Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

Technology is Revolutionizing Travel Photography

Decades ago, tourists snapped photos of their trips with bulky cameras, sometimes with flashbulbs attached. They waited until the roll of film was finished before taking it to a drugstore for photo development. What they got back was a series of pictures printed on paper, some good, some awful. The tourists hoped the photos somehow embodied the highlights of their trip.

Oh, how times have changed. The digital age, with photo-snapping cellphones and instant photo access, along with the Web and social media technology, have changed group travel photography forever.

A company called PhotoVision, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, makes it easy for traveling groups to create a quality record of their activities and good times. PhotoVision caters to many groups, especially schools and student travelers.

“Our most popular product is called Group Travel Videos [GTV], a video made from still photos taken by group members on tour,” said John O’Malley, vice president of group sales at PhotoVision and creator of GTV. “We deliver the video with music, special effects and titles of their choice in a DVD format or digital version.”

Any of the 200 active tour operators working with PhotoVision can include GTV in their tour package. Each group member is given a username and a password to use with a free GTV app. Then, tourists begin taking photos and, as they’re traveling, upload the images to the GTV site. Members of the travel group, as well as family and friends back home, can log on to GTV’s website and view everyone else’s photos of the trip even as it’s unfolding.

For example, a middle school class of 50 may take a trip to Washington, D.C., a popular student destination. Along the way, they collectively take and upload 2,000 photos to the GTV gallery for processing. GTV editors download the shots and carefully edit the collection. Staff members remove blurry, boring, duplicate or inappropriate photos from the gallery. They crop, manipulate and begin to craft a custom storytelling video from the best still shots. It’s all brought to life with special effects magic. The final DVD is available for Web and smartphone streaming.

Editors try to create a true visual representation of the trip. They may include the departure, the motorcoach trip or flight, the arrival, the hotel, meal times, leisure activities, tours, entertainment and the return home. Trip participants and their escorts and family members are prominently shown. All members of the tour group get a copy of the same keepsake DVD.

When GTV began in the late 1990s, O’Malley remembers providing trip participants with disposable cameras to shoot photos. The cameras were later shipped back to the company for processing. The best shots were incorporated into an analog VHS video. In 2003, the company went digital “and we have been riding high ever since,” said O’Malley.

Another product PhotoVision offers is PhotoMozaix, a 20-by-30-inch print incorporating hundreds of trip photos into one memorable mosaic.

For more information go to