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We all take
pictures. In this digital age we all take tons
of pictures. Why? Because we want to remember a snapshot in time that
was important to us. Yet for many people, those pictures that were developed
or printed end up in a box where they are rarely seen. The digital pictures
end up on a CD or published on the web somewhere. Scrapbooking is about
telling a story, both for us to remember, and for future generations to
warily decided to give scrapbooking a try. But if you have boxes and boxes
of pictures from the pre-digital age, not to mention all the digital pictures
that are on your computer in various stages of organization, where do
you start? It really can be an overwhelming question.
of unsorted vacation photos collected over the years can make
even the thought of starting a scrapbook project seem daunting.
©Mouse Memories, 2008.
start out thinking that they will go back to their childhood, and work
their way to the present in their scrapbooks. Except for a rare few personality
types, this will not work. It requires that ALL of your pictures be sorted
chronologically from the beginning of time to present. That alone is a
monumental task! The whole project will seem to be impossible, sabotaging
your efforts from the beginning. It is much better to choose a small scale
project and ease your way into it. That way you can have fun, and enjoy
the creative process. You'll also quickly have a completed project to
show off to your family and friends.
are lots of great approaches to starting scrapbooking. We have two
different approaches that we suggest to our clients, depending on their
situation. If your interest in scrapbooking is the idea of having album
after album of your family life completed and lined up on the shelf like
a row of beautiful library books, you might want to start right away working
on 12 x 12 pages.
As Julie Andrews sang, "Let's start at the very beginning.
a very good place to start."
©Mouse Memories, 2008.
you think that you really might not have long term interest in or time
to memorialize every facet of your family life, then you would approach
scrapbooking differently. You might want to create mini albums or other
photo projects that aren't even intended to end up in an album. Home
decor items created with photos would be a great example of this. Album
pages that are 12 x 12 are really great to work with, though, so there's
no reason not to plan your first project to be a stand alone 12 x 12
album, even if you don't think it will eventually become one of thirty
volumes of your family history!
In both cases,
you will want to choose your first theme to work on. We know that
we're biased, but if you have Disney pictures to scrapbook, they are definitely
the most fun! Plus, there are so many awesome Disney products on the market
that you can create a simple project that looks like a masterpiece!
to assume for the rest of this article that you've chosen a Disney themed
project to get started with, but you can certainly apply the same principles
to starting with any theme.
your topic. We're assuming that it is a Disney Vacation Trip.
your pictures together. If they are already printed you are ahead
of the game. If they are not printed, at least make sure that all the
pictures from this trip are in the same folder on your computer.
this point you will need to make a high level decision about how you
want to structure your album. (We've already started with the assumption
that it is Disney themed. Now, because we are biased -sorry West Coasters!-
we're also going to assume that it is a trip to Walt Disney World.)
people are simply chronologically-brained. Is that a term? We're
going with it anyway. For you, it won't seem right if the album
doesn't follow the chronological timing of your trip. If that is
you, you might want to start by sorting your pictures by day on
your trip. If you happened to have written a trip report of your
trip, this can be a very useful tool in sorting your pictures in
order. If you have stacks of printed pictures, just create a label
(on scrap paper) for each day of the trip and sort them accordingly.
If your pictures are still on your computer, you can subdivide them
in your Disney trip folder.
of people are more theme oriented in their albums, and will sort
the photos by theme. For a Walt Disney World trip, for instance,
your high level sort might be into piles for Magic Kingdom, Epcot,
the Hollywood Studios (or MGM if your trip was pre-2008), and Animal
Kingdom. You might also have a stack for traveling, hanging out
at your hotel, pools or water parks, Downtown Disney, or other attractions
you might have visited on your trip.
you are planning your project to be chronological, or theme oriented,
you will follow basically the same steps from here on out. You're
now ready for a mid-level sort. This is where you have to force
yourself to be brutal. In the digital photography age, most people come
home from a Disney trip with up to 1000 pictures or even more! A good
target for narrowing down your photos is about 150-180 pictures for
a full 12"x 12"album. So clearly not all of those 1000 pictures
are going to be memorialized in your album. (Of course, you can have
multiple volumes of albums if you just can't
narrow down your choices, but with every extra album is that much additional
work to be done.) Here is one good process for sorting out the rejects.
blurry or poorly lit pictures. (If they're just plain bad pictures,
toss them. Or, eliminate them from your computer files so they are
not taking up space.)
duplicates. (If you've printed exact duplicates, save those
so you can give them away or use them in a different project.)
duplicates that aren't exactly duplicates. You know, the ones
where your little darlings were being sooooo cute with Mickey Mouse,
so you snapped like 45 pictures most of which are the same except
for a small facial expression change. (On the other hand, you may
want to be careful here: five or six pictures of the same thing
with only slight differences can be made into a wonderful and effective
layout. At this point, hold onto such extras since we're really
just trying to narrow down the scope of the project, not put a crimp
on your creativity. You can always take out a few more at the end
when you're working on a specific layout.)
pictures that don't portray things you specifically want to remember
about the trip. If the kids were fighting with each other just
as you snapped the picture, you might not want to feature that on
a page, etc. (In this case, we recommend saving the picture for
future blackmail use against your children.)
you don't want to toss any rejected pictures that are still good
photos. You may want them for a future project even if they
don't make the cut this time around.
you complete the initial review process described in step #4, your picture
stacks or number of computer files should be much smaller. Now you're
going to separate those into what pictures will actually be used on
each specific layout. This is an exciting step, because you'll begin
to see your album laid out before your eyes. There are lots of expensive
organizational products on the market that you could purchase to keep
your sorted pictures in as you work on individual layouts. While they
can be helpful, they really are not necessary. We recommend, instead,
that you have at your fingertips your pictures already sorted through
step 4, a stack of plain envelopes, and a pen to label the envelopes.
one stack of your pictures at a time. (If you are working with
digital pictures that are still on your computer at this time, you
can keep subdividing them with sub-folders.) If you're working chronologically,
you might start with your Day 1 of the trip stack. If you're working
by theme, choose any stack that inspires you. For our example, we'll
choose the Magic Kingdomstack.
now want to sort these into specific themes. Even chronological
albums will have themes as you progressed through your day. For
example, in our Magic Kingdom stack, we might start by sorting the
pictures by land so that all pictures from Fantasyland are all together,
etc. There would also probably be a stack of character interaction
pictures. We usually make that an entirely separate stack, regardless
of where in the park we actually encountered the character.
that sort of your first stack and while you are still working with
those pictures, we're going to sort one more time. Let's say we
are working with the Fantasyland stack we sorted from the Magic
Kingdom stack. Now you might want to subdivide that directly
into themed layouts. You might have 6-8 pictures of your family
on Dumbo. Separate that into one set, put it in an envelope, and
mark the outside of the envelope Dumbo. If at this point you have
several other pictures left of Dumbo, you can still put them all
in the same envelope and decide later if you're willing to devote
several pages of the book to Dumbo, or if you want to do some further
eliminating. It's a Small World might also get it's own envelope
filled with pictures. Keep working with this Fantasyland stack until
all pictures are sorted by theme into labeled envelopes. Don't be
stressed if you have one or two pictures here or there that don't
really seem to go with anything else. Maybe while in Fantasyland
you stopped for Mickey Head Ice Cream and you have a great stand
alone picture of the kids with Mickey dripping down their faces
in the stroller. Collect all those seeming misfits into one envelope
and mark it. They can become a great part of a collage page later
you have finished sorting the Fantasyland stack, start into the
next pile from the Magic Kingdom pictures. When the MK is done,
grab another mid-level pile and repeat the process. Just keep
working this way through all the sections, until you have sorted
all the pictures for your project. One additional step we usually
throw in here is to keep one list of what you have sorted. It might
look as follows:
a Small World 12 pictures
Mickey 52 pictures (Just kidding we've already eliminated a
bunch of these, right?)
with Castle 5 pictures
Pooh 7 pictures
list, when you are done sorting and it is complete, can become your
shopping guide. If you have no pictures of Tigger, you don't need
to buy any Tigger products. If you have 52 pictures of Mickey that
you can't bear to part with, you might need to plan for several Mickey
themed pages, and therefore will need to purchase more Mickey products.
Scrapbooks capture special events that you want to remember for the rest
of your life!
Groesbeck Project Scrapbooking Page Layout, Produced
Mouse Memories. ©Mouse Memories, 2008.
between now and our next article? Choose a trip or project. Get out those
pictures and get them sorted into labeled envelopes. In our next article,
we'll give you some pointers on how to buy the right products for your
pages, without going overboard. We'll also start working on layout design,
including how to decide how many pictures to use on a page.
Article in the Series
of All Scrapbooking Magic Articles