How to document a long trip - part I


Today, I want to talk about a strategy to document a longer trip or any kind of trip that involves a huge amount of photos (and still be able to finish the album!). 

So here's the story. In December of 2014 I travelled to Florida with Chris for nearly three weeks. It was a wonderful trip with many amazing memories. We did a road trip and visited many different places, spent our days on the beaches of south Florida, saw both a football and a basketball game, visited Rifle Paper Co. in Winter Park, explored the art district of Miami, small surfer beach towns, outlet malls, Orlando and last but not least made several trips to Madewell and Michael's. 

The perfect holiday.

We came back just in time for Christmas and in the new year, when I started to go through my photos and all the things I brought with me, I was just overwhelmed. 

How could I ever make an album out of all of this that captured everything we did and saw and enjoyed?

And that's exactly what I want to show you: how you can tackle a project that might seem too big to even start.

1 Choose an album size

I've never made an album in 12x12 and I thought this big project would be perfect to try this size. However, I think 9x12 would work well, too.

2 Go through all your photos and select your favourites

Put all of your photos into one folder and sort them by date. Delete the duplicates and the blurry ones and tag the ones you want to see in your album. Afterwards, go through the tagged ones again and size down your selection (if you're like me and tag 400 photos in the first round). At the end, you should have a representative selection of your trip (I ended up with 150 photos).

3 Pick 1-3 photos per day

Out of this selection, pick between one and three photos per day that show what you did on that specific day or where you went. As you can see below, I designated half of a design A page protector to every day and added some notes I took while on vacation and a number for the day. These pages mark the beginning of my album and I really like that I remember our itinerary at first sight.

4 Pick 5-15 photos that sum up your trip

For the next step, pick between 5 and 15 photos that you consider the best shots from your trip. I asked myself which photos look the most like "Florida" for me. I used four of them for the title of my album (see below). The pattern in the middle is actually a wall in Miami. The rest of the photos went into a double spread that shows what my trip was all about at a glance. I tagged these images "icons", because they are symbolic of our holiday.

5 Find topics and tag the rest of the photos

I went through the remaining photos again and tried to group them into "topics". I didn't want the entire album to be chronological because I preferred to have similar photos together.
Here are the topics I picked for our trip: Miami Beach, art déco, Wynwood walls, shopping, road trip, Christmas under palm trees, food, beach, football, palm trees, Orlando. So a "topic" can be a place or an activity or just a theme. Take notes about how many photos go with each topic and their size.

6 Assign your memorabilia to the topics

While on vacation, I picked up so many little cards, tags and beautiful papers that I wanted to include. In the end I'll only use the pretty ones and I sorted them by topic as well.

7 Sketch out your layouts

A) Chronological
I used Design A page protectors because it gave me the possibility to have a 6x12 space for each day. Each day follows the same formula (see step 3): 1-3 photos telling the story where we went and what we did, one 3x4 journaling card with the notes that I took while on vacation plus a number for each day that I printed out and then used my circle punch to cut it out. While all the different photos, I think it still looks cohesive. Repetition is key!

B) Topics
Go through all of your topics and review the sizes you noted. Decide what type of page protector would fit well for each topic. For example, if you have 4 4x6, 2 3x4 photos plus a couple of square photos for a specific topic you want to include, you could go for a combination of a Design A page protector on one side and a square page protector (3x3s or 4x4s) on the other side.

Ok, so much for the planning! Now, it's time to print all of your photos (or rather have them printed), insert them into their designated spots, add nice filler cards, jot down some journaling here and there and finally add embellishments if you like.

As you can see above, I did all the planning and only started to work on a couple of pages. That's why I'll be back soon and show you my completed album and hopefully share some useful tips for you along the way!

And I'm curious, do you have any longer vacations or other huge projects left "undocumented" in a box or drawer? What are your strategies to get these memories into an album?

- Kathi

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  1. Hi Kathi! I loved this post and learning about your system. It is very similar to my own and what my Big Picture class is about. I've been working through years of boxed photos and getting them put into albums. Such a big task but breaking it down like you have, helps!

    1. Hey Mandy, thanks for your feedback! I think it's so great that you're teaching others how to get those memories into albums. It's such a great feeling once an album about something that happened some time ago is completed. I hope I'll get to the second part soon!

  2. Beautiful album and post. Have a good day!

  3. Thanks for sharing your tips. I'm working on a 6x8 album documenting a two week road trip we took this past winter and I need more room!
    So fun to see your album too! I live in South Florida :) Looks like you guys had a great time

    1. Oh I'm so jealous that you're living in such a sunny state! I've enjoyed Florida so much and I hope I can go back sometime... Good luck with your album and thanks for stopping by!