Sometimes you just get that feeling. You know as soon as you depress the shutter button that you’ve just captured an incredible travel image. Over the course of your trip, you will hopefully amass quite a few of these images that you will be eager to share with friends and family. After the often laborious effort to cull your images and post-process the chosen few, it’s time to share these best photos with the world.
In olden times (pre-digital), there were fewer choices about how to share one’s travel photos. Many of us shot with color transparency (slide) film, sent all the rolls off to a lab for processing, picked out the top slides by hand, and stored them in a slide tray or carousel for future viewing. In the excitement just after a trip, we would likely invite a bunch of friends over, get them slightly inebriated, and subject them to a slide show using a projector and portable screen. This almost literally captive audience would feign enjoyment over, or perhaps even genuinely enjoy, viewing the large projected images and hearing our stories about the recent adventure. Then the guests would leave, and the slide trays would go back on a bookshelf to sit for months or years before anyone would look again.
In this brave new digital era, we have many more and better options for sharing our best travel photos. This being the Internet, I’ll offer up a Top Ten list of favorite ways to get my travel images in front of key audiences (Number 7 will amaze you!):
- Social Media: While most social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are image-intensive, it turns out that they aren’t particularly good at sharing fine art photography. That said, these are important and obvious outlets for getting our favorite travel photos out to our friends promptly. Some even post while traveling, but I do not recommend this approach unless you are completely certain your home is secure while you’re away. Because these platforms encourage sharing, using them will allow your friends to pass them along to their friends, too.
- Online Photography Sites: Specialized photography platforms, such as SmugMug, Flickr, PhotoShelter, and 500px, are tailor-made for sharing (and even selling) your best images. I use SmugMug to power my own professional photography website, but I also spend quite a bit of time browsing friends’ and even strangers’ photo galleries on the other platforms I mention here.
- The New Home Slideshow: Who needs the clunky white folding screens and finicky slide projectors of yesteryear? Today most folks have a bright, high-definition display right in their living rooms, and it’s called a TV. Photos on a PC or tablet can easily be shared on a smart TV via WiFi or specialized connecting cables.
- Your Phone: Today’s smart phones, whether iOS or Android, have easy ways to sync photos from your PC or tablet to the phone. Once on your phone, your photos are ready to show to anyone from your mom to a random stranger on a train. Not the biggest screen in the world, but it’s always with you and can store thousands of high resolution photos.
- Send them the files: It’s sometimes desirable to send some of your original image files to a few trusted friends. Among the numerous methods for doing so are good ol’ trusty email (though attachment sizes are usually limited), Dropbox, and the download capability found in certain photography sites such as SmugMug.
- Albums and Books: Yes, the photo album is still alive and well, and it’s never been easier to create one. Or you can go the extra mile and publish your own custom photography book. Many photo sharing sites allow you to create your own albums and books featuring your images.
- Prints: The demise of the hardcopy print has been greatly exaggerated. There’s something special and timeless about the look and feel of a well-printed photograph on real paper. Do it yourself on a good home printer with high quality paper and ink, or send it to a professional lab, but a framed print on your wall or gifted to a friend to put up on their wall is a lovely way to share your very best images.
- Cards: Greeting cards, birthday cards, holiday cards–these days it’s easy to customize them with your own images and send them to friends and family.
- Calendars: Every year, I create a calendar with a photo from each month of the year just ended, and send copies to a few family members. I also proudly display this calendar in my home and office. What could be better than knowing you and your friends are viewing your photos every day of the year?
- Keepsakes: Novelty gifts from pencil holders to jigsaw puzzles, to clothing items can be easily and inexpensively made using your favorite photos. We even have a cat food bowl sporting the likeness of our kitty. My younger daughter enjoys specialty socks, so I’m looking into ways of putting some of our images onto hosiery. Get creative!
Whatever methods you use to share your images with friends and family, I would encourage you to consider watermarking your photos. A watermark is a pattern or image placed across a portion of the photograph to identify it as the work of a particular photographer. While watermarks can be distracting to the viewer, they can be made quite discreet and they offer some protection against your image being stolen and passed off or even sold as the work of others. Many photo editing software packages and photo sharing sites offer the capability of attaching watermarks to your photos.
How do you share your travel images? Got a great idea for sharing that you’d like to add to the discussion? Please leave a comment in the box at the end of this post.