Choosing Scrapbooking Software

Before you can begin digital
scrapbooking, you must first
choose a photo editing/digital
scrapbooking program to use.
There are a wide variety out
there to choose from so this can
be a bit overwhelming.


To simplify the matter I will break
it down to four main categories.

The first category is online services. Some, like Shutterfly and Smilebooks, focus primarily on printing. While others like Smilebox focus on sharing. Most of these offer ready made templates that you simply add your photos and some journaling to. Designing and sharing are generally free, but you have to pay to print. They are fast and easy, but can be very limiting used on their own.

The next category is basic digital scrapbooking software. This would be programs link Picaboo, Scrapbook Max and Scrapbookflair. They range from being completely free to around $40. In most cases you are able to purchase kits from other sites, such as Free Digital Scrapbooking, and then create your own pages. ( Being a Photoshop user I find these programs particularly frustrating ) They are fairly easy to use, but can seem awkward at times. You can create basic layouts, but don't have the freedom to alter/enhance your photos or elements.

The third category, basic photo editing software, is what I would advise to anyone truly interested in digital scrapbooking. Again there are many choices. The three main programs are Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 , Corel Paint Shop Pro, and a new program called ACDSee. Programs like these cost between $50 and $150, but are well worth the extra cash. Each of these programs offers a free trial. The learning curve is slightly higher, but the freedom to learn and create seems almost endless.

The last category is professional photo editing/design software. This would include programs like Adobe Photoshop CS4 , CorelDRAW, and Illustrator Creative Suite 4. Because of the high price tag, upwards of $1000, I would recommend this type of program for the serious digital scrapbooker or designer. You can professionally edit you photographs and easily design your own papers, embellishments, etc.

To sum it up, when choosing your program think about what you want to accomplish, the time and money you have to invest, and the amount of creative freedom you want and need to express. For most scrappers I would recommend a combination of category one and three.

The best way to find your perfect software is to shop around. Almost every option out there offers a free trial. Finding, downloading and installing these free trials isn't hard. We are happy to provide links and and instructions.

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