I’m the Development Director for The Traveling School, a small non-profit that challenges and empowers teenage girls academically, physically, and culturally through an experiential high school semester overseas. Twice a year, we send sixteen motivated young women, along with four teachers, to a unique region of the globe for 15 weeks. The teens earn full school credit, immerse themselves in new cultures, develop outdoor skills, and most importantly build confidence and a personal toolkit they’ll use for the rest of their lives.
We just kicked off the Fall Semester, which is based in the Southern African nations of Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and South Africa. Spring Semester students travel to Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. We’ve been doing this for 15 years, and have 300 alumnae. And yes! It’s as cool as it sounds.
The photos captured overseas by teachers and students are the best way to tell our story. Prospective students find us online or through word of mouth, so having strong, compelling images for our web site and social media is how we grab attention from teenage girls who want to explore the world.
We have a lot of photos — 36,000 of them, with a couple thousand more coming in each semester — and since there’s only four of us in the office, we need to be efficient with them. Our photo library was originally on a shared server, but that didn’t work well for us. Then someone recommended Dropbox; it was great for storage, but we couldn’t search for specific images. Finally, we heard about Mylio. Mylio is great for organizations like ours, because we can share access to our photo library, and find things quickly. It’s awesome.
How we use Mylio:
We rely heavily on locations and keywords – in what country an image was taken, what activity was going on, etc. The rest takes care of itself. I do marketing and funding, so the pictures I use are inspirational. I can type in ‘rock climbing’ and choose from a bunch of great shots. But our Program person has a different audience; for instance, she needed to make a presentation to the Board about risk management. She used pictures of really intense Class V rapids on the Zambezi River, and of security bars on the windows of the hostel in Johannesburg. Not pretty, but important in communicating to executives the day-to-day realities of where we travel.
In terms of workflow, we use Mylio folder and album views. Everything is in folders according to semester; I love how easy it is to create them, and flip through them to see things. Then each of us creates albums for different uses. I’ve mentioned some of our internal uses; me, I post to social media daily, and grab awesome photos for Instagram. Also, because our web site only takes banners of a certain size, I’ve created a folder just for images I’ve pre-cropped, so I can pull from it without thinking.
Tips for other small businesses using Mylio:
First I’d say that if you’re doing marketing or social media and have lots of photos, Mylio’s the best thing you could possibly have. Hands down, it’s the best thing out there.
Then I’d say that you should be prepared for the fact that it’s hard to get an entire library set up right away. You’ll need to spend some time adding keywords (we do this with every new semester, but we haven’t gone all the way back through the past yet).
Finally, if you’re sharing access to your library – and especially if you’re coming from different backgrounds in terms of tech savvy — there are some basic management guidelines you’ll need to set up amongst yourselves. How folders work vs. albums, knowing which different image sizes to export for which purpose, how to use keywords, etc. I’ve done a couple different trainings with my staff, and put together a cheat sheet to help out. I hope it’s useful to you: