Sharing Your Memories

When we returned from our first trip to Europe we had over 40 rolls of film and over 500 digital images--approximately 40 shots a day. Add to that 12 hours of video tape. If we tried to share everything we captured on film or tape with our friends and family we certainly had enough material to do leave them comatose. Remember, that while the pictures and video you bring home from your trip are treasured moments that let you relive a great experience, when you share them with other they don't carry the same emotional impact.

So in whatever format you choose to share your pictures and video, the first step you should take is to edit the images carefully. One of the benefits of choosing a craft project over an photo album or video is that it forces you to select the one or two perfect pictures that represent the entire trip. And the process allows you to enjoy the memories as you put complete the project.

There are many simple things you can do with your digital and film photos. The most basic is to create a photo album or scrapbook. One of the easiest ways to assemble your photoalbum is to use an online printing service like Shutterfly.com They can print and assemble a book of your favorite photos or print an image on a coffee cup so that you start the morning with a mental escape to Europe.

For those who have experience building scrapbooks, I don't have to remind you to save postcards and admission tickets to make the scrapbook more interesting, but if you have never created a scrapbook before, find a small spot in your luggage where you can keep subway tickets and museum passes and the other cool little paper mementos you accumulate safely and without getting bent or worn.

As you take pictures, think about what you want the pictures to convey to the viewer. One of the reasons I took so many pictures was that I knew I would use them in my classroom. Unlike the normal traveller, I took pictures of plumbing on the outside of medieval buildings so that I could contrast issues of computer networking in Europe with our problems at home. In Venice, I took pictures of grafitti and flags to share with my government students. For my students studying international trade, I collected pictures of McDonalds' restaurants throughout Europe.

Before you leave for Europe, think of some possible themes you would like to build your photoalbum or videos around and have that theme give you guidance as to what pictures you want to take. (Needless to say, the pictures of plumbing and McDonalds didn't make the photo-album). But also realize that a theme may develop as you travel.

Next, remember that you will enjoy pictures that include you and other people you meet as you travel. If you are self-conscious in front of a camera, relax; especially since it is likely that, with all the walking and less snacking that you have done on your trip, you have probably lost weight. If you need the extra boost, be s ure to where eye makeup which enhances one of the most important features in a picture. banner

When you get home, carefully select the pictures you want to put into a photoalbum. If you plan to show your pictures to friends and family, the size of your album shouldn't be based on the length of your stay. The more pictures you took, the more drastically you need to edit your photos. Even if you are as talented a photographer as Ansel Adams, you'll discover that friends have a limited attention span--generally lasting between 30 and 40 pages of photos.