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Getting Started

The thought of scrapbooking a lifetime of photos can be overwhelming, and it is difficult to know where to start. However, taking the steps to organize your photos will create a valuable legacy for you and your family. Choosing Your Scrapbook Theme

Start by carefully organizing all of your photos. Choose a theme or a date to start with for your scrapbook. A birthday, wedding, new birth in the family or the beginning of the new year are all good theme ideas. The theme of your photos will help determine the style of your album as well as the style of your pages. Start With Now

Once you have taken the steps to carefully organize your photos by theme or year, you should start by choosing photos in the present rather than starting way back at the beginning. Your current photos will be the easiest to find and transfer to an album, and it won’t leave you feeling like you’re always one step behind. It can also be inspiring to see your most recent photos nicely placed in an album – and it may give you the motivation to quickly finish past years. Choosing Your Scrapbook

Traditionally, rather narrow definitions have been given to photo albums and scrapbooks. Scrapbooks have been considered books with blank sheets of paper, to which you attach your photos using a form of adhesive. The pages are often embellished using stickers, memorabilia, and other graphics. Photo albums, on the other hand, have usually contained plastic pages with pre-made pockets designed to hold your photographs.

With the photo accessories available at Archiver’s, however, the delineation between the two has blurred, because now you can do just about anything with what used to be considered a blank scrapbook page. Scrapbooks can be anything from very elegant and simple to elaborate and ornate. At Archiver’s the selection of product is limitless to help you create exactly what you are looking for. In choosing your scrapbook there are a few important things to consider:

* Photo-Safe Products – Some albums are made with plastics called PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) that emit gasses and can cause photo deterioration. Adhesives used to manufacture albums or to mount photographs can also be a problem. Check to make sure that any product you use is both acid and lignin free.
* Size – Many scrapbookers work with either an 8 1/2 x 11 or a 12 x 12 scrapbook simply because decorative papers in these sizes are the easiest to find.
* Expandability – Most scrapbooks, but not all, are made to be able to fit additional refill pages if you want to expand your scrapbook. However, some are not expandable and it would be disappointing to get to the end of your album with pictures from a special trip that need to be put in another book because you have run out of room – so check first!
* Page Protectors – Page protectors protect your entire scrapbook page (along with your photos) from fingerprints and accidental spills. Some scrapbooks come with page protectors included, others are sold separately, and some do not have page protectors at all. Be sure you are aware of what is available for the album you are purchasing. The important thing is to protect the creative work you have put together if you will have a lot of people or especially, children looking at your albums.

Constructing Your Page Photo Selection

When beginning to construct your scrapbook page layout choose photos that you would like to put together on 1-2 pages. Consider being selective when choosing photos for your layouts. There are no rules that say every photo taken needs to be included in a scrapbook. If some photos are blurry, badly lit, or very similar to another, consider leaving them out, giving them to friends or family, or letting children scrapbook them. Cropping

Many pictures taken have space around the focus of the picture that can be disposed of. By cropping (cutting) your photos down into different shapes, you are able to include more photos on a page, as well as being able to accentuate the subject of the photo more clearly. There are various tools available to aid in cutting shapes or straight lines. However, don’t cut everything! Especially things that have meaning or may be of historical value at some point, or an original print that you don't have negatives for. Matting

Simply matting a photo onto a complementary color card stock can add volumes to the look of your scrapbook page. When choosing a paper color be sure that is accentuates and complements the colors already found within your pictures. While complementary colors can add to the page, non-complementary colors will detract from your photos. Along these same lines, if you choose to use patterned paper, be sure that the pattern isn’t so busy that it detracts from the main focus of your page - your pictures. Page Layout

Once you are comfortable with how you have cropped your pictures and have the color paper picked out to accentuate them, play with the layout of your photos on the pages. Remember to think about the following: Balance

Think of your page as a scale; you don’t want one side to be heavier than the other. Focus

Think about what photo you might want to be your focus and highlight it with a special frame or double mat. Space For Writing

As recording the events of the day through words will be as important as telling the story with pictures, be sure to leave ample space for writing in your layout process. At the very least include the who, what, where and when of your photos. Consider also telling other stories the photos don’t capture. Adhesives

Although the adhesive you use in your scrapbook is not seen in the final product, it is as important as all the other steps in creating your scrapbook page. Just as acid in paper can hurt your photos, acid in adhesives will have the same adverse effects. There are a multitude of adhesives available to scrapbookers and everyone prefers something different. The trick is experimenting to find the type you are most comfortable with. However avoid using wet adhesives directly on your photos. Journaling

Journaling will be one of the most important steps in creating your scrapbook. It is the area where you are able to record your thoughts and reflections about the events you are scrapbooking, as well as the special memories you may not have been able to capture with your camera. Since journaling is where you are able to tell the story about your photos, you will want your words to last as long as your photographs. To ensure this longevity, the pens you use in your scrapbook should have the following qualities:

* Pigment or permanent ink
* Acid-free
* Lightfast
* Waterproof
* Fade Proof
* Non- Bleeding