Which leads me to the point we’re all waiting for: my number one tip for getting more of the stories you want to tell into your scrapbooks.
(Just in case you have absolutely no interest in my number one journaling tip, scroll on down to Part B: Digital Q&A).
And for those of you who are interested in my number one journaling tip, here it is:
Your photo and your journaling do not have to match. They don’t even have to coordinate. They don't have to be from the same day. They don’t need to have the same subject matter, although having the same subject is probably a good idea.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but here's an example: I had all these fun pictures of my kids out front playing with chalk and 3-D glasses that my mom gave them. But I don’t like to start a page until I have some idea what I’m going to say on it, so I started thinking about journaling. I could say:
The kids had such a great time yesterday drawing with chalk and checking out their creations through the 3-D glasses my mom got them last time she visited. We had lots of fun.
And that would be fine. But I have lots of pictures of my kids having fun doing different activities, and I don't want the journaling on every page to boil down to the same thing: here are the kids doing such and such and having fun. Again. So rather than make a page that says the same old thing, I kept the pictures in my “to print” folder in iPhoto and didn’t do anything with them for a few months. (Keeping them in a “to print” folder reminds me I want to use them on a layout at some point in the future.)
So fast forward to a few weeks ago—my husband makes the comment that our son, Jackson, has a theory on everything. I think, that’s so true! and then I realize I have notes in my notebook (see yesterday's post) that go right along with that idea (Jack and strawberry milk, Jack and centipede). So I sit down and make this layout:
I used photos I loved AND recorded a bit of my son’s personality, even though the pictures and the journaling have absolutely nothing to do with each other except that they happen to be about Jack at this time of life. Does it matter that they don’t match? No! Could I have used a close-up from a photo shoot? Yup. Could I have used a sports picture? Sure. People are interested in stories. When your kids are grown up, they will be interested in their own stories, and their kids will be interested in those same stories. As long as the story and picture don’t conflict (you might not want to use pictures of your son throwing a tantrum paired with the story about how well he gets along with his sister), no one is going to care that the story isn’t about what’s happening in the picture. They’ll be thrilled that each page in your album is filled with a new story that captures life from the time you made that layout.
Now what about all the pictures I had of the other kids playing with chalk that day? They’ll stay in iPhoto, where I can review them whenever I want. Some people like to print these “extra” photos and keep them in standard photo albums, but I’m happy having them on my computer (and backed up in two places). I don’t ever feel like I have to make scrapbook pages with all the pictures I take. That would be a pretty scary proposition.
Anyway, if you start mixing photos and stories that don’t really go together, you will be able to make your scrapbooks BOTH photo AND story based, and you will record the real stuff of your life. Here's one more example:
I didn't take a picture of my older boys wrapping up the baby and crowning him the prince, but I didn't want to leave the story out of my scrapbooks just because I didn't have a picture. So I used a picture of each boy holding Baby James to illustrate the story. The pictures weren't taken on the same day, don't really match each other (that's why they are B&W), and frankly aren't that great. But I love the layout.
More journaling ideas tomorrow (along with the fact that even I don't actually tell a story on every single layout, so please don't start feeling bad about your journaling or lack thereof).
Part B: Digital Q&A
What computer programs do I need? How can I see if I enjoy digiscrapping before investing in an expensive program?
I use Photoshop Elements 7. I purchased the Mac version for $80 from Amazon, but I have seen the PC version for as little as $50 if you catch a deal at Costco. Elements can do just about anything I could wish in digital scrapbooking, and all the digital elements you would buy will work just fine on it, as long as your version isn’t ancient. Please do not feel like you need to purchase the much more expensive CS version of Photoshop to learn to digiscrap. You can do cool stuff like this with Elements:
Adobe usually runs a free 30 day trial of Elements through their website here. If you download this at a time when you know you’ll have a chance to play around with it (i.e. not right before Christmas or during baseball season or whenever is your busiest time of year), then you should have sufficient time to decide if this is worth your investment or not. Or better yet, download the free trial before you start an online class. That way you'll be sure to spend enough time with it to decide if it's worth the investment.
I think I’ll miss the feel of real paper, or won’t get the same satisfaction. Plus I’ve invested so much in scrapbook supplies, I don’t want to start over.
I have found digiscrapping just as rewarding as paper scrapping—even more so in some ways (like the fact that my desk stays clean, and I can work on layouts immediately instead of waiting until I’ve printed my pictures). I’ve been surprised by how much fun it is. But when I get the itch to use things I can touch, I just make a paper page. There’s no rule that says you have to stick to one method or the other. Another option is making hybrid pages, which are layouts that use digital elements on a paper page or vice versa. On this layout (seen in Simple Scrapbooks Photo Play), I used Photoshop Elements to extend the background of my pictures out to the right, then add text. Then I printed the photo block and used it to make a paper layout.
However, for some people the satisfaction may just not be there with digital scrapping. Some people might never want to make the switch, and that’s ok. I’ll be the first to tell you how cool and convenient it is, but I also want to tell you that if you are happy with paper scrapbooking, you don’t need to feel like you should learn digital just because it’s the “new thing” or the “in” thing. If you’re more comfortable with your paper than you are with your computer, that’s fine! If you spend too much time at your computer already and scrapbooking is an alternative to that, that’s great! If you’re happy with the way things are going or not up to making the effort right now to learn something new, then keep going with what works for you. Guilt has no part in this hobby.
So now we come to the money issue, and in some ways that’s a tough one. We might feel like we have to keep making paper layouts for years just to get some value out the money we’ve spent on supplies. However, while too much money spent in the past is a good reason to curtail spending in the future, it’s not a good reason (in my opinion) NOT to learn something new. The money I’ve spent on paper supplies isn’t a waste now that I can make digital pages as well as paper ones; in fact, I’ve spent much less on supplies in the past few months because I’m not going through my stash as quickly. And if I ever decide to switch to digital completely, there are lots of organizations that could make good use of my leftover paper supplies.
Come back tomorrow for more digital discussions and to learn the identity of our Thursday guest blogger (who's bringing a giveaway with her!). And keep your comments and questions coming. Patricia asked yesterday about printing digital layouts - I'll cover that tomorrow. Christina asked whether digital scrapbooking saves time as compared to paper scrapbooking - I'll talk about that on Friday. I hope you plan to join me!