404 Memory Keeping

What Now, Using the Best of the Bunch

I’m a strong believer in living with our photos. By that I mean, take them off of the computer or memory stick, and find a way that the whole family can enjoy them easily.

This three-part series is going to offer tips on how to choose from the hundreds (or thousands) of pictures taken on a single trip and turn them into a beautiful souvenir that your family will enjoy for years.

(Note in this post I reference various services and products that I am using. These brands are not sponsored, nor affiliated in any way with Travel Turtle. They are just products that I have used and enjoyed.)

Let’s Review

In part 1 of this series we eliminated duplicate and blurry photos. We grouped the photos into smaller themes and from those themes we selected a few of our favorite photos. I am participating with this series using a group of photos I took from a 2011 trip to Paris. I started with roughly 400 photos and by the end of this part, I had around 200 photos.

In part 2, we created albums and slide shows. This made it easy to share a majority of our photos with family and friends. I created a photo book with Shutterfly that used most of the 200 photos from part 1.

Now I want to share ways to take our absolute favorite photos to create smaller displays for our family to enjoy.

Part 3: Ways to Display the Best Photos from Family Trips

Slideshows, large photo books and even digital frames are a nice ways to store a large group of photos. However, sometimes smaller photo collections have more impact. These smaller collections can be displayed on walls or little books that are easy for our children and family to enjoy. They can be viewed at any time without needing to be set up. Here we will look at two ways to display and create a curated collection of our photos from a single trip.

Wall Art

As I mentioned, in part 1 of this series we selected a few of our favorite photos. We will use those favorites for the pictures we want to use in our photo wall display. There are many different types of photo walls, and I scoured the web for a few options. Because the theme of this series is to keep everything simple so that we actually do something with our photos, my criteria for selecting photo wall inspiration was to look for something: easy to assemble, change when necessary, child friendly and budget friendly. The bonus, they look great on our walls!  The inspiration I found is on Pinterest (you do not need to be a member to view the board). I will add to the board through time, so please follow the board or bookmark the page. Travel Memory Ideas Photo Wall

Now that we have some inspiration for our walls, let’s print the photos.

Wait! We have a few decisions to make first.

  • Color vs. black and white – Take a look at all the photos you want to display and ask yourself the following questions:
    • Do the photos have one consistent color tone throughout?
    • Are the photos simple images without a lot of clutter in the background?
    • Do you like color photos?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions, you may want to consider going with black and white photos. However, if you still prefer color photos, then do it! Or do a combination of both. They’re your photos and you can do what you want.

  • Editing photos – Again, editing is up to you. However, if you want a more polished look to your photos, it doesn’t hurt to spend a few minutes editing them. If you noticed that your favorite photos do not have a consistent color tone, you can use filters to achieve a uniform look. If you feel that the photos are busy, crop them. Here is a sample of three photos from our trip. The first group is before I applied filters, the second was after I applied the Saloman filter on Photogramio. They now look similar even though each was taken at a different time of the day.

Without filter:


With “saloman” filter:

mkm1These examples are just to show how filters can easily give a more uniform look, but they aren’t necessary. Remember, the idea here is to keep things as simple as possible so that it gets done.

  • If you choose a wall display that has different sized photos, the last thing you will want to consider is which photos should be larger. Ask yourself, what is the goal in displaying these photos? Are you more interested in showing your photography skills? In that case, a perfectly composed photo of a building, landscape or something else may be the preferred large photo. Do you want to showcase your children and where they’ve been? Then the posed photo of them in front of a statue or building may get top billing. Do you want to show your family having fun? Then maybe a candid photo of family members laughing or engaging in their location will get the honors.

Kids Story Books

Kids love to look at pictures of themselves. In part 2 of this series, I suggested creating a photo book through a service like Shutterfly and then purchasing two copies of the book. One for you and one for your kids. However, this can get expensive. Plus, some kids just are not as interested in looking through 200+ photos of a single trip often. Instead, make a photo album. It’s cheap, easy, and fun. Also, by selecting just a small portion of our hundreds of photos we can tell a story children will enjoy reading over and over again.


This is what I did: I recently went to my local photo printing kiosk and printed out 40 photos from our trip to Paris. I wanted a nice variety of photos of our family, and my son, with iconic images of Paris in the background and sometimes just the buildings and statues themselves. While my photos printed, I picked up a photo album that allowed for one 4×6 photo per page, and a total of 36 photos. To keep my son involved in the process, he came with me to print the photos and pushed all the buttons on the touch screen monitor. All the photos and album cost less than 15 Euros/20 USD. When I got home, I put the photos in the album in a way that told the story of his first trip to Paris. I also added a photo of the three of us to the cover and titled the book “Paris: 2011”. It instantly became his favorite book. He loves looking at the pictures of him in front of buildings, pointing out Pluto (we went to Disneyland Paris while we were there) and saying “Mommy” and “Daddy” when we are in the picture.

Here are some tips for you if you want to make a similar album:

  • If chronological order makes sense, do that, but don’t feel confined to the order of the trip. I had a photo of my son eating a baguette on the last day of our trip. However, it made more sense to be at the beginning of the book where I would have had a blank page to introduce a new section. Move things around to tell a better story.
  • Keep horizontal pictures next to horizontal pictures, and vertical pictures next to vertical ones.
  • If your photo album has more spaces than you have photos, use the extra pages to write details of your trip. Dates, places you went, and stories that your children will enjoy reading.
  • Use office labels to add text to the photos that could use a little more details. Especially if your kids are old enough to read, writing “Notre Dame” next to the photo of the “Notre Dame” and “Sacre Couer” next to the “Sacre Couer” will help them recognize the names and differentiate the different buildings.
  • Give the book to your children and include it in their evening bedtime routine. Use the photos to tell the story of their trip to Paris, winging it and changing it up a little each time. Or use labels and empty pages to write the story of their trip so anyone looking at the album with them can read the same story.
  • If you want to go back to the place don’t end your story book with “The End”. Instead, use “and they couldn’t wait to go back!”

Now that you have a few options on turning your large collection of photos into something that your family can look at over and over again, go ahead and make something with one of your trips. Share with me if you make anything from these ideas and I will share them here.

Thank you so much for following along!

This post is part of Friday Daydreamin’ at RWeThereYet. Click on the link to see what other bloggers favorite posts of the week.


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What Now, Using Most of the Photos from our Trips

I’m a strong believer in living with our photos. By that I mean, take them off of the computer or memory stick, and find a way that the whole family can enjoy them easily.

This three-part series is going to offer tips on how to choose from the hundreds (or thousands) of pictures taken on a single trip and turn them into a beautiful souvenir that your family will enjoy for years.

(Note in this post I reference various services and products that I am using. These brands are not sponsored, nor affiliated in any way with Travel Turtle. They are just products that I have used and enjoyed.)

Quick Review from Last week.

Last week we took a huge group of photos from one trip, grouped them into smaller, workable categories, and deleted all the unneeded photos. I am working with photos from a 2011 trip our family took to Paris for my son’s first birthday. I went from 400 photos to around 200 photos in a total of three categories: Disney/Halloween, Birthday, Paris Sites. This week we will look at options for creating something that our family can enjoy using as many of the remaining photos as possible.

Part 2: Organizing Large Photo Collection: Ways to use ALL of your favorites from a Single Trip

One school of thought, when it comes to photos, is that if we are going to take a lot of photos, we might as well do something with them. The other school of thought thinks that we just don’t need to keep every photo we take. Last week we deleted all the photos that didn’t add to our travel stories. The blurry shots, the multiple shots of the same things, the less worthy shots.

I feel my 200 remaining photos tell a complete photographic story of our trip. There is not too much redundancy with a good amount of sites and people.

For those who want to use as many photos as possible from your trip, this part is for you.

I’m not going to kid, 200 photos is still a lot for one one-week trip. With large numbers, we are limited in both money and space on what we can do with the photos to create something that our family can enjoy. However, we are no longer burdened with the stress of deleting photos. Sometimes, especially for the more special trips, it is worth keeping as many photos as possible.

Here are some options for your consideration:

Create a Slide Show

If your photo storing software on your computer allows this, it is definitely the easiest option. Otherwise, there are online sites that will allow you to upload your photos and make a slide show. With 200 photos, this can take a long time.


  • Break down your slide show according to the categories you created in part 1.
  • Each category should take the length of one song.
  • You will want photos to last on the screen 5-10 seconds, so keep that in mind when picking the song. (For example, one of my categories, has 33 pictures. So, I want to pick a song that’s at least 2 1/2 – 5 minutes long.) Alternatively, you can find the song you want to use for each section and then include the number of pictures that will fit into that time frame (For example, I found a 2 minute song and decide to remove some more pictures so that each photo gets more time on-screen.)
  • Use transitions between photos.
  • Have a compelling opening and closing photo.
  • Keep in mind that viewers may start to lose interest if the total time for viewing is 10 minutes.
  • If you have the software to do so, add a few segments of a video clip.
  • Burn it DVD and watch on tv and enjoy!

Use a Digital Frame

Upload your photos to a digital frame. Then people can just watch the frame when they want.

  • I have the Kodak Pulse 7-inch frame. I can send photos to the frame via wifi. 
  • The slide show and transitions happen automatically.
  • With my frame, I am only able to have 400 photos at a time. So, the frame will only allow me to have two trips worth of photos unless I upload fewer, of course.
  • Place the frame in a prominent place and enjoy!

Create a Photobook

Easy way to organize large number of photos from single trip

Here’s part of my process. So easy!

There are plenty of online or in-store options for turning digital photos into photobooks. These books are the only way to have a physical copy of your photos without using up a lot of space.


  • Allow a lot of white space in the pages.
  • Use a template and select autofill for the book. Make adjustments as needed, but don’t get too caught up in the details.
  • Keep in mind the number of pages you will need. For a book with 200 photos, 50 pages means 4 pictures per page. Since we’ve already deleted the really unnecessary photos, we will want these pages to have no more than 4-6 photos per page so that they each get the attention they deserve.
  • When you get the book, use a sharpie marker and write any details that you want to share about the photos.
  • Purchase an extra copy of your book and give that one to your children. Now they have their own book of their own trip that they can look at when they want!
  • Alternatively: Many people commented that they use their blog to keep memories from their trip. Turn your blog into a book by using a service such as blurb.com. In between or at the end of blog pages, include all the photos that didn’t make it to the blog. Now the children will have something to look at to remind them of their trip!

What I’m doing: Due to computer limitations at the moment, I opted to create a photobook with Shutterfly over creating a slideshow or adding photos to my digital frame. Using their simple path, I can put up to 4 pictures per page automatically. They have several travel styles to choose from suiting a wide-range of vacation experiences. I chose the 8  x 11 photobook. I like that it’s big enough to really showcase my photos without being overwhelming. Prices shows are for books with up to 20 pages, with an option to pay for additional pages. Because of this, I did end up reducing the overall number of pictures I used. My book would have been $65 for 78 pages, which is beyond my budget. I adjusted the book manually to allow for 6 pages occasionally. I did pick autofill and shutterfly organized my photos in date order, not in the order they were uploaded.

There are many great photobook making services out there, so find one that works best with your process.


A note about editing: For the purpose of this project, I opted out of individually editing the photos. I wanted it done. These photos are from 2011, I’m making this for my family, and I don’t need 200 perfectly composed, contrasted, white-balanced photos. Next week, we will look at creating items with just the best of the bunch and I will offer some tips for editing photos.



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What now? Organizing Photos, Part 1

Memory Keeping Monday

When I travel, I often have at least three cameras with me: phone, point and shoot, and dSLR. It’s easy to take a lot of photos. How do I handle these when I get home?

I’m a strong believer in living with our photos. By that I mean, take them off of the computer or memory stick, and find a way that the whole family can enjoy them easily.

This three-part series is going to offer tips on how to choose from the hundreds (or thousands) of pictures taken on a single trip and turn them into a beautiful souvenir that your family will enjoy for years.

For this three-part series, I’m going to join in and tackle a large group of pictures I have sitting in my hard drive. In 2011 we went to Paris for 6 days for my sons first birthday. I haven’t done anything with those photos and will use this opportunity to create something(s) for our family.

Keep in mind, these tips are mostly focused on the photos. Future posts for Memory Keeping Monday will look at ways to organize journaling, ticket stubs and other odds and ends we collect while we travel.

Part 1: Organizing Photos

There are many reasons people take pictures when they travel.  It’s not always just to remember what we did. Some people want to take pictures to practice their photography techniques. Others use photography as a creative outlet. Still others use it as a way to connect with people. As family travelers, we often photograph our subjects in front of sites as proof that they were there. More often than not, we do a combination of all of these photos. I know I do.

Because we have so many reasons we take photos, it can be overwhelming when it comes time to sort through these photos. However, we have to sort through these photos. Unless we are good at taking exactly the perfect photo and only keeping the perfect photos, and never taking too many photos, there are a lot of photos on a single trip that we just don’t need. Let’s say, for example, we come back from a week’s vacation with 600 photos. That’s a lot. It’s not even 100 a day. If we were to make a slide show, allotting 1 second per photos, that would be a TEN minute slide show! If we were to make a book allowing 4 pictures per page, that would be 125 PAGES! Filling that space with photos that don’t contribute to the story of our trip is a waste. That’s why we have to curate our travel photo collection.

Before looking through the photos, take a few minutes to think of the final product you want to create. Do you want to spotlight your best photographs? Do you want an album of the things you did ranging from the smallest details to the biggest moments? Do you want to tell a story, or several stories, of the best parts of your trips? Will you possibly want to do a few of these things?

organizing photos



While going through your photos and reliving your memories, you may change your mind and want to go in a different direction than what you originally planned. That’s ok.

What I’m doing: We went to Paris for my son’s first birthday, which is close to Halloween. Since Halloween isn’t celebrated in Paris (except for some nightclubs which aren’t really appropriate for a one-year old) we spent his first Halloween at Disney. So, I want to create some kind of memory piece using a lot of the photos, but I know I will also want to use some of my favorite photos for other things (to put in frames, his birthday album…)

Now that we have an idea of what we want to do, let’s look at our photos. (If you haven’t already, upload all of your photos from all of your cameras into one folder on your computer.)

1. Delete bad photos. The first round of deletes will be to delete all the blurry photos, too dark photos, accidental picture photo, or any you just know you don’t want. If this is too hard, save all the photos in a separate folder that you can access later if you want to. You probably won’t access them.

What I’m doing: I started with around 400 photos.  I only deleted about 15 photos.

2. Group the remaining photos by a theme  into folders. If you have more than 100 photos, you will want to break them down into smaller sections. Look through the photos to see if any natural stories can be told from this. Some trips lend themselves more to a day by day story. Some stories are told better by themes. Figure out what works best for you and your trip. Keep each folder group to around 50-100 photos (unless it’s day by day then each folder will just have the day’s photos). Every photo should belong to a group. If you have a few stray photos either make them their own folder, put them in with another folder, or delete them altogether if you discover that there isn’t really any value to them.

What I’m doing: I have them categorized chronologically in sections. There are three folders: regular Paris photos, Halloween and Disneyland, and Birthday.

3. Work through individual folders to delete multiples. Now’s the time to fine-tune your individual folders. Delete any multiples that don’t tell a story. Don’t feel that you have to delete all multiples, though. If a grouping of photos tell a great story, keep them! But you don’t need 10 photos of front the Taj Mahal to know you were at the Taj Mahal. (My rule of thumb is to limit a grouping or series of photos to 3 photos.)

Added tip: Take notes to why you are keeping the ones you are keeping.

At this point, I always like to make sure that at least each person in my family has one photo from the day, so even if I don’t have a great picture of myself, I will keep one in.

What I’m doing: Since I know I want to end up with some kind of album, I am still going to keep a lot of photos. For the Halloween/Disney part I started out with about 80 photos. That’s really a lot for 1 day, even a Halloween/Disney/Paris day. Looking at these 80 photos I know that I want to have pictures of the theme park, signs of Halloween, signs that we are in France (and not Orlando or California), and my son meeting some Disney characters. After deleting a large group, I was left with about 60 photos. For me, that is still too much for one day. I realized that a large chunk of photos I was keeping were from a 5 minute interaction my son had with Goofy during lunch. After deleting more photos, I was left was around 43 photos that I feel give a good representation of the day with not too many theme repeats.

organizing photos



If you feel like you aren’t deleting enough, it’s ok. I know this is hard to do and we will have plenty of time to narrow down the pictures again. But for now, delete the ones you know you do not need.

4. Now pick out your favorites. Within your theme/individual photos create a folder called “favorites”. Put copies of your top 5-10 photos (or less!) into that folder. There doesn’t have to be a rhyme or reason to this. It’s just your favorite photos.

What I’m doing: I kept a picture from the beginning of the day, the end of the day, a picture of my son in his costume and one with him and pluto, and a photo of all 5 of us.

organizing photos



5. Repeat with each theme/individual folder until you have gone through all of your folders.

NOTE: While going through this process, it’s a good time to copy into their own folders any photos that you may use for other purposes completely. For example:

  • A folder for blog photos, facebook photos, or tripadvisor reviews.
  • Any photo projects you may have that are not trip-specific. For example, I keep track of “where we sleep“. If I have a photo in a hotel room, I put it aside so that I at least one photo from each hotel we’ve stayed at separately. I also put aside one picture of each of my children from each trip we take. I also want to have a separate record for his first birthday, so I’m keeping copies of those in a separate folder to sort through later.

What I’m doing: I went through all of my separate photos for my Paris 2011 trip. My kids were sleeping when I went through the “Halloween/Disney folder” and I was able to concentrate on the photos. They woke up by the time I was going through my other two folders, so I didn’t delete as much as I wanted to because I didn’t want to accidentally delete something. This is our reality. This is why organizing photos is so difficult. That’s ok, just do what you can do.

Also, while I was going through my regular Paris folder, I discovered so many pictures of my son that just show his one-year old personality so strongly. I didn’t want to delete all of these, even though there are repetitions. Not sure what I’m going to keep, but I want to have the choices there for later. I also made sure that I had at least one photo of the sites we saw, usually the photo was of one of us in front of the place (or inside), but if I liked a picture I took of the building, I kept it.

I started with roughly 400 photos and I was able to get to around 200 photos, 35-40 a day.

Now that we have the first step towards creating a souvenir of our trip, having the photos organized, come back next Monday to see what we have to do next.



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Where We Sleep

Memory Keeping Monday

travel journal idea - where we sleep

Here’s a great travel journal idea.

A few years ago there was an end-of-the-year internet meme about the cities we slept in the previous year. I liked the idea and that has become part of my end year-end tradition.

When my son was born, I wanted to get a bit more specific. On my pre-baby trips I kept trip journals and sometimes a separate notebook to attach tickets, receipts and such. After a few trips with him, I realized my travel recording was going to change. I no longer had the time to lounge at a cafe and write about my thoughts and feelings while on vacation. Still, I wanted to do something.

In place of something more detailed, I stuck to the basics and have a journal where I write where we sleep. After a trip, I just write the name of the hotel, room number and dates. If we are on a plane overnight, then I write the flight information. When I feel up to it, I add day trips we took. This will help jog our memories when we stay at one place for an extended period of time.

Simple solution!

If the kids are ever interested in our travels before their memories start, they have it to look at. I plan to do some other things with this information and will share it here when I do.

So this is one of the simpler ways to document trips. Starting next Monday, Travel Turtle’s Memory Keeping Monday will take a closer look at what to do for more detailed record keeping using the hundreds and thousands of pictures taken on single trips. It’s part of a three part series.

Have you found memory keeping on trips difficult since having kids?


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Let’s Repeat Ourselves

Memory Keeping Monday

Over at Gone With Family, Lisa and her daughter have an amazing collection of their Starbucks visits around the world. What a wonderful and personal souvenir of their travels.

This reminds me of pictures that have shown up repeatedly in my photo folder.

Letting our kids fly while staying in a hotel room.

When my son was 3 months old, we went on a weekend trip to Salzburg, Austria. We took a ton of photos of our new son on his first real trip. This was one of my favorites:

memory keeping while traveling

Last December we spent a few nights in Berlin. This time, it was my daughter who was 3 months. What a great time to recreate one of my favorite photos of my son, while also in a hotel.

memory keeping while traveling

I was so excited to recreate the Salzburg image, that I didn’t even notice until I developed the photos that we had this pretty view of Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt in the background. Love it.

So in February when we spent a few days in Amsterdam, I knew what I had to do when I saw our hotel view.

memory keeping while traveling

What started out as a fun, one-time thing has possibly turned into a new travel tradition. I can’t wait to see this collection grow.

Side note: Since I have our daughter over Amsterdam and Berlin, it seems only natural to do a alphabet capitals photo series. Should we go to Copenhagen next?

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