Digital Scrapbooking 101

Curious about digital scrapbooking?
Whether you are already an avid
scrapper' or just getting started
digital scrapbooking is hands down
the best way to preserve and share
your photos and memories! It allows
you create fabulous page layouts
that can enhance your photographs
and memories without the time and
mess involved in traditional scrapbooking.

Step 1: Your Pictures

As with traditional scrapbooking the first step to digital scrapbooking should be your pictures. There are several ways to get your pictures on to your computer. We will briefly discuss three of them: digital cameras, scanners, and your local or online photo lab.

Digital Cameras - If you love taking pictures and sharing them with others a  digital camera is a must have. Digital cameras are the simplest and most convent way of getting your pictures on to your computer.  With new technologies being developed everyday prices on digital cameras have dropped dramatically. These days you can get and good digital camera for between $100 - $300. 

Scanners - A scanner is a good option for the boxes of old photographs up in the closet. A scanner will allow you to take the photos you have already had developed and "copy" them on to your computer. This is a great option for old family photographs of which there is only one copy. You will need to know a little bit about computers to hook one up, or at least have some one around who can help you. Scanner prices have also dropped and can be purchased for between $100 and $200. 

Your Local or Online Photo Lab - This is probably the best option for those of you just getting started, who don't want to invest a lot of money yet. Most camera labs, such as Wal-Mart, can take your regular film, develop your photographs, and also put a copy of them on to a Photo CD or post them Online for you. The cost is usually on a few extra dollars. They can also scan in  your old photographs or negative and do the same thing, but the cost is usually a little more. They can develop both your regular film as well as your digital photographs. They also offer a free online gallery. You can post your completed scrapbooking pages.

Step 2: Photo Editing Software

In order to view your digital pictures and layout your digital pages you will need some sort of  photo editing software. Again, there are several options. When choosing your photo editing software, make sure that it supports layering. The two of the most popular photo editing software available are Adobe Photoshop Elements and Corel Photo Paint. They both offer free trials and depending on the version cost between $50 and $200. To learn how to download the free 30 day trials click here!

Step 3: Laying Out Your Pages

This has got to be one of my favorite steps. Like traditional scrapbooking, you will need background papers, frames, embellishments, etc. That means it is time to go shopping!  There are a wide variety of digital papers and embellishments available to choose from. To check out our collection of starter sets click here. In most cases you can purchase page kits for between $2 and $10. If you are just getting started look for "freebies" to help you get going and see what you can do. 

The most common means of receiving your digital papers and embellishments will be through downloads. In most cases you will click a link that will allow you download a .zip file containing your digital papers and/or embellishments. You will want to create a digital scrapbooking folder to store all of your downloads. Once you have downloaded your files you may have to unzip them. To do this click  the zipped file and in the menu system click "unzip" or "extract". Then you can use your photo editing software to open your elements.

I would recommend opening your background paper, mattes and photographs first. Then you can add your frames and embellishments just as you would in traditional scrapbooking. To add new elements to your page you open the file containing the element you want to add to your page. Then use your lasso tool to cut our the element you desire, copy it (Ctrl+C) and paste it on you page (Ctrl+V) You will then be able to change the size and orientation of your elements to fit perfectly with your page. 

To learn more check out our other tutorials!

Step 4: Sharing

The best part of creating beautiful digital pages would have to be the ability to share them with others. There are many ways to share your digital scrapbooking pages with others. We will briefly discuss several of them: printing, the internet, or multi-media devices.

Printing - Most new home office color printers will do a fine job printing our your digital scrapbooking pages. Though they won't be able to print out your full sized 12 x 12 pages they can be used to do 8 1/2 x 11 or smaller mini book pages, which are very popular.  If you will be buying a new printer choose one that specializes in photo quality printing. You can also choose to have you pages professionally printed. There are a wide variety of services available online.

The Internet - The internet can be used in a wide varieties of ways to share and store your digital photo's. Most Internet service providers offer your a small amount of web space for free. This can be used to share your digital photo's online. There are also a wide variety of commercial site that will post you pictures in there gallery for free or a small fee. We hope to be adding a gallery to our site in the near future.

Multi-media - You can take your digital scrapbook and burn it CD. I recommend this step to all digital scrapers to back up your digital files. You might also want to try burning you digital scrapbook in slide show form to DVD. That way any one with a DVD player can view your digital scrapbook. 

These make great Christmas gifts for Grandmas and Grandpas!