Digital scrapbooking can be an amazingly easy and enjoyable way to document your family’s memories, traditions, milestones, events and heritage. You don’t have to crafty or geeky to create meaningful scrapbook pages that you and your family can enjoy viewing. You don’t need any extra space in your house, boxes of supplies or any trips to the store. You don’t need big blocks of time to work on projects because everything is already right there on your computer.
Here’s what you need:
These days, I think you’d have a pretty hard time finding someone who is using a film camera for their family pictures (but if that’s you, great! You’ll just need to convert your prints to digital). Hopefully you already have a system of storing and sorting your photos but if not, I will also be doing a future article with some tips on how to do that. If you subscribe to my newsletter, I will even remind you to sort and backup on a regular basis (along with other news and content). For now, make sure you are regularly copying your photos onto your computer and backing them up with an online backup service or onto an external hard drive. You don’t want to be like me and make a scrapbook page about 3 months of pictures you lost because of not backing up.In the year ending April 2008, a whopping 68 percent of scrapbookers used the computer for some elements of their scrapbook project. | Thirty-four percent used the computer to improve the quality of photos and 30 percent use it for the designing of pages. Source: PMA 2008 Consumer Scrapbooking Report
Programs for digital scrapbooking fall into two categories – digital editing programs and digital scrapbooking programs. A few years ago, when digital scrapbooking was in its infancy, the only thing available to make great looking pages was digital editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro or Digital Image Pro. These programs let you do some really nifty things but they can be expensive and hard to learn. I started digital scrapbooking with Photoshop Elements and found there was quite a steep learning curve. As the industry grew and expanded, software programs specifically designed for digital scrapbooking started to become available. Some of the early programs were clunky and loaded with dated looking clip art and graphics. With digital scrapbooking become more popular there is now a new generation of digital scrapbooking software, making it easy for most people to make great looking pages without a lot of effort. My Memories Suite is the #1 rated software of its kind and the one that I recommend to anyone who wants to try digital scrapbooking. Even though I have the full version of Photoshop, an amazing design tool, I will be creating my anniversary cruise album in My Memories Suite because of how well it handles multiple pages and repeating embellishments and papers. This program is very easy to use and full of features and content. To find out more, you can view a video and list of My Memories Suite benefits here.
I categorized digital papers and embellishments as an add-on because strictly speaking, they are not needed to create a digital layout. Some pages are made only with with photos and text. This is called a graphic style and is used successfully by a subset of paper and digital scrapbookers. It is minimalist and thoughtful in design. In my experience, many of the people creating this type of layout have graphic design training that they are bringing into their scrapbooking, which is great. The majority of scrapbookers don’t have that training and use a style more akin to paper scrapbooking, which uses papers and embellishments. The right paper and embellishments can go a great way toward creating theme, mood, flow and visual impact in page design. Here are a few examples of my own pages that demonstrate this idea:
Paper scrapbookers thrive on clutter. There are piles of papers torn from magazines, endless photographs, and other things that may or may not eventually be of use. All that piles up and takes up space. Going digital can free up an entire room. Source: DigitalTrends.comThere are many online stores that sell digital papers and embellishments. Of course, I invite you to have a look at my own designs at My Memories or in the store here on my site. The above pages were all made with kits that I have designed. (Apple Orchard, Schoolio, Krafty Boy and Sunny Summer Days) I have a variety of embellishments such as frames, ribbons and alphabets as well as full kits with add-on items like premade borders, embellishment clusters and word art. When you shop online, the products you order are available instantly as a digital download. All you do is unzip the folders and start creating – you don’t have to leave home and you don’t have to set aside a bunch of space in your home to store your supplies.
When you buy a digital kit or embellishment pack, it doesn’t get “used up” – you can create multiple pages or whole albums with just one kit. You can look in my inspiration gallery to see examples of multiple pages created with just one kit! You may notice that many different moods and topics can be scrapped with one kit. In my stores, mini kits start at just $2.29. These kits contain 6-8 papers and some coordinating embellishments. I think the current price for patterned paper in a brick and mortar store is around 75-80 cents per sheet. That would be $4.50 just for papers – and they cannot be used again! As a digital scrapbooker, you would be able to reuse your supplies again and again which can really save money!Scrapbooking is here to stay. And now with the introduction of digital scrapbooking, it opened a whole new world for those that shied away from the expense and the mess before. Source: Nicole Humphrey, Families.com
Templates for My Memories Suite help you jumpstart your page design process by giving you a framework into which you can place your photos. They are not necessary for digital scrapbooking but can be a great time saver and place to start out when you are unsure how you want to lay out your page. There is a huge selection of templates in the store at My Memories. One of the great things about these templates is the ability to move papers, photos and embellishments around to suit your fancy!
If you have film prints to convert to digital, you can use a scanner to do that or pay for this service at a photo finishing stores or mass retailers with a photo department. You can also scan memorabilia such as movie ticket stubs, show programs or newspaper articles. Some of these items can simply be photographed with your digital camera – place on the floor or ground in natural light and shoot a few frames to make sure you got it without blur. Holding your arms close to your sides helps you avoid the blur. Now you can place these photographs into your digital scrapbook layouts just like a photo. Within another 20 years [digital scrapbooking] is likely to become the norm rather than an offshoot of paper scrapbooking, as the potential it offers is far greater. It’s most definitely not the scrapbooking your grandma knew. Source: DigitalTrends.com
Not all digital scrapbookers print their pages. I am one of those people but I used to print my pages because it was familiar to me after filling 20 large albums with traditional scrapbook pages. At first, I created 12”x12” digital layouts and printed them at 8”x8” on my trusty Epson printer. Unfortunately, those prints are now fading. A couple years ago, I switched to a professional printing service – Persnickety Prints. I got stunning 12”x12” pages delivered right to my door and you can do that too. You will need to purchase an album to put your prints in, just like with paper scrapbook layouts. These are not the only options – a fun option is to have a photobook created with your pages. That’s a bound book made from your layouts. A book like this can be created and ordered right from inside My Memories Suite software! I will be doing this with my wedding anniversary cruise album. Another option is to keep and view all your layouts digitally. This is what I do with my pages. We view them on the computer, or for extra fun on the TV. You can create and burn photo DVDs that can be viewed or shared with family and friends from inside My Memories Suite. The only cost is the writeable DVD!
The bottom line for me is that digital scrapbooking is easier, less messy, less costly and more versatile than paper scrapbooking. When I first heard about it in 2005, I never thought I could give up my huge stash of scrapbooking tools, papers and embellishments. However, I very quickly got hooked on it and completely stopped creating traditional pages. Now I am free to create amazing pages using creative supplies that would cost a fortune to buy at a regular store. I hope you will join the next wave of scrapbooking and try digital today!