No one knows exactly when scrapbooking started, but it was centuries ago. One of our most famous American scrapbookers was President Thomas Jefferson. He had albums loaded with newspaper clippings about himself and his presidency.
Modern Twist on an Ancient Hobby
With the onset of photo editing software and various software bundled with digital cameras, people can enhance their photos and create attractive pages that mimic regular scrapbook pages. Some of the most popular photo editing software includes Adobe’s Photoshop and Photoshop Elements and the free Gimp by The GIMP Team.
These programs allow you to fix red eye, slightly lighten or darken photos, enhance the colors, and sharpen or blur parts of a photo. Blurring some areas is helpful if you don’t want to show a stranger’s face or don’t appreciate a tacky slogan on someone’s shirt. More sophisticated programs, like Photoshop, allow you to clone — reproduce — certain desirable portions over undesirable portions. I usually use it to remove the proverbial telephone post that seems to commonly grow out of the main subject’s head.
Adobe offers a free trial of their Photoshop programs, but the trials are limited. Watch for sales at electronics stores id you decide to buy the full version of Photoshop.
An Album Is a Series of Pages
When you are pleased with your photographs, you can place them into templates. Just like traditional albums, scrapbook designers offer the digital templates in different sizes, such as 12″ x 12″, 8 1/2″ x 11″, 8″ x 10″, or custom sizes. Many people find the 8 1/2″ x 11″ size easy to use because they can make printouts on their home computer. The same is true for the small 6″ x 9″, which is the size most photo printers produce.
Many Internet sites allow members to use their templates and other tools. Often the sites are free, such as Digital Scrapbook Place, but others charge fees. Most have a few tools that they offer free, but they encourage users to get a paid subscription to get the better products. Some charge only for what a user wants to buy but do not require a yearly fee.
Some companies offer programs for you to download onto your computer. Smilebox is an example of this type of program. You can download the free version or pay more for the deluxe version. They offer thousands of templates.
What Can You Do with Your Digital Albums?
Digital albums on compact discs (CDs) make excellent holiday gifts, especially Christmas and birthday gifts. Once you have made your album, you can make one to one thousand CDs from the same file. Some online or office supply stores will transfer your album to CDs quickly and efficiently. Generally, you upload your file to their site and pay the fees.
Digital scrapbooking albums make excellent wedding gifts. Chronically the bride and groom’s childhood events makes an heirloom gift that they can share with their children. Because the files are digital, they can be copied easily. You cannot copy a traditional album.
Suggestions for Albums
Try making a digital scrapbook of group events, sports events, or other activities. Chronicle a youth group’s year from each meeting to a campout or charity fundraiser. Make a copy for each member. Follow a sports fan from the beginning of his or her sport’s season to the final win (or defeat). Other activities include school year events, church events, and similar endeavors.
Make a couple celebrating “A Year of…”, including a year in a baby’s life from pre-birth pregnancy to blowing out the one candle on the birthday cake. Other cool subjects are a year of farming or ranching, a year of college (including the party times!), and a year of daily walks.
Customize your album to be your special keepsake.