Photo Book

It’s not unusual these days to take thousands of digital photographs during a river cruise, or any tourist adventure. What do you do with them when you get home?

I don’t know about you, but I have two challenges: the first is during the trip, when I fill up the memory card or my phone’s RAM. I have taken to dumping a copy each night into a separate folder in my laptop for each day. If I am running out of space, I delete the images or video on the phone or camera.

Folder structure
Folder structure

The second matter is displaying (showing off) your photos to your unwitting guests. Gone are the days of slide shows, where the guests could nod off mercifully in the dark, but they might not appreciate it if you try to display 2,500 photos on your laptop.

Fortunately, there is a solution.

Photo books

Several outlets sell “photo books” and most let you compose the album at home using their special editor. Several outlets in Australia have re-badged Albumworks, which also sells directly to the public. We used Officeworks without doing any prior research, so you might want to see if someone has a cheaper deal. Officeworks gives you the option to collect the album from your nearest store, which suited us. If you live in some other country, there will surely be several local photo book options for you.

The (Officeworks) editor

Photo Book Editor (we later changed the front/rear covers)

Organising your photos

It seems convenient to upload all your photos into the editor from a single folder, so I placed a copy of the desired photos into a folder named PhotoBook. As the photos are uploaded in name order (and I had a second set of photos taken on a GoPro camera) I had to rename those to fit in-between the iPhone photos in the correct sequence. In total I used 438 photos to make up the album.

The editor you get from your vendor might not be as rich as the one used by Albumworks, but we were none the wiser at the time. You get several page layouts and you can alter them easily to suit your mix of photos. For example, I took a few panoramas, so I was able to stretch the rectangular container much wider before dropping in my picture.

Many of the photos were captioned with their name or location.

Where did I take that photo?

Trust me, you might recognise some landmarks, but most of these cathedrals look alike and you have some idea of the sequence by the number of the file name. Yes, but when you are taking photos of castles from the ship, how do you know the precise name when you are laying out the photos in the editor? On the iPhone you can pull out Google Maps and take a screen shot of the maps when you are taking the photos, but you can’t keep doing it between every shot, or else you might miss a great shot.

Google Maps screen shot when passing Mainz Cathedral


Enter a Windows program known as iTag. I had acquired it some years earlier to write descriptions on my scanned photos and slides, but I soon gave up that project. I pulled it out again, as I knew it had an option to read the geographical coordinates (Latitude/Longitude) that are captured with any GPS-enabled camera such as my iPhone. (You may want to buy a GPS-enabled camera or add-on GPS when you next buy a camera.)

iTag software – where was that ceiling?

You point the program towards one folder, as it doesn’t like loading more than 200 images at a time. When the images are loaded, you click (not double-click) the image you want to identify, then click the blue “marble” icon at the top, which fires up Google Earth (assuming you have installed it on your computer).

Google Earth

Google Earth will open with an “aerial view” of the countryside and show your photo floating in the sky with a pointer going down to Earth corresponding to the geo-coordinates. Very nifty.

Google Earth shows the location of the geo-tagged photo
Google Earth shows the location of the geo-tagged photo

The GPS coordinates given to consumer-grade devices are sometimes out by 100 metres, but that’s good enough for us to read the map and find the name of the location. This can be entered into the photo book editor as the location. Sometimes, I had to do some more digging in Google Search for the name of some obscure building.

For example, we stopped at the Shnaitl Brewery near Salzburg, but the building was hard to identify from the Google Earth aerial view and there were no names of that commercial complex. I was looking for the name of a little church they built there and ended up having to read up several sources via Google Search.

Uploading to the vendor

When uploading the finished book to the vendor, I had a weird error.

Error message when uploading or saving.

Without going into technical details, the problem was Norton Internet Security. I disabled it while uploading the book to the company’s server and it went well.

The finished product

The company keeps you informed as to the production and shipping status and finally it was ready for pickup earlier than promised. Here are some photos of the finished product – well worth it in our opinion.

Front and rear cover of the Photo Book
One of the many layouts
Some photos of Paris
Another layout
our ship
Last page of our album – our ship
photo books
Some other photo books made by Lesley and her friend Jennie

To view a cut-down version of the proof copy, click here: Photo Book


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