Friday, December 15

How to Make a Digital Scrapbook

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How to make a digital scrapbook

This age of affordable and readily available digital camera has spurred new interest in the photographic medium and with their light weight and easy to use ‘point and shoot’ functions these camera can be carried in handbags or pockets everywhere for that spontaneous candid picture and capturing special moments and memories for posterity.

Memory cards and hard drives are overflowing with wonderful images of lives and interests but what’s the use in heavy storage if we never air out those images?

Choosing your best and favourite pictures and collecting them in a scrapbook serves as a tangible memory bank that can be shared and revisited by friends and family.

There are several options when considering digital scrapbooking:

  1. The Traditional – stick in pictures scrapbook

  2. A photo book where the images are part of the glossy pages and designed and ordered online.

  3. An online photo gallery that hosts your images for repeated viewing on the world wide web

  4. CD or DVD compilation, easy storage and compatible viewing with your computer or T.V.

Firstly let’s talk a little about the advantages of the digital format over conventional film negatives.

The higher the mega pixilation of your camera, the more detail is saved of your scene, however with photo editing software even poor quality prints can be enlivened and improved.  For such projects picnic.com is highly recommended; it is free online, easy to use software with the option of upgrading for a very reasonable price to gain access to premium services but this is really only necessary if your main subject area is portraiture or you want to display your captures professionally.

Picnik permits you to decrease the exposure for those sunny day shots, punch up the colour, dodge or burn the highlights or shadows, add toning in any colour including black and white and sepia and even add in stickers or special effects such as neon, infra-red, night vision or flipping the image to its negative.  You can also make collages of similarly themed photographs and tweak and perfect to your heart’s content.

Adobe Photoshop is obviously the most famous software available but is very expensive to purchase however there is a free, open source application download called, GIMP that has many of the Photoshop properties.

With GIMP you can add layers to your pictures; select certain areas and graft them onto a different background or even add text to comment on your shots.  For a quality scrapbook it is recommended that you save quality prints.  Put the images you want to use in a new folder on your desktop but right clicking and selecting ‘new’.

Now you have your touched up images let’s move on to printing and storing them.

  1. Traditional scrapbooks – You can pick up cheap photo paper and printers from almost all stores, even your local supermarket.  Go to your folder on your computer desktop and print off the images you want to keep.  The standard photograph size is 6” by 4” and you can print on glossy, pearl or matt paper and even add a border.  Online photo processing orders for a large batch of images is often cheaper when you consider the cost of ink cartridges.  Sites such as snapfish, Kodak or Jessops chare about 10p per photograph and deliver them to your door.

Once you have your choices you can glue them into a scrapbook though using triangular photo corners is perhaps more advisable as they don’t damage the print. 

As for the scrapbook it’s self you can be as creative as you please, designing certain pages for birthdays or holidays or special events.  There is a wide variety of crafting card available boasting different patterns and designs that can match your themes. 

As well as your images and text you can add all sorts of adornments such as ribbon, fabric swatches, buttons, beads, glitter or manufactured card making tags, stencils and cut outs.  You can buy ink stamps with lots of different motifs and paper cutters of multifarious designs.  Cut up pretty background card from old birthday/Christmas cards or add dried flowers or small mementos from the day like ticket stubs or festival bracelets. 

Many people then put their finished pages into clear, plastic sheets and clip them into a specially decorated folder.

  1. Photo books – must websites and stores that provide image processing now also offer photo books.  These are personalised books that are published with your photos and to your own design, often choosing from a variety of templates.  Kodak offers this service from about twenty pounds and this includes twenty double sided pages.  Their online system allows you complete control of background templates and where your images are placed as well as allowing you to add text and description.

  1. With most of the populace now computer literate and having instant internet access exhibiting your images online will reach thousands and is easier than ever before.  There are many free photo sharing sites available such as flickr, photobucket and jalbum where you simply click on the ‘add photos’ button and select the image file you wish to upload to the site where you have your own personal profile. 

Online social networking as become very popular and most of these chat and communication sites allow you to compose your own albums or even just add a single picture to a comment or message.  Facebook, myspace, bebo etc all encourage this.

  1. The longer you live the more ‘stuff’ you accumulate and the more clutter is generated that demands storage space so a good way of documenting your photographs is to get them saved onto disk.  You can do this yourself by buying blank writable CDs or DVDs and copying the selected shots onto them or, again, all big photographic shops can burn your pictures onto CD or DVD for you.  You can even get old film negatives and slides put onto to DVD now and liven it up with background music, making your own movie slideshow.

With all these resources at our fingertips digital scrapbooking has taken on a new life and is achievable for even the most anti-technological being.

Soon you will have all those precious memories at your fingertips ready to share and gaze at with nostalgia and fondness.  Bring your memories to life today.

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