So I've been reliving the past 18 years via photos. I'm making a scrapbook for my daughter's graduation open house.
It's been incredibly life affirming, I must say! If any of you know my background...that I used to be a major scrapbooker, you'd know I've done this for a long time. In the past 15 years I've sold the products in my retail brick and mortar store, taught classes at scrapbook conventions, and had many layouts published in all of the big dog scrap magazines. Designed lots of scrapbook products, too.
I should have taken a photo of all the scrapbook albums (12x12) I have. It's a tumbling tower...well over 15 fat huge albums filled to the brim with bright colored pages and embellishments surrounding the photos and life stories of our family. THIS scrapbook that I'm working on this week is very different from those.
My daughter and I created a digital scrapbook on Shutterfly a few weeks ago, and it by far our favorite of all. It was so easy to create, and the completed photo album looks like a hard back book. It's not trendy...very classic and will be in style forever. I'm so glad we did that! She's got her high school years (family, friends and sports) in that album and will enjoy sharing it at her open house--and forever, really.
But we still had the earlier years of her life to cover. The photos that were taken before we had digital photos. I'm not about to drag out all of those 15plus plus family albums to show guests. Who would want to see that? I mean...it'd take forever. SO, I'm doing a scrapbook for her to take with her on her life's journey, and it's got a few photos of each year of her life (I'm a totally chronological scrapper).
See how simple the pages are? Minimal embellishments. Very. I'm using a Kolo album, and limiting photos to one on a page. A couple have two photos, but mostly just one. I'm loving the use of all of the white space. I've never been a simple scrapper, so this is new for me. I've always pushed and pushed myself to be very creative with the layouts...it was a form of creative expression. So this is album is a no-brainer and comes together very easily. I'm not dreading doing it either, and no creative stumbling blocks! Minimal supplies! Minimal mess! I'm using the Fiskars photo splits (that's what I call the adhesives--old school, see!?) They were inexpensive and work great.
Best of all, when we put this book in someone's hands to view, they won't be overwhelmed. It's simple, it's going to be easy to peruse, and won't leave them cross-eyed from sensory overload half way through it. And, the focus is on THE PHOTOS!!!! Imagine that!
Throughout all of my teaching, I always told the beginning scrapbookers to focus on the photos, not the embellishments. I still believe that. My family has never ever said to me "Mom, I love that sticker on that page!!" or "Wow, that alphabet stamp is awesome." Nope, never said anything like that. They pick up our scrapbooks
to see themselves,
to read the stories,
to relive their lives.
It's never about the embellishments...even though it often was for me. I mean, I even planned my son's 1st birthday around the Mrs. Grossman's gingerbread boy stickers for cryin' out loud.
While I've been working on this album, I've thought about lots and lots of things about scrapbooking and photo storytelling. If any of you are into taking photos (of your life or your family) I'd love to give you a few tips/discoveries I've made along the way:
I wish someone would have told me this stuff..and if I still taught beginner scrapbooking classes I'd advice these...I'd scream it until they got it. I wish I'd taken closer photos of my newborn daughter. I wish I hadn't cropped her baby photos into little (blurry) 2x2 hearts and circles. Now they have the visual value of the sticker in the border beside them.
I think a fabulous gift to new parents would be a nice digital camera (if they already have one), and a lesson at a photography store on how to USE the camera....and some photo editing software (Photoshop). I couldn't be anymore serious about this...thus the large print above.
The biggest part of this week's project has been sorting through the photos. The early years are in boxes which I did have organized thankfully. Then around 2000 I got my first digital camera so all those photos are on the computer. Somewhat organized, too, even though I didn't know how to organized those on the computer (folders, dates, etc.) for quite a while!
Anyhoo....thanks for reading my rants and I hope that there's been a bit of advice for folks in this post. And if you already do/have all of the above, then I guess I would like to give you permission to use good archival scrapbooks and to keep it simple. Couldn't be any more serious about that either.
Now don't go thinking I don't use scrapbook supplies anymore...I do! I love many of them. I just am keeping it simple. I wish all of our photos were in Shutterfly books, but that's just me.
So now that you know my thoughts on all of this...have you any tips to share? To help out those new to capturing life via photos? Spill them in the comments if you do!