I have a lovely old photo album with family photos from the 1870′s. Some of them are labelled many are not. I have no idea who these people are or why the photo was taken. That is one of the reasons I scrapbook. I want others to know what was important about the photos that are preserved. Yet sometimes it is easier to just make a pretty page.
Over the last few years, I have been exercising my storytelling muscles. Today, I want to share a few tips with you for including the story in your albums.
1. Write a letter. Each year, I try to write a letter to my girls around their birthdays. I then include this in their album. This can be typed as part of the page. I could also be written on a pretty piece of paper then scanned and added to the page.
2. Use a quote. Sometimes I only use a quote. It gives some information about how I was feeling about the picture. It is not my words though. A quote could be a jumping off point for your own thoughts. These will be treasured because it includes you in the page.
3. Be a reporter. Do you remember in school looking a the who, what, where, why and when of a story or event? Some of this may seem obvious to you as you look at the photo. Now imagine the year is 2112, your descendants have just found your old scrapbook on the shelf. Can they answer any of those questions by looking at the page? If not write a paragraph with some of the details.
4. Write a caption. This is a short snippet under, or beside the photo that gives the main information. For this I often include a name, place and date with no other information.
5. Use a definition. Pick a main word that describes what you want your page to be about. Then add the definition of the word dictionary style to the page. I often use this as a starting point and add a short description to the page that expands on the idea.
6. Use a Poem or Song. I have written poems specifically to go with photos. Not everyone enjoys writing poetry. I used to hate it. A part of a song can fill the same function and you don’t need to be a poet to use this tip.
7. Hidden journaling. When I use paper supplies, I can fashion an envelope to hold the journaling. Digital scrap booking is harder to use hidden journaling. the best idea I have seen for this is to put the journaling on the back of the page after printing. This will not work if you print your pages as an album. It might be possible to create an envelope using the digital pieces so you can add the dimension after printing. I have a few pages where I have written the information on the page after printing because I did not want it on the web.
8. Separate pages for story. Sometimes I want to create a fancy page that has photos and embellishments but the story needs to be told. For these I create a double page spread where one side is journaling. This allows more room to tell a story.
9. Make a list. There are many topics that can use a list style for telling the story. It could be a list of some ones favorites. A gratitude list. A daily tasks list (or schedule).
10. Have fun. We are our families storytellers have fun with it.
Many of the challenges in the forums contain journal prompts if you want more ideas.
Thought since we are focusing on clustering and embellishments this month, we might want to take a look at how these relate to the whole design of a layout too for some basic design principals.
Creating a frame of elements around your photo.
By adding elements clustered at the corner like Aria did here, you are grounding your photo. Using like colors or repeating elements found in the paper, you are grounding your photo to the background also visually. Notice how all of these used this technique of creating a cluster of elements to frame and ground their photos.
By clustering your elements AND photo to a corner of the page, you are also creating what we call “white space”. This “space” is a place for the eyes to rest while looking at a page but it also draws your eyes to photo on the photo itself.
You can do this also by filing the whole page like Angie did here.
She is still framing and clustering using embellishments, but by desaturating her photo, it will naturally draw the eye there first and the photo actually becomes the neutral “space”. Everything added here is being used to “frame” this photo by matting and clustering around it.
She also played a with her title and journaling to create it within this space and this is again, drawing the eyes inward to where she wanted to draw the focus to.
In turn you can also try a more linear look and using repetition of photos or elements to ground your embellishments and/or photos to a page.
See how Judy used clustering of elements, note pieces and photo frames here in a vertical orientation. By doing this, she is drawing the eye inward but grounding them at the same time.
Another example of this is from two of my own pages.
Here is this first one we see the linear line creatd by the photos on the left with all the clustered elements and papers tucked under and around them. The blended photo into the background becomes the resting space but the eyes still want to be led to the main photo and is drawn down to the journaling.
Again, linear clustering on the left, but now the page has more movement and is being drawn outward into the photos sitting in the “white space” and the bottom right corner with it’s brushwork and element is visually framing it all together.
Now look at another way Beth combined these design principles of using clusters to frame out your photo, clustering your photos and leaving some white space, and using repetition of elements also to frame the photos, and repeating the elements in the corners of the page too, for a whole other type of effect but still visually pleasing.
These are just some of the unique ways you use clustering and embellishments to draw focus and give some visual grounding to your layouts.
While doing your layouts and clustering, keep in mind the types of elements and the layering and don’t forget to adjust your shadows for the different depths created by the layering of embellishments and papers too. That is what usually will make or break your layout from looking good to looking awesome!
Till next time,
General Digital Scrapbooking Tips:
Ancestry 101 (PDF file)
Beginner Tips- Resizing a Photo (PDF file)
Beginner Tips- Cropping a Photo (PDF file)
Beginner Tips- Journaling (PDF file)
Using a Color Wheel For Better Layouts (PDF file)
What About Words — Adding Journaling (PDF file)
Who Am I (PDF file)