Please welcome our guest blogger, Contributing Editor Polly Maly, as she shares her process and tips for picking photos to print and scrapbook.
One would think, after having been a scrapbooker for ten years, that my process for choosing photos to print or scrapbook would’ve been well established long before now. Think again. Having finally diagnosed myself as a “Perfectionist Messy” (according to the awesome book, The Messies Manual), I finally got some insight into why I was always swimming in thousands of photos, too many ideas, and too few finished albums.
While I certainly did take a boat-load of photos, and have filled many albums over the years with layouts, I was continually overwhelmed with the volume of photos and never-ending list of stories to be told through my scrapbook pages. The problem was, I couldn’t decide which way would be best to deal with it, so by default, I decided not to decide. Not very productive.
And then, over the Christmas 2008 holiday break….an epiphany. (Pun intended.)
I may not scrapbook all the time, but I look at my photos constantly. Daily. I love them. I collect them. I cherish them. But as I lounged on the couch while the kids watched movies, I realized that while I liked all my photos, I was only really crazy about some of them. Maybe, since some shots stood out as favorites, I just didn’t need 75 more photos from any given event to make me happy. 10? Maybe 14? Perhaps. But sometimes, it was just a single photo that caught my eye, and was quite enough all by itself.
That day I decided to create twelve new folders to hold the copies for only my very favorite photos from each month. I went through each and every folder from the month I was working on, and copied and pasted only the photos that made me happiest into the new folder.
When I came to a folder from an event that seemed too big to pick just a few, or that I definitely felt had a story brewing, I knew I had a topic to add to the to-do list of scrapbook pages I decided to keep in a Word document. (I was already in the habit of putting photos from really big events like Christmas or vacations into their own Shutterfly photobooks.)
I found I easily had the attention span to look through a month’s worth of photos at a time, which took about the same amount of time as watching a DVD. Finishing a month felt like an accomplishment, and one that was so much fun.
This process gave me a focus for dealing with my photos I hadn’t had before. It was so exciting! Suddenly, the process seemed so much more manageable than it had before. Granted, I’d taken a LOT of pictures in the years since I went digital, but I always advise scrapbookers to start where they are, and work backwards if they choose. I took my own advice.
The only thing that’s changed since then is that now, once I have all the photos from a month added to a folder, I open up each of the winners in Photoshop Elements, edit if necessary, resize to a 4×6”, and add simple journaling (a name, a date, or sometimes a little more) right onto the photo. (Mind you, I’m working with a copy of the original file which is still stored safely in two places. I may never go back to it, but its there if I need it.)
While I’m working on a particular month, if there’s a group of photos I want to scrapbook, I either print off a set of photos in various sizes for a traditional page, or create a collage using the Quick Collage templates found at ScrapbooksEtc.com. This isn’t just a plug for the SBE website…I use these ALL the time to manage big groups of photos for a page.
When all those photos come back from the developer, I put them all in We R Memory Keeper photo pages, and slide the groups of shots or collages to be scrapbooked in 12×12″ page protectors. It’s made preparing for crops so much easier! Everything’s in order, and I can see what I had in mind just by opening my photo album.
Is my system perfect? Of course not. But its so much better than the way I was doing things before, which was haphazard at best. Though I may not always be working on the current month, I’m not too far behind at any given time, and it never takes too long to catch up. This Christmas, you can be sure, I’ll be snuggled under my favorite chenille throw, sorting photos again.
Enjoy your holiday!
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