1. Use 2 or 3 main colors in your page layouts. I try to look to my photos for inspiration. Who or what do you want to emphasize? Use colors that draw attention to the most important subject in your photos.
2. Pick 1 or 2 photos to “highlight” on your page. Leave those photos a bigger size or double mat them. This gives your page focus and it makes it so much easier when you realize you don’t have to mat or double mat every picture.
3. Use simple shapes for your pictures. I use my trimmer, corner rounder and oval and circle cutting system to do all my cropping. They are fast and easy and the shapes look clean and neat. Every once in a while I cut my pictures into shapes. Don’t know what to do with all your stencils? Just trace the shapes onto your page for a fun “box” to journal in!
4. Try to think of your layouts as 2 page spreads. Even when your subjects change on each page you can “tie them together” by using a similar color scheme or technique. Even if you use completely different colors or decorations sometimes placing them the same way (like a border) gives the spread continuity.
5. Sticker Art! Don’t just randomly place your stickers on a page; use them as a group, a border or as an enhancement to your title or journaling. Don’t feel like you have to use all the stickers on a strip – sometimes one or two is all you need. It is also fun to mix different sticker designs. You can draw “doodles” around your stickers to better integrate them into your page design. One of the easiest ways to become a “sticker artist” is to use border rulers and fine tip pens with your stickers.
6. Miscellaneous pages – sometimes there isn’t a theme like Easter or School and you just have a lot of different pictures you want to include in your album. Think of a way to group them together by using a layout or title idea. Maybe a “favorite people” page or “What do I like to do” page. Even humorous pages like “I need to learn to take better pictures” or “the many faces of …”
7. Alphabet stickers – These are great for titles or making a phrase jump out on your page, especially if you don’t have perfect handwriting! You can also just use one letter at the beginning of a word or sentence and then handwrite the rest.
8. Patterned Paper – less is more. Busy papers can detract from your pictures but they can be a fun way to enhance your theme. If you use a busy print to mat your pictures – mat them on a plain color first to give them contrast. You can use patterned paper in small amounts like triangles in the corners of the page or even as a border so it doesn’t overwhelm my page.
9. Make theme albums. I keep chronological albums for my children but most of my other pictures go into theme type albums. You can keep an album for your husband’s camping, fishing and scouting pictures. Pictures from sporting events go into my “sports mission” book. You can have a family Christmas album with just a page or two from each Christmas. This is a great album to have sitting out for guests to look at during their holiday visits. You can use your leftover pictures to make gift albums for grandparents, aunts & uncles, tribute albums or learning books for my kids (abc’s etc). Don’t feel limited to keeping chronological albums. Also, if you take a big vacation – you may need an entire album for the pictures. I use the 12×12 size for my children’s albums and those that I know I will have a lot of pictures for. The 8.5 x 11 and 5×7 albums are great for gifts or for smaller theme albums.
10. Try something new! Look through the idea books and magazines. There are SO MANY good ideas that are easy to duplicate or adapt to your own theme. It is easy to get in a “rut” and start doing the same thing on each page. Try tilting a picture, putting a border in a different place or overlapping pictures.