Taking the “Right” Amount of Photos on Vacation

Paris Vacation Photos by Natalie Parker

I was chatting with a friend this week about how to take the “right” amount of pictures on a vacation.  I could totally say “do what works for you,” but that’s not really helpful, is it?  If you’re someone who will later use your vacation photos for an album or scrapbook, here’s what I think.

If you take too few photos: you may find later that you don’t have much to work with album-wise (whether it’s a scrapbook, photo book or something else).  Don’t feel like you have to take pictures all the time, but maybe make sure you snap a few per day or per location and don’t forget to get at least one picture of yourself and travel companions together.

If you take too many photos: memory card space is cheap and it’s really tempting to snap away and figure it out later.  Mr. P used the multiple exposure setting in Antarctica.  When we got home, I had 2-3 shots of each photo.  A huge amount of photos can be very very overwhelming when you want to make an album and may make you avoid starting it.  If you end up with a ton of photos, make sure you sit down within one week of getting home to do a first cull.  Delete anything that’s blurry or bad.  If you have 2-3 of a shot, make a quick decision and keep one.  This way your set will be a bit tidier when you want to make an album.  It’s very hard to find the time and desire to go through photos right after vacation but trust me, if you have a ton, you should do it!  You won’t regret it!

How do you find that Goldilocks amount?  (as in, “just right”)  Practice, practice, practice.  I’ve had vacations with too few and too many photos.  When I do that initial cull right after I get back, I think about what worked and what didn’t.  I’m getting a lot better at getting the shots I want to get and knowing how to frame them.  I’ll take fewer but better ones.  I don’t think I’ll ever be perfect at it!

Thoughts on Scrapbooking a Vacation

Scrapbooking Vacations by Natalie ParkerI’ve scrapbooked two big vacations now, so I’m taking the time to reflect on the experience.

I didn’t take that many photos back then.  When Mr. P and I went to China last year, we took over 2000 photos.  For the honeymoon, I had less than 200 to work with.  Granted, it was only a week and the China trip was much longer, but I think it’s an interesting look at my changing ways.  Sometimes less is more – I need to keep that in mind for my next trip.

I only took “big time” photos.  I only took big scenery pictures and not much else.  No food.  I repeat: no food!  I also didn’t get many other details.  Big scenery pictures are great, but it’s very useful to have other bits to break up the pages and to show other people things you saw.

I mean, I didn’t even get a picture of the boat we took on our Na Pali Coast tour in Hawaii!  Or the speakeasy we ate at in New York that has since closed down and is trying to reopen!

I need to do a better job telling the stories.  Vacation layouts are hard.  There’s so much to include and I don’t want to do a mega-scrapbook for each one.  I do have vacation photobooks, but I still want the scrapbook layouts to have a lot of pictures.  That doesn’t leave a lot of room for the smaller interesting stories.

I showed Central Park but didn’t add the detail that it was windy and all the couples in rowboats were getting blown into the bushes (it was really funny).

Does the story about our crazy bus ride across rural China and being accosted by cab drivers deserve its own space?  Is it better to leave some stories to oral tradition?  I’m still debating about the right balance here.

I can’t capture everything in my scrapbook, I’ve long accepted that.  But I want to capture the “right” things but I’m not 100% sure what those are.

Have you scrapbooked big vacations before?  What have you learned?