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You finally have the time to organize photos from the abyss that is your phone—and maybe even preserve some of the travel relics you’ve collected from your wanderings. Here are four ways to make it happen.
The call to stay put during the COVID-19 pandemic has given us the gift of extra time to reflect on travels past—a luxury most of us can’t afford when our to-do list gets in the way. But even with time to spare, the options are overwhelming. Every Shutterfly and Snapfish out there has a travel scrapbook or photo album idea. What to choose?
We curated four ways to organize your memories below, from traditional scrapbooking to “digi-scrapping.” Knowing we’re in the midst of a rocky economy, we’re keeping budgets in mind when recommending supplies. Consider relying on the many small businesses that need our support right now. You can also request a contact-free delivery to maximize safety and minimize contact with others.
A few tips before you dive in:
Edit your photos. All of those sunset selfies you took in Croatia when you were trying to #findyourlight? Choose the best ones and punt the rest. This process could take hours—days, even—but it’s worth it so that you know exactly what you’re working with.
Back up the photos that make the cut. You can always use an external hard drive, but the better option is to set up your phone so it stores them automatically in the cloud through services like Apple’s iCloud and Google Photos. If you’re an Apple person, go to the Settings app, tap your name at the top, select iCloud, and then select “iCloud Photos” to be sure they sync. If you're an Android user, go to your Google Photos app, tap the menu at the top, select Settings, and then select “back up and sync.”
Decide how you want to organize your photos. Do you want to create a physical book, or do you want to share your photos virtually somewhere other than Instagram?
Here are four options for getting creative.
For design lovers: Artifact Uprising
Many shutterbugs agree that Artifact Uprising makes some of the most elegant photo books out there. Take one look at their website, and you’ll see that their products look like they were lifted straight from a dreamy, yet somehow not-annoying Pinterest board. We love the fact that they have an app that lets you make a book directly from your phone. From $49.
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For the Instagram obsessed: Chatbooks
If you don’t want to choose which photos go into your book, Chatbooks is for you. Though you can select individual photos, the software also lets you sync up directly to your Instagram or Facebook feed, so you can create a book using what you posted—no additional brainwork required. Bonus: Your photos get arranged chronologically (though you can also switch the order manually if you want). From $10.
For subscription devotees: Groovebook
Scheduling junkies will love Groovebook. All you have to do is upload 40-100 new cell phone photos to their app each month, and they’ll put your selection in a 4x6 photo book and send it directly to your door. The cover varies month by month with seasonal patterns and colorful spines. Pages have perforated edges so you can tear out photos to send to your nearest and dearest. $3.99 per month.
The last thing the Marie Kondo minimalists among us want to do is add more “stuff” at home. That’s why smart phone slideshows can be such a win: They still honor your trip in a structured and presentable way, but they take up zero space (beyond your cloud storage)—and you can carry them with you everywhere.
Make a slideshow on your Phone.
Here’s the easiest way to make a slideshow on your phone if you have an iPhone. You can make a slideshow in Google Photos, too: Just open the app on your phone, select the photos you want, select the overflow (three dots) icon in the upper righthand corner after that, and then choose slideshow from the menu. If you want to get a little fancier, there are apps for slideshow making that have more features. PicPlayPost—available for both iOS and Androids—is one of the biggest crowd pleasers, with plenty of features and even GIF stickers to amp up your game. For the less tech-inclined, Slideshow Lab—also available for both iOS and Androids—is an easier option with fewer features to navigate.
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Turn short videos into a longer movie.
Instead of letting all of those short little videos that you didn’t end up using in an Instagram Story go to waste, why not string together the best ones? You can even layer your video with the music that you were listening to during your trip. If you’re an iPhone user, you can do this faily easily on iMovie on your phone. Otherwise, such apps as PicPlayPost let you make movies in addition to slideshows.
We see you, creative crafters, and we applaud you for your dedication to the traditional scrapbook! You’ve found a way to preserve those piles of bus maps and faded train tickets.
Print your photos with an online printing service.
The usual photo-printing suspects, like Snapfish and Shutterfly, all offer affordable at-home delivery, but if you want something higher quality and are willing to pay a little more, go for a higher-end professional site like AdoramaPix (a camera shop in New York City with an online store), or Mpix (a professional photo lab based in Kansas). For some pricing context, a standard 4x6 photo is nine cents per image on Snapfish; 15 cents on Shutterfly; 24 cents on AdoramaPix; and 33 cents on Mpix.
Order your scrapbooking materials.
Pioneer Photo Albums, beloved in the professional photography and scrapbooking world for their high-quality standards, is a great place to start. Sort book options by both size and style, and order refill pages for when you need to top up. For supplies, head to reliable Paper Source for the basics. They have everything from multi-colored scrapbook paper to rubber stamps. If you want items that are more tailored to travel, go for stores that are solely devoted to scrapbooking, as they have larger and deeper selections. Bluemoon Scrapbooking has an excellent travel-themed section where you can get antique travel postcards, and Scrapbook.com sells destination-related supplies (search for India, and you’ll see lots of pretty patterned scrapbook paper).
Digital scrapbooking—which serious crafters refer to it as “digi-scrapping”—is a concept for the more tech-savvy among us that involves combining digital photos and digitally scanned memorabilia with computer graphics to create a virtual collage. There’s a lot to figure out here, and it’s best for those who are already familiar with software programs such as Photoshop. Before you go all in, consider taking “Digital Scrapbooking for Beginners,” a free online class offered by the digital scrapbooking resource Scrapneers, to see if this method is a good fit for you.
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