Scrapbooking Goes Digital

From album design software to videos, organizing your family photos on computer can be easy and fun.

Every December, I snap dozens of photos of my kids chatting with Santa and opening presents on Christmas morning. Then in January, I download those photos onto my computer, fully intending to print and arrange the best pics of the season into an album.

But often, my family’s memories remain in pixelated limbo. I love traditional scrapbooking, but don’t have time to design pages. Yet without journaling and stories, our photographs seem incomplete.

Photo Album Design Software

Now, photo album design software makes digital scrapbooking a snap. Just download a software program, then choose page backgrounds and designs. Once you click and drag photos into page layouts, select a font, and type favorite details, you can upload your pages, and you’ll receive a professionally bound photo album in the mail.

Albums can highlight family reunions, vacations, anniversaries, or school events. You can even digitize your children’s artwork, creating a treasured keepsake.

Maria Tarver has long enjoyed traditional scrapbooking. But she recently created her first digital album. It was a memento of a family trip to the American Girl store in Chicago that  she made for her mother. Tarver designed the album using Storybook Creator Plus software from Creative Memories. “The digital version gave me more creative control because I wasn’t limited to what’s available in the store,” says Tarver, who lives in Germantown. “If I wanted to change the color of polka dots on a layout, I could do it.”

Digital scrapbooking offered a more efficient process with less mess and set up time. “With everything on the computer, I could pick up where I left off if I was interrupted,” she says.

Video Scrapbooks

If you love the look of scrapbooks but want to preserve memories in a format for computer or television viewing, try video scrapbooks. It’s a glossy, high-tech approach to memory preservation that combines background design and cute embellishments with video clips, animation, voiceovers, and music.

Sheila Masterson designs custom video scrapbooks through her business MasterTouch. One vacation-themed project featured video of kids splashing in a lake, upbeat music, and sound effects of birds and waves. She blends selections from her library of children’s nursery songs with video of a grandparent reading a bedtime story or a baby experimenting with her first words.

“I love building memories for clients, and want to make people laugh and feel emotion for their families,” she said. “Memories are something you can always go back to.”

Masterson works on a Mac computer using Keynote presentation software from Apple. She learned to combine Keynote, and iLife applications including iMovie and GarageBand, with a variety of sources found on the Internet, such as clip art and iTunes.

She meets with her clients to discuss photo group order, music preferen-ces, pertinent subject information, and special occasion details. She will also scan and restore photos. Her packages feature songs and photos with video clip inclusion as an additional option. 

If you’d rather do it yourself, try Memory Mixer scrapbooking software from Lasting Impressions. According to the company’s website, the software blends photos, video, narration, and music.

Apple computers also have do-it-yourself DVD applications preloaded. The iLife suite includes iMovie, GarageBand, and iPhoto. Masterson says, “The iDVD program is user-friendly and you can build your movie very easily.”

For photo albums, iPhoto is handy for quick projects but won’t offer many customization options, said Masterson. She gives high ratings for “quality and thickness of the paper” with iPhoto albums.             

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