see below).

3. Make digital photo books or put print images into photo albums.

Many website let you make digital photo books of varying styles, quality and prices. A subscription to Groovebook lets you upload 40-100 new cell phone photos monthly to its app and it will create a 4×6 photo book for you ($3.99 a month). Chatbooks lets you sync to your Instagram posts (no photo decisions necessary) to create photo books starting at $10 or you can subscribe (starting at $5 for a 5×5 book monthly made from 30 new photos from your camera roll).

4. Make scrapbooks of photos and other travel mementos.

Whether you print photos or use digital images to create e-scrapbooks, first make sure your photos are edited and organized. You can combine printed photos with mementos, such as maps and ticket stubs into physical scrapbooks.

For e-scrapbooks, use your smartphone or digital camera to photograph mementos and combine them with digital photos. You can use software like Adobe Photoshop (starts at $9.99 a month). Check out this free online class, Digital Scrapbooking for Beginners, from online resource Scrapneers.

digitalizing print photos
Here’s some of the gear needed to digitalize printed photographs. (Image by Mara Morrison from Pixabay)

5. Digitalize print photos.

Consider pulling out those shoeboxes of old family photos and digitalizing them. It’s a laborious task, but it’s worth it. Not only will digitalizing print images preserve them forever, it will make them easier to share with others.

You can scan photos yourself or pay a company to do it. The main differences are time, money and, some say, quality.

You can scan photos yourself using your smartphone’s camera and Google’s Photoscan app (for iOS and Android), which takes a series of images and combines them to eliminate glare. This method can be tedious if you have many photos.

Another DIY option is to use a flatbed scanner or a multifunction printer with a scanner. Some scanners have a photo-scanning mode or you can buy one specifically for photos for less than $100. PCMag likes the Epson Perfection V39 and Canon CanoScan LiDE 400. Save time by scanning multiple images at once; you can crop them and save them as separate digital files later.

The cost of most scanning services ranges from around 20 cents to 40 cents per image/negative. The cheapest option is ScanMyPhotos (prices start at 1 cent per image). Memories Renewed will even take photo albums (90 cents per image) and memorabilia ($1.50 each).

Another COVID-19 related post: Need to change air travel plans due to COVID-19? What you need to know plus links to major airlines

Note: The featured image at top of film negatives is by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.