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Purpose: To demonstrate a new approach to scrapbooking that is simple, inexpensive and beautiful.

At Mrs. Grossman's our approach to creating photo albums is from a point of simplicity and communication. We have a few simple guidelines:

1. Your photos are the stars.

  • Everything else on the page should enhance and support the photos, not overwhelm them.


  • Start by taking good pictures. Be aware of your background. Use your zoom lens for close-ups and pay attention to composition. Improve your skills by taking classes. Some photo stores and junior colleges offer classes.
  • Cropping is useful, but you don’t have to crop every photo. Or, to put it another way, crop before you shoot.
  • Take advantage of the many possibilities with enlargements, reductions and color correction.
  • Use only your best photos. You are telling a story, not just recording data. Extras can be stored in an envelope or packet.
  • Think “album” when you shoot. Maybe do a sequence of your son arriving for a game, getting dressed, tying his shoes, on the bench, with the coach, in play, tired/victorious and dirty. Lay out the page like a film.

2. Tell the story.
Journaling is the co-star. Designing the story is an important component of scrapbooking. The cast and the setting are important to document, but think of all the delightful comments you can add to make the story colorful. In a baby album the name, weight and length rank right up there with the baby’s name, but what about the day of the week the baby was born?

3. Add color to your story.
Your album will be more striking if you have a color plan. For instance, if you're creating pages from an Alaska trip you might want to do greens, blues and some browns. For Hawaii blues and primaries. For the desert sage green, sand and terra cotta. While the album should have a unifying color scheme, take accent colors from the photos. 4. Dress your story.
Choose your art materials carefully. Remember, they are meant to enhance, not overwhelm. Stickers, die cuts, thread, ribbon and string should all follow the color scheme. Colored and lightly textured papers can add interest.

5. Packaging is everything.

There are many wonderful album choices out there, and this in one of your most important decisions. Size, color, material, binding, white or black pages- exciting opportunities! Don’t cheat yourself by putting all this effort and cost into a cheap album.
Small albums are delightful to use. Highlight an anniversary, sports season, or a new baby (for grandparents), a Thank you for a wonderful weekend visit or a memento for each member of the wedding party. Create a recipe book with photos from a kitchen wedding shower (guests bring their favorite recipes on provided cards). Your pet should have an album. A wonderful collection of small albums can start a great conversation. Small albums are quick and a lot of fun.

Let’s get started.

We have our album, photos, pens, papers, mounting adhesives, cutting tools and art materials. Now we need to plan. Having all your materials together will make the project go quickly, frustration-free. Create a title page. It can be simple or complex, but it is the important beginning. Next, plan the pages by placing the photos loosely on pages. Do some need to be enlarged? Put a post-it on the page and one on the photo with the enlargement percentage. Choose your art materials and spread them out where you can see the whole array.

I need space! Can’t you hear your pictures yelling at you? As you plan your pages don’t be afraid of negative space (the part of the page with nothing on it). Negative space guides the eye to the focal point. What is the focal point? The picture. Good-you got it. Leave plenty of negative space and don’t be tempted to scatter stickers and other decorations all over that important space. There are many ways to position pictures: we recommend choosing a few different layouts and alternating them through the album. This sets a rhythm. Consider “tiling” (the pictures are placed right next to each other), lined up across the page, enlarged, random, vignetted (cut around the edges) or just placed in a way that is pleasing to the eye.

Once the pictures are arranged (not fastened) think about your journaling. We recommend your own hand, even if you don’t like it. It’s personal. It has value. And your grandchildren will have a valuable “piece” of you. We have many ways to journal ( and you probably have more). We like to use a matching piece of paper (taken from the back of the album). Write your message, then cut it (maybe with fancy scissors) and position on the page. You might want to mount it on a slightly larger piece of color-coordinated paper or border it with a Design Line. Attach your panel to the page with a coordinated sticker, or tuck it into a colored or vellum envelope. Or just write carefully on the page, using a penciled guide line to be erased later.

And some other ideas:
Write a single line across the page or spread, maybe at an angle. Or down an edge, or very close to one side of the photo. Use a colored or lead pencil for a soft look.

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