One of my favorite things about the scrapbooking world is how many good tips I've picked up over the years—whether from a magazine, in a conversation, or on a blog, I am constantly on the lookout for good ideas and clever ways of doing things. I absolutely love when people share their tips, tricks, and good ideas with me, so I thought I'd share a random handful of ideas here today! If you have a minute, please leave a tip or two of your own in the comments to share with our community here at Write. Click. Scrapbook.
1. Catalogs are a fantastic photography resource!
When I teach photography workshops, I always bring a stack of mail-order catalogs with me to pass around the table. The assignment? Study the photographs inside for expert examples of how to pose children and adults alike for group photographs. The job of the photographers who take all those pictures is to sell clothes—in the process, people are posed in extremely fun and flattering ways. This is an especially good trick to pull out just before the holiday season when you're sure to want a photo of a large group of family and/or friends. Best of all, it's a FREE RESOURCE. Can't beat that!
An example of a great trick I learned from eyeing these photos with a more critical eye is to avoid having children scoot all the way back on a couch or chair when taking a group photo. Move them to the edge (provided they're old enough not to fall off!) so they can sit up straight with their legs dangling off the couch. You'll avoid strange distortions and everyone looks more energetic when they're not slouching on a comfy couch. You'll have to take my word for it on this one and just try it yourself—I have some good examples of group shots of kids taken this way, but not all of their mamas are OK with internet postings of their kiddos.
2. Put a USB microphone on your wish list.
When I first started teaching at Big Picture Scrapbooking I needed to buy a high-quality microphone to record my voice (which, by the way, sounds identical to what you might imagine an 11 year old would sound like; my only solace is that my sister Marie is my voice twin, so I'm not alone in my signature child-like vocal sound). I quickly realized that my purchase—a Logitech brand USB-equipped microphone for $29.99—was one of the best, most inexpensive tools at my disposal for preserving memories. I still kind of dread having to record myself for audio introductions over at BPS (ha), but I love plugging that microphone in and plunking my daughters down in front of it. I've recorded their first words, their preschool songs, conversations with me or their sisters... it is truly phenomenal to listen to these recordings and realize how fast their little voices grow and change. Best of all, it's easy to import the recordings into iTunes (free to download for everyone, Mac or PC) and burn them to a disc just as you would a music playlist. Think about the possibilities: besides the obvious fun you can have with children, it's great for interviewing older relatives, creating a message for your family to find on a disc tucked on a scrapbook page as a surprise one day, etc. And really? $29.99 is a reasonable price point if someone asks you what you want for your next birthday.
3. Always walk down the card aisle.
This is not a new idea, but sometimes it's nice to be reminded of a good idea: cards are a great resource for page/mini-album design. I created an entire mini-album this summer based on this Compendium post card I found at one of my favorite bookstores.It is by far one of my most favorite projects of 2009!
4. Mix a little heritage with a little modern-day.
Who said heritage pages have to always use old photos? While I do like working with old(er) photos, I think it's possible to transcend the gap between "way back then" and right now when you make a connection with a story (or even a single fact) about an ancestor and the modern-day you.
See? A legend about my great-great grandfather + my tomatoes from last summer. That's a combination that makes me happy.
5. Keep your inspiration organized.
I'm a hunter-gatherer when it comes to inspiration for my scrapbook pages. I'm so passionate about collecting good tips, cool designs, and samples of things I want to try and make myself that I fill binders and bookmark websites right and left with things I love and am inspired by. I'm also passionate about sharing good ideas, which is why I'm so excited to introduce a new feature of Write. Click. Scrapbook. today: the Write. Click. Scrapbook. Tumblr. (What??) Tumblr is a relatively new service that acts like a virtual bulletin board to post and categorize photos, links, text, audio, video and quotes. It's free, it's easy, and it's a great way to organize all the amazing things you run across online; I don't know about you, but those websites I bookmark right and left have a tendency to get lost if I'm not careful. Tumblr provides a way to prevent that from happening.
You'll find a link on our navigation bar just under the banner to this new feature; we're just getting started, but the collective here at WCS will continue to add things scrapbookers might like on a regular basis. The archives are linked at the bottom of the Tumblr page; when you click the link you'll be taken to a handy thumbnail display of past postings. Please stop by and check it out! Thanks for reading this week.