How I create photo stories from my travel.

It will be a shorter post today, because I'm busy working on a new and exciting project. I will be able to share it with you very soon!

I created a new Photos page on my website, where I will share photo stories from my travel. I will also post links to my photo collections on the amazing website for free images called Unsplash. Read below for more details how I create the photo stories and why I decided to share all my photos for free.

Photos from Vladimir Haltakov

The Photos pages on my website

Travel photos

I'm by no means a professional photographer. However, I put a lot of effort in the photos from my trips and I think I get some not so bad results. When travelling, I usually take the following equipment with me:

The Tamron lens may not be super sharp, but the big zoom is very handy while traveling, because I don't have to switch lenses. The cameras on the latest iPhones are now so good, that photos from my iPhone XS now also regularly land in my best photos. I like to use an action camera (I had a GoPro HERO3 before the Osmo) to record while driving, in the water or when hiking . Unfortunately, many places, like for example national parks, don't allow flying a drone, so I don't always take the Spark with me.

On a 3 week trip, I normally shoot somewhat around 6000 photos. I will then spend quite some time choosing the best photos and editing them in Lightroom (I always shoot RAW). I have a quite efficient organization and editing workflow by now . In the end, I combine the photos from the different devices in a way that I can tell the story of the trip.

Photo equipment of Vladimir Haltakov

Photo and video equipment for a weekend getaway in the Austrian Alps.

Creating photo stories

I tried many ways of sharing travel photos with friends and family, but I didn't like any of the existing services. I tried Amazon Photos, Google Photos, Facebook, iCloud, Flickr and OneDrive, but none of them was what I wanted. Such photo hosting sites are good if you want to dump a bunch of photos sorted by date. However, I never found a way, to organize and describe the photos in a way that I can create a story. So, I built my own tool...

Photo story from our trip through California created with Simple Photo Gallery

Photo story from our trip through California created with Simple Photo Gallery

Some time ago, I started writing Python scripts to organize my photos and to generate static HTML galleries from them. Earlier this year, I decided to clean up all the code and publish it as an open-source Python tool, called Simple Photo Gallery . The package is published on PyPi and the code is hosted on GitHub. My idea was that if these scripts are useful to me, they may be useful to other people as well. And it seems I was not completely wrong...

I use Simple Photo Gallery to create the photo stories that I publish on my Photos page. Check out the example gallery from our trip through California in 2019. Using the tool it is very easy to split the photos according to the different stages of the trip. You can then add some descriptions to each section that combines several photos. You can also write individual caption for each photo that is displayed when you open it. Since the generated gallery consists of static HTML, CSS and JavaScript files, the hosting is easy and very cheap (even free for smaller galleries). I host my website and my galleries on Netlify, while the photos are hosted on Amazon S3 (with CloudFront as a CDN) .

I actually have more of these stories, but I keep some of them private and only share them with friends and family. I avoid posting photos of my wife and (especially) my son publicly.

Sharing my photos for free on Unsplash

Recently, I started sharing my best photos on Unsplash. Unsplash is an amazing website offering a huge selection of high-quality photos that anybody can use for free. They have a very interesting story and business model, which I highly recommend you to read. There are already many websites that allow you to use Unsplash images, like for example Trello, Figma or Squarespace, so you may already have been using Unsplash.

So, why did I decide to share all my photos there? I have many images that are just sitting on my hard disk (and backed up in the cloud of course). What is the point keeping them to myself? Maybe they will be useful to some people, as photos from others are useful to me, when I use them on Trello? I wanted to support the great Unsplash community so I decided to start contributing my photos there as well. And it seems that some people like my photos and are downloading them! The photos from our trips in California and Australia had about 300.000 views and 3500 downloads in the last 30 days.

Unsplash stats for Vladimir Haltakov

Statistics for my Unsplash profile for the past 30 days.

More photos

I will continue publishing photo stories from my past and future trips on my website and also share them on Unsplash. I have quite some photos from our trips to Japan , Brazil , Portugal , Italy , Madeira , Israel and many more. So, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter below or follow me on Unsplash or on Twitter and I will let you know when I have something new to share.

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