No modern-day vacation is complete without countless pictures, interspersed between multiple digital devices -- thanks to smartphones, GoPros and tablets joining point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras as viable means of taking pictures and videos. Technological preferences aside, we all share the same desire to preserve and share our cruise memories. If you're overwhelmed with jpegs or by the number of photo sharing and editing sites, here are a few easy ways to photographically keep your cruise alive.
Gone are the days of printing out all your vacation photos and storing them in a box, never to be seen again. For those who simply want a place to keep all their photos safe -- and easily accessible -- look to image-hosting sites like Flickr and SmugMug. These sites not only let you store (and organize) unlimited photos, but they also let you share them via social media, email and other platforms.
As if it couldn't get any better, a handful of these sites (including the aforementioned examples) also allow users to edit photos after uploading.
Social media applications like Facebook and Instagram were made for sharing, but they also are a great place to preserve photos. Facebook allows users to create albums and slideshows to showcase their photos. You can even invite multiple users to contribute to your album, so your travel companions can all share photos in one place. Meanwhile, Instagram -- a dedicated photo- and video-sharing app -- is best for sharing only your favorite photos, as it allows no more than a few to be posted at a time.
Additionally, Instagram allows you to edit photos within the app, using a variety of tools and filters; Facebook is limited when it comes to editing, providing users with only a few filter choices. If you want to boost your visual mementos even more, consider downloading free photo-editing apps before your next cruise.
No matter how advanced technology becomes, the classic craft of scrapbooking will never be obsolete. Many stores and cruise ships sell travel-themed (and even cruise-specific) books, stickers and decals. You can buy the components separately or in a bundle, which typically includes the album refills, sketch pens and all the embellishments. To further customize your collection, make sure to include postcards, ticket stubs and other keepsakes. Make one to keep on your coffee table or as a gift for your travel companions.
If you need to spruce up your photos before printing them, download photo-editing software. Google Photos and Apple Photos (for Mac) are excellent free options that also are easy to use. Adobe Photoshop takes the cake among advanced, for-fee software, but pays off if you dedicate the time to learning how to use it. (A simpler Adobe product, Lightroom, allows for easy editing as well as storing and sharing, similar to an image-hosting site.) Tip: Check and see if your ship offers photography or photo-editing classes onboard. Many do.
Want to make a statement with your cruise memories? Consider turning them into home decor. A few easy, DIY methods include creating a memory box or a clothespin picture display, using clothespins and twine to hang pictures on an empty frame or piece of barn wood. If you've got a little more time on your hands, handpick your favorite photos and have them screen-printed on coasters, pillows or quilts. Bonus points if you can make the accessory yourself.
Don't have a photo printer at home? Costco and FedEx Office Print & Ship Centers are great places to start for printing on paper. When it comes to printing on other materials, if you already have the item you want customized, find a local printing center that offers screen-printing services. Otherwise, consider sites like Etsy.com and CafePress.com, which sell various products for customization.