Scrapbooking: How to turn your photos into stories

Note: You may remember Carole Asselin, from Creation Cassel and Scrapbook Campus, who told you about the importance of scrapbooking when sharing your photos. Now, she’s taking it a step further by showing you how to create a scrapbook image. 

Whether you are a professional photographer looking for a way to showcase your stunning photos, or a parent capturing images of daily family events, you probably want to look at ways to turn those photos into something special, just the way they deserve to be displayed. That is what scrapbooking is all about. It can be minimal or it can be intricate. It is your call but remember the story you want to share.

When you start your scrapbooking project, you can either create everything from scratch, or look for digital supplies that will match or complement your photo. Creating every paper and element is possible but if you want to complete your project a little faster, using premade supplies is the way to go. I found a kit that revolved around a beach theme and had colors similar to some elements of the photo so I will be using a kit I found in my stash called Beat the Heat (this kit is no longer available as far as I know). It will be a great match for this photo. Follow along with these steps to create your scrapbook page:

1) Lay the foundation image 1

The foundation of a traditional digital scrapbook layout is to start with a 3600×3600 pixels blank canvas at 300 pixels per inch resolution. This resolution is what will give a better result when a scrapbooking project is printed.

2) Choose paper

I will then choose one base paper to copy and paste onto this blank canvas, or I could also drag the papers from the tray to the layer palette (if using PSPX6). I could have opted for a neutral color and add accents later but I preferred the colourful papers instead but that is just a personal preference. Remember that while doing digital projects with Paintshop Pro, you can always change your mind, which is a great advantage over traditional paper scrapbooking. Here, I picked two colourful papers that I layered. I resized the top one by 90% so it looks like it is framed by the back paper.

3) Add photo

Let’s add the photo. I am using only one photo. If I had several similar photos taken at the same time, I could have used more and group them or line them up. Depending on the photo, you might want to use your Pick tool to resize it down. Remember that resizing up is NOT recommended as it will lead to a pixellated image. I tend to like a clean style so I will keep my photo straight, instead of rotating it. Also, remember the rule of thirds when you choose where to place your photo (you knew about that in photo composition, right?).

4) Decorate Image 3

This page is already looking better than just a plain black background with a single photo on it, don’t you think? But I can still add a few decorative elements. In this kit, I see there is a beach ball that will go well with this photo. I am really lucky that this kit also included an element that can be used as a perfect title. Although you might not need a title for every single layout you make, it is a fun summary for a story.

5) Tell a story

Journaling is the rest of the story. It can include dates, names, location or anything that might have happened before, during or after the event captured by the photo. It might be added as individual elements or woven into a text. You probably heard that a photo is worth a thousand words, but it does not always tell the story. YOU have to write it. I wrote the text in a common font since I want to make it easy to read later. The name, date and location are simply placed beside the photo in a vertical orientation, just for the fun of it. Sometimes, kits will include tags that can also be used to add those specific details. Again, it is a matter of preferences.

6) Make it stand out Image 4

Although this page is already fun to look and tells a story, it is still a flat looking project. That is because I have not added any shadow. Shadows are essential in a digital project, if you want to create the look of a dimensional layout. All the elements in a page need a shadow but they will not require the exact same settings: flat elements like papers and photos, will need a small shadow, with little blur, while thicker objects like buttons, will require a larger shadow with more blur.

Since our beach ball would not be full size in a traditional layout, we can cheat a little and do a little compromise in the shadow settings to create a 3D shadow instead of a flat one, like for the other elements. How different does it look with the shadows? Notice that the text does not have any shadow, and that is expected since the ink is pretty flat on the paper and has no thickness. If you are to use an element that has a shadow, you have to be careful to use it so the shadow is in the right direction, which means that you cannot flip it, mirror it or rotate it if it causes the shadow to end up differently from all your other shadows.

Finally, I decided to add a little bit of brush work around the photo. To add brush work on the edge of the photo, I selected the photo with the Magic Wand and added a new raster layer. Then, using the Brush Variance palette (F11), I adjusted the settings to have variations in size, rotation and density. Using one of the grungy brushes from PSPX6, I drew inside the selected area and it created a frame that looks like it is part of the photo (while it is a separate layer so I can tweak it if needed).

And now, you see my completed layout. Creating a layout is always a work of art, a personal story to tell, and memories to share. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Some scrappers prefer to use lots of photos, some like to add clusters of elements, some will use huge photos, while others will have fun blending photos into the background for a totally different look.

The recipe is still simple: papers, photos, embellishments, journaling, title, shadows and optional details. That’s it! You just layer the elements, move them where you want, re-size them as needed, and you have something to be proud to show off. How will you showcase your photos?

For more ideas and examples of scrapbooking projects, visit the Scrapbook Campus.

About Carole Asselin

Carole is a French Canadian who was born in Montreal but has lived in New Brunswick with her husband for almost 30 years. She has been an avid PaintShop Pro user for 10 years and has taught digital scrapbooking online and in-person to hundreds of users. Over the years, she has written hundreds of tutorials and since opening the Scrapbook Campus two years ago, she has converted the plain written tutorials into multimedia ones, including videos and detailed guidebooks. When time allows, Carole also likes to create scrapbook pages but is more interested by the technical aspect of digital scrapbooking.
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