How to make a travel photo book the easy way, even 2 years later

With a few weeks before our next holiday, I decided that my Norway photo book project was way overdue. And although I thought I had prepared properly, I obviously hadn’t. It is possible to make a travel photo book 2 years after the actual trip. (Yeah. I know. 2 years!) It would have been easier though, if only done some things during and immediately after the trip. In this blog post, I’ll share a few tips how to avoid some mistakes I have made when preparing a travel photo book project.

Write down the itinerary

If you pre-book your itinerary, this is easily done before your trip. If decide where to go during your travel, at least keep a journal to write down which places you visited. As a bonus, you could add why you planned on going there. Comparing expectations and experience make a great journal entry and a interesting item in your photo book.

Of course, I’m telling you this because I had to go through my e-mail archive and Dropbox to find our reservations to remember what places we went to in Norway. And why? I know remember one place had something to do with Netflix’ serie Lilyhammer. Which is, by the way, a hilarious introduction to Norwegian culture.

Keep a (small) journal

Lonely Planet Norway guide books for planning a family holiday

A small journal is practical, so you can write down the places you went, the hotels/hostels you stayed in and the restaurants you ate at. So much for your standard journal entries. If you also use a journal to write down how you experienced the day, it will help you later on selecting the photos for your book.

I tell you this, because with so many pictures to choose from (the downside of digital photography), you wouldn’t believe how I got caught in the moment of those memory making experiences that I only took one lousy photo with my phone. And when you make your photo book 2 years after, that is easily overlooked. Especially when you get distracted by ton of macro photos from an otherwise forgetful moment.

I actually enjoyed writing little Lonely Planet style entries for other projects, that fitted with my Lonely Planet photo book template for our travel photo books. This too is an easier job when you do it during or soon after the trip than 2 years after. Duh.

Upload your photos ASAP

When you get home, I urge you as STRONGLY as I possibly can, to upload your photos onto your computer on which you will be making your photo book ASAP. That means from the SD card(s) from your camera(s), the optional action cam and definitely from ALL phones.

Having the photos for your project safely on your drive gives you peace of mind. If a phone were to go in the washer (not my fault) or a card gets formatted by accident (those little buttons – definitely not my fault) you can rest assured that the content for your photo book project is still waiting for you to be processed. Even if it is 2 years later.

Bonus tip: use Lightroom

So Lightroom is a photo management AND editing tool from Adobe. You know, the Photoshop guys. And a lifesaver. You upload your photos in de folders you usually use. So maybe by camera type, maybe by year or uploading date. The next step is to import the photos into Lightroom. When doing so,  you can add tags to the imported files, like ‘Norway’ or ‘ iPhone Irene’ or ‘2016’. With those tags, your photos are easy to search, find and catalog. Because the next step is to create a catalog for your project. You can create smart catalogs with queries to add any imported picture with a specific tag. Once you have set up a smart catalogue, later imports with the tag added are automatically added.

Delete photos

Wait. What? With terabytes of storage capacity, is there a need to delete photos I don’t use? Yes, there is. Depending on the destination, the amount of files to review may – in my case- range from 500 tot 1000 photos. And with kids running all over the place, you know there will be a fair share of out-of-focus photos, blurry photos and accidental photos. Delete them. Permanently. It will save time when reviewing and selecting photos for your book.

Save your photo book template or checklist

It has been 2 years since I made the Costa Rica album. So I forgot how Lightroom’s book making option worked and what fonts and colors I chose. Luckily, I wrote a blog post on creating a Lonely Planet style photo book that help me retrace my design choices. Better yet, I remembered in time how the book making option worked and found out I had saved page templates and header styles for the text items. Winning!

So. Do yourself a favor. Make yourself a checklist and save a tutorial.

Wait for the discount

I’m using Blurb for printing my books. At first because of the wide choice of paper. Now because the book making option in Lightroom is through Blurb. I’ve seen better reviews of other printing companies, but those use different sizes for their books. And call me OCD, but I can’t have my series of travel photo albums in different sizes with their backs sticking out unevenly on the bookshelf. It equals horror. Sheer horror.

Okay, getting to the point. Besides the quality thing, I think Blurb is actually quite pricey. So I plan my photo book deadline meticulously to their discount offers. This week, I missed the 35% discount by a day. Not to worry, their will be other discounts. Count on it. I’m behind 2 years already. What’s another few weeks?

Now I’m curious. How do you do it? Any tips on a quick follow-up from holiday to photo book are heavily appreciated! And general tips on photo book making are more than welcome too.

xoxo – Irene.

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how to make a travel photo book


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