Sharing Your Scrapbook Pages Digitally

Taking pictures of your pages with your digital camera is the quickest and easiest way to share them with friends and loved ones who live far away. Many scrapbook page contests and layout galleries online require you to save digital images of your pages so you can email them for entry. Digital photos are perfect for this. You can also use this technique to save a digital copy of your pages in case of disaster such as fire or flood. Some tips will help you take the very best photos so that they can be digitally cropped to look just like the real things.

Tip #1: Use bright, indirect lighting. The best lighting for taking pictures of scrapbook pages is actually sunlight. The sun will allow the true colors of the page and pictures on the page to show up in the photo. My preference is to simply lay my pages flat on the front, concrete stoop on a sunny day to take digital photos of them. If you have a “true-light” lamp, you may be able to set-up a small photo studio at home to create a nice bright lighting situation for your photos.

Tip #2: Turn off your flash. Any direct, bright lights will cause glare from the photographs and embellishments on the scrapbook page. Also, be careful that lamps and overhead lights in the room are not showing glare on the page.

Tip #3: Line up the page squarely in your view finder. Many pages that are submitted for Technique Challenges or Layout Galleries have been taken at an angle. If I try to crop the photo of the page to remove the background there will be no way to get a nice square page. You have two choices to help you line up your shot: 1) Put the page on the floor and stand directly above it, shooting down; or 2) Prop the page upright using a page stand, books, or music stand.

Tip #4: Leave some room for cropping later. You don’t want to take the shot only to realize when you start working with it that you cut off a small amount on one edge of the page. The easiest way to get a great picture of your page is to go ahead and leave some space around the page when you take the shot. You can crop this background later with your photo editing software.

The Finished Layout: Once cropped the photo now looks like the picture of the scrapbook page. With a little practice, you will find that you almost never need to “scan and stitch” images of your scrapbook pages ever again.

Saving Your Images:

If you are submitting layouts to a website or contest via email, 72 dpi resolution and about 600×600 pixels in size will be good enough. This will also keep your file size under control for emailing. Be sure to read submission requirements in the contest rules to find out how large they would like the images to be.

If you plan to print your images, you will want to save them at a higher resolution. 300 dpi is usually sufficient to get a very nice print made from the pictures. If you want to print 12″x12″ copies of the pages you might want to look into a Large Format Printer.

Storing Digital Images for Back-up Copies:

If you plan to use digital images of your pages as a disaster back-up copy, be sure to burn them to CD’s and store them somewhere other than the place where you store your albums. In the technique world, this is referred to as off-site back-up storage. You may want to ask a relative to keep them for you, or store them in your safe-deposit box.