Digital Scrapbooking for Free
Scrapbooking on a Dime
How to Shoot Your Kids' Portraits
I'd like to switch from "paper" scrapbooking to digital scrapbooking because I think it will be more efficient for me, as well as cost effective! It won't take up the whole dining room table either. My photos are already digital, and I won't have to print them and put them in a book. Instead, I can just fix them on the computer screen, add text, save to disk, and share with family. Are there any tips from your great readers as to where to start on this journey? What software is used? Packages? Thanks!
Lisa in UT
I have made four traditional scrapbooks. Now, I have made four digital scrapbooks and am working on my fifth. There are a lot of Internet photobook companies that a simple Internet search for "photobooks" will turn up.
I wouldn't pay for software. Most sites allow you to do the work online or download their software for free because they know they will make money when you print your finished project. I made my first album with MyPublisher, which was wonderful because it was free-download software and designed to be done entirely offline and uploaded when finished. It was pretty simple and plain.
Since then, I have opted to work with Shutterfly. The secret is to use their free-download software, which includes collage software. I make each page as a collage offline. It has tremendous layout flexibility, borders and background color options, easy-to-use photo editing and sizing, and then I upload the already-made pages or two or three collages per page and insert them in the book. This literally saves hundreds of hours compared to working online and waiting for hundreds of pictures to constantly re-load (and I have cable Internet). When I upload them online, there are even more background options to add additional flare, and I don't pay a penny until I am completely done and order the book. Books can be saved and reprinted or printed in a different size. It cost me about half what I would have put into a traditional album.
As for things we put in scrapbooks besides pictures like cards, birth certificates, hospital bracelets, baptismal or dedication certificates, movie passes, programs, invitations, announcements, etc., access to a scanner can be very helpful here! Be diligent about uploading pictures in at least the resolution recommended by the company, greater if possible, especially for full-page photos or collages, so that your book comes out crisp and clean. Happy digital scrapbooking!
The absolute best software to use is from a company called Creative Memories! They have a free program called Storybook Creator 2.0 that allows you to drop your photos onto pages to create a book. Then all you have to do is send it to be printed! You can download the free software at www.creativememories.com. You can also choose from many free downloadable themes for backgrounds for your books if you choose not to have a plain background. Even more help comes from purchasing their Memory Manager organization software to help you get your photos in order (and edit them) and/or from purchasing the even more flexible Storybook Creator Plus software. If you do choose to spend the money to purchase those, believe me, they are well worth it!
I do digital scrapbooking also. I started with Heritage Makers.com for my first book and was hooked as I made a book of my deceased parent's life. I even used all the old slides my father had taken during his life.
Heritage is very high quality and high priced too. I ventured out into the digital scrap world and discovered many companies who offer books, mouse pads, magnet, notepads and other personalized items with my photographs printed on them.
The best value so far is Wal-Mart.com. I have made a paperback book for less than $10 and notepads for less than $6.
I went to a scrapbooking convention to discover more places to use my heirloom photos in new ways. One of my favorites was a photo fold from Heritage that had photos of my mother in her 20s and 30s for my step-dad who didn't meet her until her 50s. It gave him a glance into her life at the beginning.
Go online at Google and type in digital scrapbooking and you will find many options.
I switched to digital scrapbooking for many of the same reasons you mention. In addition, I find that being able to either scan or take pictures of actual things that are special to my children and grandchildren make all the difference in the layouts. For instance, I took pictures of my own chocolate chip cookies lying on our family tablecloth for the background in one layout and it became totally personal to our family. Those are the things our children and grandchildren will remember and cherish not something we purchased as a "theme."
I have Adobe Photoshop Elements, the scaled down version of Photoshop. It costs about $100, but saves you a lot of money in the long run. When I first got it, I was very confused but found some tutorials online that made it seem simple. I especially liked the tutorial CDs that I purchased at www.scrappersguide.com. They are worth every penny I paid because I learned techniques that I'll use for years.
Another site I highly recommend is www.digitalscrapbookplace.com. They have many freebies, page kits, embellishments, etc. as well as thousands of page kits and embellishments you can purchase and download directly to your computer. You can also scan the papers you may already have and actually change the colors on the computer. On Photoshop Elements, there is an "eyedropper" tool that allows you to choose a color in one of your pictures and duplicate it exactly on other parts of your layout.
The beauty of digital scrapbooking is that once the layout is done, it can be shared as often as you want with family and friends, rather than the one copy you end up with if you do traditional scrapbooking. It is something that can be done at your leisure with really no cost involved.
I recently switched to "digi," as the digital scrapbooking world calls itself, and I will never look back. I am so glad I did.
The best place to start is to purchase software that will enable you to create digital layouts. The industry standard is Adobe Photoshop Elements 6. If you go on the Adobe website, it will allow you to download and test a 30-day trial before purchasing so you can really figure out if digi is for you. The next step is to find a tutorial. I found that Shabby Princess is a great site, and it provides at video tutorial at www.theshabbyshoppe.com. Shabby Princess also offers several free digital kits, complete with embellishments at www.shabbyprincess.com.
There are so many designers and would-be designers that offer free kits on the Internet that you might not ever need to buy kits!
Heather in Nampa, ID
There are many websites that you can download digital kits, such as www.digitalscrapbooking.com or www.3scrapateers.com. These websites generally use Adobe Photoshop (CS3 is the latest edition) or Photoshop Elements. These programs also have their own tutorials and you can buy books that teach you how to use the programs.
Jennifer in Nebraska
To learn about digital scrapbooking, just Google it! Here are some sites I found that will help you for free. They will even give you downloadable software and tips on how to use it. Enjoy!
Good for beginners:
About.com always has great "how to" information as well. Visit http://scrapbooking.about.com/od/digitaltutorials/Digital_Scrapbooking_Tutorials.htm.
And www.scrapbookingtop50.com/ lists the top 50 digital scrapbooking sites with easy click links already set up for you! Have fun!
People who buy Macintosh computers have all the software they need. There is cataloging and sharing software all rolled into iPhoto and all the other applications that come with iLife. Still, I bet even PCs have some software that comes with those too. I get a lot more out of my digital photos by using them as changing desktop backgrounds, screensavers, and burning to CDs or DVDs to play on TVs with DVD players. Most Internet providers include free space that can be used to post slideshows of photos, which you can share with family and friends. Also, if you have a lot of people to share them with, you can start a "Group" in Yahoo, Google or many other sites. It is free. You just need to register and invite all your friends to join the Group. When one person posts a message, it goes to the whole group. Makes it easier than having to try and remember everyone's email addresses.
Linda, Tri-Cities, WA
I also found that online or digital scrapbooking was more efficient, cost effective and still provided the same amount of fun! Best Buy has a bargain computer software section that carries Scrapbook Plus software by IdeaSoft. It's usually $10 or less and sometimes they have the "buy two and get one free" deal with the software. I am currently using this software. Also, if you want professional looking scrapbooks, I recommend Kodak Gallery or MyPublisher. If you have a membership to a warehouse club such as Costco or Sam's, see what offers you can get through them. You can access MyPublisher through the Costco website and save a lot of money on the photobooks. They are beautiful and I have them on my coffee table at home where they get a lot of compliments. Plus, they are very thin! They take up very little space and give the same effect.
With four kids, it isn't easy to find the time or space to do IRL (In Real Life) scrapbooking. Also, I have a fear of kids running with scissors, so digital scrapbooking is something I'm learning. I have found free and inexpensive sources for the newfound hobby. For editing your pictures, there is www.fotoflexor.com, where you don't have to download any software and it is free. You do all the editing online. What's nice is that if you already have a photo album uploaded on a social networking site, more than likely, you can immediately access those photos with Fotoflexor. If you are new to editing digital photos, they also have online tutorials for the tools their program provides.
For digital scrapbooking, I've switched to 8x11 layouts for when I print at home. I use a free program download from www.scrapbookflair.com that provides landscape layouts. They have templates and digital embellishments and it's easy to use. Finally, for last minute or "I need a fast-fix" for digital scrapbooking, I use the CVS photocenter. You can upload your pictures online and pick up a ready-made scrapbook from their store. The next time you need to make a prescription run, you can take a CD with you, use their terminal and have a book ready in 20 minutes. For a 6x8 scrapbook with 10 pages, it is about $15. Have fun with the new hobby!
C.M. in Los Angeles, CA
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