How to deal with photos while travelling

Most of the photos on this blog were taken with my iPod touch. But some, and you can easily tell which ones, were taken with a more sophisticated camera.*

When travelling long-term, how do you deal with all the snaps you take while on the road? What’s the alternative to carrying around a computer so you can upload or edit and, ultimately, share while travelling? Here’s how I manage.

Take fewer photos
One of the best things about digital cameras is you can snap and snap and snap…but at some point you have to stop and go through all the photos you’ve taken. You can save yourself so much time (and memory cards) if you pause and think before clicking the shutter button. Get to know your camera and its settings so that you can more easily take the picture you want straight away. There are also lots of resources out there to learn how to improve your photography skills. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at taking photos so you won’t need to take so many to get the ‘perfect shot’.

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Edit regularly
Simply go through your photos at the end of each day and delete ones you don’t need. Out of focus and over/under-exposed photos are easy to pick out, but also consider multiple shots of the same thing. Do you really need ten photos when three will do? Make use of in-camera editing features. I often crop photos, before I upload them, which saves loads of time and helps me to see which photos are worth uploading in the first place.

Upload regularly
Make use of free computers and Internet when you can; hostels, other travelers and people you might meet along the way will probably have computers you can use for free. If you upload a small number of photos regularly you won’t have to take up much of their (and your) time either. If all else fails, an Internet cafe will do. I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep up with uploading. You really don’t want to get stuck with 500 photos and an Internet connection the speed of a snail. Trust me on this one.

Storage options
Once your photos are off your camera and on a computer, what next? You could burn them to a DVD or carry an external hard drive or flash drive with you, but if that seems like too much weight in your bag then consider online storage solutions. Flickr, Picasa Web Albums or Photobucket are all easy to use and have options for upgrading your free account to ones with more storage. This article gives a good rundown of different online storage options. Lots of these websites have editing features too, although the biggest advantage is making your photos easy to share through other social media. With a flash drive or DVD, you still need a computer to do this, whereas once your pictures are online you can access them using any device with Internet capability (I use my iPod touch). You can integrate photos into your travel blog while travelling, and family and friends can experience your trip in real time instead of waiting until you return home.

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* I use a Nikon S9000, which is really easy to handle (I managed to successfully operate it whilst wearing mittens!) and has a great zoom (x18). For me, super-zoom cameras offer the best compromise in terms of size/weight between a point-and-shoot camera and a DSLR. An even better camera however, is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 which beats my Nikon nearly every time and seems to be a more hard-wearing too.

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