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!

Did you find this post helpful?

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  1. Dawn

    First, AWESOME photo! Thanks for the wonderful tips.

  2. christie

    WONDERFUL POST!!!! This is much needed. Vacation scrapping is my biggest hangup and I have yet to COMPLETE any vacation album, except one I made for my hubby. (So much easier for someone ELSE’S vacation than my own LOL). I have a hard time with the last step you mentioned… but that is what I need to focus on. This really could apply to any large album as well not just vacations.

    I did want to say one thing though, as a previous camera shop employee. Deleting photos ON the camera (as you suggested to do during downtime) is ok once in a while, but over time damages the memory card, which can lead to a situation where your data becomes corrupted and you lose photos. Just thought I’d throw that out there!

    • Jennifer

      Thanks so much for your tip Christie – I had no idea I was damaging the memory card!

  3. Jenn

    Thanks for the tips, some there I hadn’t thought of. We just did the same thing – but only 2 cameras. Of course our friends loaded all their pix onto our thumb drive, so it seems like more!

    Here’s what I do –
    1. GET THE PICS OFF THE CARD as you go! We took a laptop this year, and wow what a difference. I could clean the card daily and we had fun looking through the pics and culling the ‘complete delete’ ones at the hotel in the evenings.
    2. Dump all to backup. We use EHD and disks. Did that first so didn’t mess anything up later in the process.
    3. Folderize – put in their regular place on desktop
    4. Set up scrap folders – I transfer to my laptop just the images I want to scrap, and put them in folders by subject.
    5. Add journaling in a txt file, just in case I forget stuff.
    6. Let it sit there until I feel I can breathe again, some of the laundry is done (is it ever ALL done?) and I’ve gotten some sleep.

    We’re glad you’re back, and looking forward to seeing more of those images!

    • Jennifer

      I tried to do #1 too – downloading as much as I could. With 12MB RAW files, it takes a while to do even 50 images.

      I have a hard time with #4, related to vacation or not. I often add photos to a multi-photo layout that I wouldn’t have normally picked out as “scrap-worthy”.

  4. Jean

    Here’s what I did for a trip to Disney World where I ended up with over 1200 photos for 4 days of vacation. I took my laptop and burned DVDs of the photos for each day.

    I took a set of large, decorated manila envelopes for the physical memorabilia. I’d clean out my tote each night and put the maps, programs, postcards, and what-not into an envelope with the date on it. It didn’t take long before family members were adding to the envelopes, so I captured stuff from everyone. The backup DVD with the photos went into the envelope, too. It helped a great deal when I got back home. Everything was sorted when I pulled it out of my suitcase.



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