Photo Tips

LeNae’s Scrapbooking 101: Photo Tips for Scrapbook Layouts

For many people, scrapbooking is about getting photos safely into albums where they can be preserved and displayed. For others, it’s all about the creativity of picking out papers, embellishments and journaling. And for most scrapbookers, it’s a combination of the two.

Photos are generally the central focus of a scrapbook page. There are a couple of different tips and techniques for taking better photos specifically for your scrapbook pages—and great photos truly make great layouts.

Quantity of Photos
I usually snap four or five photos of an event or occasion. I try to get a variety, so I don’t end up with five photos that all look the same. I’ll turn the camera so I have both vertical and horizontal photos, I’ll move to get the subject from a different angle and I’ll zoom in to get close-ups (people’s faces, the Thanksgiving turkey, a special ornament on the Christmas tree). This gives me plenty of options when I sit down to scrapbook.

Zoom In!
The biggest tip I give scrapbookers is this: Zoom in on your subject as much as possible. Fill the frame—that way, you won’t end up with a picture showing one person and a lot of background (grass, sand, etc.).

Shoot from Different Angles
Not every photo has to show the subject looking directly at the photo. And with kids, sometimes you have to take what you can get—it’s difficult to pose very young children! But that’s okay. I have great photos of my toddler looking everywhere but at the camera: looking down at the ground, or even walking away. I also love photos of the subject looking off in the distance. It’s like I’ve captured a special moment.

Make Use of Props
Don’t be afraid to use props. If there’s a tree in the backyard, have your subject stand next to it or lean against it. A child can hold a ball, a doll, flower or toy. An item of interest helps to focus the viewer’s eye on the subject.

Taking Vertical Photos
My personal note: I take more vertical photos than horizontal. My subject matter is my child, and people usually photograph better vertically. It eliminates excess background (imagine your child standing in the backyard—do you really need to have all that grass in the photo?). It also doesn’t cut the person off at the waist.

Taking Horizontal Photos
Horizontal photos are best for scenic shots and landscapes (think of the ocean, a mountain range, a garden in bloom, your child playing in the very large mud puddle). Of course, groups of people sometimes can only fit into a horizontal picture—although it’s fun to arrange the subjects with a front row, middle row and back row to create a pyramid effect.

Shooting People and Backgrounds Together
Here’s the situation: you want to take a photo of a person standing in front of a building or specific setting. For example, say you want to take a photo of your child on the first day of school. Here are your options:

  • Place the child is standing in front of the school and take the photo from across the street.
  • Take a close-up of the child standing in front of the school and forget about trying to photograph the whole building too.
  • Or take the child across the street with you—take a close up, focused shot of the child with the school in the background.

In the first example, Mom ends up with a photo of her very small child barely visible in front of a giant building—probably not what she wanted! In the second example, you’ll get a great close-up of your child, which is probably more significant than getting the building in the shot. And with the third option, you get both the child and the school.

This also works well for vacation photos. It’s a bit difficult to take a photo of someone standing at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower—and get both images clearly. Instead, put the building in the background and zoom in on the person.

LeNae’s Film Picks for Scrapbooking Photos
My camera is loaded with Fuji 200 speed film for everyday photos. For events like soccer games and birthday parties, where there’s a lot of movement, I use 400 speed.

LeNae Gerig is the author of LeNae’s Scrapbooking Basics from Hot Off The Press.

FREE project ideas - Join our email list