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I had originally planned to write a post called “5 ways to regain your scrapping sanity” today. (I’d also planned to have the post done by 9am!) Instead, I’ve decided to be a little more practical.

I’ve just returned from an amazing (and exhausting) family vacation with a (still unnamed) plush jackalope, Huckleberry preserves and over 1000 photos. I knew going in that a scenic trip + a new camera spelled post-vacation nightmare. In this post, I will lay out my plan of attack for simplifying vacation memory keeping. Let’s begin.

1. Unpack – You are not going to get anything done with a mountain of laundry or that stanky cooler hanging over your head. Get your home life in order first and do it quickly. Last night I ran on adrenaline and didn’t sit down until everything was put away and a load of wash was going.

Next Time Tip – Sort and clean as you go, as much as possible.

2. Write – I had good intentions to keep a journal on this trip. But being the mom (first timer here) had me trying to remember the sunscreen, towels, bandaids, nail clippers, hats and other various things that everyone else seems to forget. So my first true piece of advice is to sit down and tell your story. Write as little or as much as you want, but sit down and put your vacation on paper.

Next Time Tip – Make that on-vacation journaling a true priority.

3. Organize – We brought 4 cameras for the 5 of us, plus my mom had one and we purchased a DVD of some additional photos from whitewater rafting. Before you go about anything else, gather all your photos in one place. Convert RAW files to DNG upon import!

Next Time Tip – Bring fewer cameras and share them more.

4. Purge – Next, go for a “Clean Sweep” style purge of the photos you don’t want to keep. Quickly go through every shot, deleting the worst of the worst.

Next Time Tip – Make it a habit of reviewing your shots on-camera during down-time.

5. Back up – Before you do any editing, make sure your originals are safely backed up. You never know when a slip of the save button could overwrite your favorite shot.

Next Time Tip – Automatically make backups upon import (using Adobe Bridge for example).

6. Favorite – You likely already know which shots are frame-worthy – there are likely the ones that require the least editing too! From the 1000 shots, I probably have less than 10 that I’d want to see every day. Go ahead and print those. Buy frames and start enjoying the best of the best.

Next Time Tip – Buy a few frames or a collage frame before your trip!

7. Choose – Paths may diverge from here on out. Some folks, especially those who import jpgs, may not want to do any editing until ready to print or scrap the photos. Others, especially RAW format enthusiasts, want to go through the whole workflow on all images right away. I’m in the latter camp – mainly because I like to post my full archive on Flickr as a backup.

Next Time Tip – Make this choice before your trip and import your images while still traveling.

8. Batch – Use batch processing tips and techniques to expedite your editing, including setting time windows for the work. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Next Time Tip – Be more deliberate in your shooting to reduce the number of images and/or be more aggressive in your deleting.

9. Share – As we all know, scrapping takes time. Satisfy the curiosity of your friends and family by uploading your images to Facebook, Flickr or your other favorite photo sharing site.

Next Time Tip – Process your photos and upload while still on vacation, if possible.

10. Plan -This is the hard part – you need to engage your left brain (logical) before your right (creative). Steps 1-9 were manual labor (no brain?).

  • Use your writing from #2 to create a rough outline or storyboard for your scrapping.
  • Decide whether you’ll be creating standalone layouts, a photobook from your layouts or using a photobook wizard.
  • If using digital scrapbooking supplies, choose 1-3 kits to create harmony throughout your story.
  • Choose the best photos to tell your story and select templates for each page.

Next Time Tip – Some trips might lend well to the creation of personalized quick pages. Get your layouts done ahead of time!

Once you’ve followed this path, your head will be clear and the scrapping will come easy. It can be oh so very intimidating to preserve a vacation in a deserving way – but this checklist will have you all set to jump right in!