Scrapbooking One-of-a-Kind Photos

In my years of scrapbooking, I've found there are basically two kinds of photographs: Everyday photos and one-of-a-kind photos. I've also found that means there are two ways to approach scrapbooking.

Your everyday photos are the contemporary ones—the birthday parties, trips to the zoo, "scenes from around-the-house" kinds of photos. You might get multiple prints of these photos when you have your film developed, or shoot them with a digital camera so you can print them out whenever you want. These photos are great to scrapbook with creatively because you can always get more prints—after all, you have the negatives.

One-of-a-kind photos are, well, one-of-a-kind. These are the wedding portraits, senior pictures and heritage photographs—basically, those photos that you only have one print of and no negatives.

scrapbook projectOther Places for Photos
One-of-a-kind photos are also the ones I find I want to remove from my scrapbook pages most often. I don't limit my photographs to scrapbook pages. I like to have photos framed and decorating my house; I also like to take heritage photos out of my album to have copies made for a relative or for use in other scrapbooks. The tricky thing is in removing these photos from the scrapbook—as I learned with my wedding album!

The Lesson I Learned
When I first started scrapbooking, I began with my wedding portraits—yes, my one-of-a-kind wedding portraits. I glued (with a glue stick) all my professional photos onto photo mats, then onto the background paper. Years later, when I looked back on my wedding album and decided I wanted to remove the photos and update the pages, I found I had a harder time than I expected. I could pull the photos off the paper with some effort, but removing the strips of paper was a nightmare, and I worried about tearing the actual photo.

What I Discovered
It's easy to go crazy with adhesive—especially when you've just started scrapbooking. You feel, like I did with my wedding album, that you need to apply glue to every inch of that photo. You don't! Here's what I learned: For one-of-a-kind photos, I use photo corners. I put a photo corner on each corner of the photograph, apply adhesive to the back of the photo corners, then mat the photo onto a solid paper. When I want to remove the photo, it comes out very easily. I don't apply adhesive anywhere else on the photo.

Because I put my pages into sheet protectors in my album, if the photo does by chance fall out of the photo corners, it won't fall out of my album.

scrapbook project What If It's Too Late?
Are you trying to pull the paper off the back of those heritage photos? Are you finding lots of leftover glue and torn paper strips? Are you pulling extra-carefully because you're afraid you'll damage the photo? I've been there—and this is what I did: After removing the most of the paper from the photo, I reached for un-du®, an adhesive remover that neutralizes the adhesive. It's non-abrasive and made for photos, so I know it's safe to use. It also comes with it's own removal tool, so I don't have to try to scrape paper away with my fingernail or a razor blade.
Simply apply un-du® to the back of the photo and work the attached "removal tool" under those photo strips. Gently work the tool back and forth, applying the solution as needed. The paper will loosen, then you can simply peel it off.

Can I Color Copy Photos?
You can color copy heritage photos—but not wedding photos, senior pictures or any contemporary photo taken by a professional photographer. (The photographer makes his or her living from these photos, so most copy shops won't make the copy.) The Kodak Picture Maker also scans each photo to see if it's printed on professional paper; if so, it won't make a copy. The safest bet is to order extra prints of professional or portrait shots—they'll never be a waste of money!

scrapbook projectOptions for Heritage Photos
Heritage photos are a different story. I recommend you make color copies of your heritage photos—you might want to frame them or give copies to relatives. I often have heritage photos professionally reprinted and scrapbook the copy instead of the original. Sometimes I scan the photo and print it out on photo paper either using my computer or a Kodak Picture Maker machine (visit Kodak to locate one near you.)

If you like scrapbooking, chances are you also like looking at photos and reminiscing about the memories they evoke. By carefully scrapbooking your one-of-a-kind photos, you can remove them from the album quickly, easily and whenever you please—to share the memories with a friend or relative!

LeNae Gerig is the author of LeNae's Scrapbooking Basics. She's known in scrapbook circles as a "realistic" scrapper because she wants to create great pages quickly and easily. She is the host of and contributes regular monthly columns and layouts. Her most recent idea book is Making Designer Scrapbook Pages, which features LeNae's signature Realistic style alongside the designs of four other scrapbookers.

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