A woman named Diana wrote me an e-mail with the following query:
I just started scrapbooking about a year ago and now I am having a hard time getting organized with this matter. I can't decide which pictures to use, printing, color, sizes, etc...
It's a great question. Photos are the basis of everything we do in scrapbooking and I have found that if I can get the photos "right," the rest of it seems to come together very quickly. So, here's my process...
1. I take a million photos of nothing.
I use the camera in my iphone almost every day to snap photos while I'm waiting for the bus, or of a big fancy plate of food at a restaurant, or whatever else seems to strike my fancy. My "real" camera is a Canon Digital Rebel XTi and it's fantastic. I highly recommend it. I try to take all my photos without the flash and so good lighting and a steady hand are important.
2. I upload to iphoto.
I'm a Mac girl and so I use iphoto (comes pre-loaded with all Macs) to transfer my photos to my computer. iphoto is a very simple program and I like the user interface. I don't keyword my photos. I know that I ought to (and iphoto has a great tagging system) but it's too time-consuming for my tastes. I leave my photos in iphoto, unedited, until I'm ready to scrap them.
NOTE: Once I've scrapped an event or moment, I transfer those photos to my external hard drive (EHD) and delete them from iphoto. My EHD is arranged by year and then each year is sub-categorized by event or subject (i.e. "Mom's birthday," "Random Photos of Julie," etc.) This keeps me organized
3. I choose the substance of my layout or project. Then I choose the photos.
What does that mean? The "substance?" I always start with a story that I'm trying to tell. Let's work through an actual example. Here's my substance:
Chicken fried steak and biscuits and gravy are childhood favorites of John's that he can't get very easily in New York City. So, on this trip home, he ordered all of it at once!
So, now I want to choose photos that best tell this story. Here is a screenshot from iphoto:
You can see that I have eleven photos relating to the story of John and his huge breakfast, but which ones best tell that story? Well, since the focus of the story is the food, my main photo will be one of the food shots. I just need to choose the one that makes him look the most gluttonous. For supporting photos, I will want to include at least one shot of him, and maybe two. Uneven numbers (3 photos) tend to be pleasing.
Here are the photos I've chosen to use:
4. I edit almost every single photo I scrap.
Once I've chosen my photos, it's time to edit them. iphoto does allow you to do some simple editing, but I prefer the control of Photoshop. I primarily use Photoshop CS3. But, almost all the basic editing I do can be done in Photoshop Elements as well.
I start by editing my focal photo: The food.
You can see that I cropped the photo, and adjusted the lighting. Now, there are two strikes against this photo being the focus of the page: (1) it's very busy and (2) it's of inanimate objects. Therefore, I need to do something to the two photos of John to ensure that this photo remains the focus. An easy way is to use color. The eye will look at a color photo before a black and white photo. So, I will make the photos of him black and white, which you can see that I've done here:
I also cropped the photos, particularly the second one - it's a much tighter close-up of him than the original.
5. Time to print!
Now that I've edited my photos, it's time to print them. I print at home using an Epson PictureMate Deluxe. It's a small printer that prints 4x6 photos. So, most of the photos on my layouts are 4x6 or smaller. To save paper, I often create a 4x6 canvas in Photoshop and place several smaller photos on it as below:
So, that's it! That's the process I use to get my photos ready for scrapping! Let me know if you have any questions!