Archive for the ‘Digital Scrapbooking: General Info’ Category
(Warning up front: This is a long post, so if you want to jump to the meat of it – comparing three digital hardbound book printers – click here!)
This is definitely one of my favorite things about digital scrapbooking: Printing all of my layouts together in a hardbound, coffee-table-quality book. I actually just recently received my third hardbound book, and I was giddy with excitement when the UPS man dropped it at my doorstep!
Getting your finished layouts from screen to scrapbook is easier than you might think. It’s simply a matter of organizing all of those finished layouts in a way that makes sense for an album, then uploading those photos like you would any other photo to an online photo developer who offers photo book printing.
For me, organizing my layouts for a hardbound book means I need a beginning and an end for my layouts, and because I don’t generally scrapbook my “everyday” layouts in chronological order, the best topics for hardbound books tend to be theme albums. My three hardbound books include a memorial album for my grandmother, a wedding album and a vacation album. Each had a definite beginning and end, and I knew when I was done scrapping these topics. (This is unlike my normal albums; for example, I still might go back and do a page from my son’s first year, even though he’s now 9 years old, just because the mood strikes.)
It’s easiest for me to organize my layouts before I try to create an album online. This means combining all of my JPGs for the album into one folder on my computer, then naming each file, starting with the number corresponding with the page I want the layout to occupy in the book. (Don’t forget to name the low-end numbers with zeroes in front to keep pages in alpha-numerical order. So, for that first layout of the book, name it something like “01 – cover.” Otherwise, your files will be ordered with page 1 right before page 11, page 2 right before 22 and so on.) This way, your layouts will be organized in your folder in numerical order, so you can see exactly how they will fall in your printed book. If you scrapbook in two-page spreads, you’ll want to chart out your layouts on paper so you know your two-page layouts won’t get separated into two separate spreads.
So, for the wedding album I did, I might chart something like this:
|Page Number||File Name|
|Cover||01 – cover.jpg|
|Pages 2-3 (spread)||02-03 – title and introduction.jpg|
|Pages 4 -5 (spread)||04-05 – bride and groom formal.jpg|
|Page 6||06 – invitation.jpg|
|Page 7||07 – location.jpg|
The added benefit to this numerical file-naming is that when you upload your layouts into your photo book printer’s online software, they will load in the order you want them to be placed in the book, so you avoid fishing through all of your layouts to get them in order at that time. And at the time when you’re uploading everything, you’re just ready to be done, so anything that makes it faster at that point is worth it, right?
Choosing an online printer
One of the benefits of digital scrapbooking (and the simpler, even more popular photobooking) becoming more popular over time is that there are now several options for choosing a company to print your photo book/digital scrapbook. When I started digital scrapbooking in 2006, I only knew of a couple of printers that offered hardbound, coffee-table-style books for digital layouts. Now the options are much greater, but taking the time to decide who will do the best job for your special project can be a little overwhelming.
But it pays to do your research.
My experience has been that you get what you pay for. I’ll share my specific experiences with three different printers, but keep in mind that these are simply one consumer’s experiences. Take my advice with a grain of salt, and know that not everyone will experience the same challenges. Also keep in mind that I printed these three books over a period of time that spans several years, and things change (often for the better) over time.
Here are the three companies I used and my opinions about each.
I printed my first book with Heritage Makers in 2006. They did an awesome job. The page thickness and color accuracy were high-quality. I paid about $75 for an 80-page, 12×12 book. (Note, though, that when I recently looked into printing from them again, the price had increased quite a bit.) They didn’t offer a custom spine at the time, but I believe they do now. It was a little bit cumbersome (OK, a bit of a pain) to have to make contact with and order my product through a consultant before I could do anything online, but that would be my only complaint. All in all, I loved this book, and it has held up nicely over time. I would recommend this printer to friends without hesitation.
OK, this is where I hesitate a bit. I printed with Blurb in 2007, I believe (or early 2008 at latest). I printed a small book, 7×7, and I have to say that I was a little disappointed in the quality. The color, specifically the reds, was not quite right, leaving some pages oddly tinted, which was sometimes most noticeable on tan faces. At the time, Blurb did not offer a custom cover, so I ordered a custom dust jacket on their standard album. The dust jacket was not folded on center, so the spine text was not centered on the spine, and the cover images were not centered. There were several small globs of glue on the back cover that were not noticeable when the dust jacket is in place, but when the cover is removed to make looking at the book less clumsy, are rather noticeable. The pages are a little thinner and seem to be bound a little less sturdily than Heritage Makers’ product (a look at the top of the album shows that the pages were cut at an odd angle), and the images inside were not super-crisp, either. The price was hard or impossible to beat (just about $35, I think, for a 74-page album), but I was left a little disappointed in the end. I will say, however, that I believe they now offer a custom cover, and I imagine that over time their color issues have improved. However, I have been nervous to try this printer again. (If you have used Blurb for a photo book/digital scrapbook and have had a better experience, please leave a comment below so we can share that with everyone!)
The most recent book I did was through Shutterfly. I chose a padded cover for a 12×12 book that had 100 pages, and I absolutely love the feel of the padding. The book feels substantial and very high-quality. The pages are super-thick, and the quality of the color and pages is overall very high-quality. I will say that if you design your own pages in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (rather than use Shutterfly’s page-design software), you might choose to turn off the aut0-correct color feature. Mine had a dark gray, lightly patterned background on all pages that turned out black in the final product as a result of the color-correction process. The price of the book was a bit expensive ($120-ish, on sale), but then, when I was researching printing this time around, price hikes were across the board. Shutterfly’s sale brought its prices down to one of the most reasonable of the printers I had researched. (I’ll share more info about that research in another post soon.)
While I was very happy with the overall quality of my book through Shutterfly, I will say that I had two big issues with the printing. First, the title on the spine was truncated. So, while the title was supposed to be “Colorado 2010: A family vacation,” all that printed was “Colorado 2010: A famil.” And page 15 was blank, even though there was definitely a page uploaded and placed in the original layout online. I double-checked my online proof, and both of these issues turned out to be Shutterfly’s mistakes. After a call to customer service, though, I am happy to report that they are reprinting the books for free. I had ordered two copies – one as a gift and one for myself – and they are printing and shipping both at no cost. So in the end, I’m a happy camper, even though I will be waiting for a “good” copy for some time.
From top: Blurb, Heritage Makers, Shutterfly
From top: Blurb, Heritage Makers, Shutterfly
And that’s a wrap!
That’s an overview. I could talk about this all day, but I imagine my wordiness has led some people to move on by now! Just wanted to share my experiences. I would love to hear if you have printed hardbound books yourself and what your experiences have been like. We can all learn from each others’ experiences, and hopefully we will be more prepared to make educated choices for our next album printings!
Oh, and watch for a post in the near future detailing my research (page counts, costs, options, etc.) on several photo book printers!
If you’re fairly new to the world of digital scrapbooking, you might be wondering what your options are for getting your scrapbook layout from your screen to your scrapbooks. There are several options for doing this, and in my mind, having multiple, flexible options is one of the best things about scrapping digitally.
Options for displaying your finished layouts include:
- printing them as individual pages (through services like Scrapbook Pictures or Persnickety Prints) and storing them in scrapbook albums (like these from Creative Memories or any number of albums available at stores like Archivers or your local scrapbook store – if you’re lucky enough to have one!)
- printing them as hardbound books (through a service like Heritage Makers, Blurb, Snapfish or Shutterfly)
- printing them and putting them on display in frames (like these)
I will cover each of these options in a short series of blog posts, starting with…
Part 1: Printing as individual pages
Perhaps the easiest way to get your pages from your computer to something you can easily see and enjoy in real life is to print your pages individually and slip them into a regular scrapbook.
Digital scrapbooking kit used in the above layout: Arctic Expedition kit by Katie Pertiet (one of my all-time favorites!)
This is my preferred option — at least for now. As someone who doesn’t typically scrapbook chronologically, I find myself placing orders for about 20 pages at a time, with pages that span several years and subjects. I might never be done with my daughter’s first year, for example, but I want to be able to see and enjoy those pages that I do complete soon after I complete them on screen. If I waited until I had enough pages finished to make a full book – and until I knew I would never want to go back and scrapbook something I missed in that same time frame – I might be 90 before I printed these pages!
I also occasionally scrapbook in paper rather than digitally (although my paper-scrapping days are admittedly fewer and farther between as each year passes), and printing my pages as individual pages allows me to mix digital pages with paper images in the same album. It’s a beautiful thing!
So for my typical scrapbook albums, printing as individual pages is my preference. Quickly viewable. Mix-and-matchable. Flexible. Beautiful!
There are many companies – several of them online – who can print your pages as 12″ x 12″ (and other sizes) photos. If you order online, they will deliver them directly to your house, and you’ll be ready to slip them into your albums in no time. My favorite to use is ScrapbookPictures.com. They do an awesome job! However, I will admit that I have never used any other company, either, so the others might be equally as fabulous. (I guess I just think if there isn’t any reason to switch, why bother.) But I’ll throw out a few options for you just in case.
Printing options (all of these print 12×12, my standard size. Check them out to see if they print a size you are used to using.)
- ScrapbookPictures.com ($1.99 per standard 12″ square print + shipping)
- PersnicketyPrints.com ($1.99 per standard 12″ square print + shipping)
- ScrappingSimply.com ($1.99 per standard 12″ square print + shipping)
- Costco Photo Center ($2.99 per standard 12″ square print + shipping – you might find that this is a better deal only if you can pick up your prints at a store near you)
Certainly, this is not a complete list. You might check with your local Target store, CVS, Walgreens and independently owned photography stores to see if they offer a 12 x 12 option. It seems to be becoming a more popular option. The others listed here are ones that fellow digital scrapbookers I know (or whose blogs I follow) use on a regular basis. So I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the ones above.
While you can also choose to purchase a wide-format inkjet printer (like this one from Epson) and large-format photo paper (which seems to be a little hard to find) and print your own photos, by the time you add the cost of the ink and supplies and consider the hassle of replacing ink, errors when printing, etc., it might be more affordable and certainly more convenient to order from a professional photo printing service like those listed above. The added benefit is that these photo printers print on high-quality photo paper and use a chemical and light process that ensures archival quality (read more about Persnickety’s process, for example). Ink jet prints are printed with ink on paper, which by nature makes them more susceptible to showing age and losing quality over time.
I can’t even begin to get into details about all of the different kinds and brands of scrapbook albums out there! There are just too many to count. If you’re looking for a new one, you can always look online at places like Archivers Annex or Scrapbooks.com.
Honestly, though, you can skip all of that if you ask me! My favorite albums of all time are those made by Creative Memories. The quality is amazing, they are guaranteed for life, and the best part about them is that they lie completely flat when open.
See those nice, flat pages? Ahhh….beautiful!
As you might be aware if you’re a scrapbooker already, many scrapbook albums – particularly the post-bound ones, which seem to be the most popular and offer the most variety in cover design – buckle in the middle near the spine, leaving wide gaps at the top of the book (between the page and the page protector) and folding/arching your pages unnaturally. This makes for awkward page turning, and it also can make the adhesive on paper pages less durable over time and can add undue wear to digital layouts printed on photo paper due to their constantly being arched and unarched while the book is opened and closed over time.
The following photos show what I mean about the buckling/arching of the pages inside their page protectors.
Notice, too, that this book only has 20 layouts (10 page protectors) in it. (And actually, they’re just plain paper at this point; if you add the extra weight of photos and embellishments, the pressure on each page will be even greater.) Plus, if you typically enjoy larger albums with many more pages, the fold at the center and the pressure it puts on the pages by way of arching and humps is even more.
Clearly, flatter is better in this case — both for the safety and longevity of your layouts and for the appearance of the album when you’re looking through it.
Pages and Page Protectors
Creative Memories offers a very high-quality page protector designed for digital pages. If you’re used to CM albums and are familiar with the reinforced edges of the standard pages, you know that those reinforced edges are actually thicker than a printed digital page, making the traditional pages bulkier than needed for digital pages. Also, with the reinforced edges thicker than the layouts filling the rest of the page protectors, if you have a large book of pages, the centers of the pages will sag while the album is lying on a table.
The side-loading 12×12 pages, however, are the perfect solution. They eliminate the need to buy separate page protectors (they include the plastic outer shell and an insert page combined), they eliminate unnecessary bulk by not having a reinforced edge (leaving everything smooth and flat while open), and their overall heavy quality will surely withstand the test of time and many, many page turns. Plus, they load from the spine-side, rather than the top, so no dust will enter your pages/page protectors when your albums are stored on your bookshelves — another drawback to traditional, top-loading albums and pages.
P.S. You can also have your CM albums imprinted with Persona Imprinting. You can have imprinting done on both the cover and spine. Here’s an example of one of our Creative Memories albums with Persona Imprinting.
[If you order Persona Imprinting online and don't already have a Creative Memories consultant, enter Kelly Hampton's name when it asks. (I think there will be two Kelly Hamptons that pop up; my consultant is the one lives in Indianapolis, and she's fabulous!)]
Editor’s note: 11:53 p.m.
Just found out from Kelly that Creative Memories also prints 12×12 pages! Check out their printing service, too! ($3.99 per 12×12 page + shipping)
Why do you scrapbook? Have you asked yourself that lately?
It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking, “I’ll never be caught up with my scrapbooks,” that sometimes it’s also easy to wonder, “so why even try?” I understand. My daughter is 6 years old, and I never finished her first year in her scrapbooks. From ages 2 to 5, my son’s pages are extremely sparse, almost nonexistent. And those are some precious years in a child’s life, for sure. Even when thinking about the present, when my kids are 6 and 9 years old, I can count numerous pages that I want to create, but in reality, only a handful might ever get created. And when I think about the things my friends and extended family do that I would love to document (weddings, graduations, babies, birthdays, even simple relationships), I can easily get down on myself for not “keeping up” or scrapbooking more.
But you know what? It’s OK.
The truth is, I don’t scrapbook for the sake of documenting every single detail of every little thing my kids (or my friends or my family members) do in their lifetimes. That would be nice, sure – and I do scrap those kinds of pages when the feeling strikes – but it’s certainly not realistic. Who has that kind of time? Instead, the primary reason I scrapbook is to document my feelings and capture a brief overview of our lives together. I want my kids to know that their dad and I love them and that we cherish their place in our lives. I want them to know what their personalities are like at different stages in their lives, and I want them to know that no matter who they are, what kind of grades they get or what their gifts and talents are, their family is the most important thing. I also scrapbook to give my kids a deeper understanding of who I am, and I’m hopeful that one day their children and maybe even their grandchildren will enjoy learning a little more about me, even if I’m not physically around to share that with them.
It’s for this reason that I think I am enjoying this book as much as I am. The book (50 Moments: Scrapbook the Pages that Matter Most by Lisa Bearnson) includes a list of 50 meaningful topics for scrapbooking. It’s a handbook of sorts for scrapbooking pages with meaning, pages that will mean the most to one’s children and grandchildren (and even to the scrapper herself!), pages that share an insight into the scrapper – what she loves, what she cherishes, the moments that have defined who she is – in a way that is personal and honest.
The list of topics to scrap includes things like a choice you’ve made that has defined who you are, a secret you have kept about yourself or one you have been a part of keeping, what your work ethic is and why you chose the career you did, what your goals are and how they’ve changed over the years, a wish you have or one that has come true, a time when you took a risk and how it turned out, why you love home and why you love your community, and so much more.
I am reading through this book slowly the first time, trying to take it all in, reading the journaling on the layouts that are given as samples, and enjoying the book as I would any other scrapbook magazine or book. But when I’m finished, I plan to go back and use the book as a checklist of sorts for pages I want to make sure to scrap before my time on this planet is finished. I might even collect all of those layouts in a separate album and, who knows, maybe I’ll print copies of those albums for my kids when they move out of the house some day. (That’s one beauty of digital scrapbooking…simple duplicates!)
I have a feeling this book is going to be one that sits on my nightstand for a long time coming. I’m only a about a third of the way into it, but I can tell it’s going to be one of my favorites of all time.
I hope you take some time to find this book (you can get it here for just $10 today!), read through it and consider scrapbooking some of these moments from your own story. Even if you never share the layouts that come out of it with anyone else, I think it would be a great way to document your feelings and your experiences, maybe even giving you a new glimpse of yourself.
* * * * *
The book’s back cover reads:
Scrapbooking is about sharing who we are with others — our goals, our values, our dreams. But with so many photos to take and so many stories to share, how do you decide where to begin? This book will help you create scrapbook pages that celebrate your life, that paint a picture of who you really are, that pass along family traditions and so much more.
In this book, you’ll discover:
- The 50 most important topics to include in your scrapbook.
- 150 thoughtful prompts and questions for bloggers, journal-keepers, family historians, teachers, writers and more.
- Dozens of inspirational quotes to use on your layouts.
- 150 brand-new scrapbook pages and ideas.
This book is published by Creating Keepsakes/CK Media. And no, they are not paying me to post this! (I wish!)
I am working on my next kit (with a school days theme) and am about ready to work on embellishments. Before I do, I thought I’d take a quick poll and see what people enjoy most in their kits. I’ll use this info to help direct the school days kit. So please share: What types of embellishments do you use most on your pages?
What can you buy for $5 these days? Well, not much, it seems.
Compare what you can buy for $5 in everyday life (think fast food value meal) vs. how far your $5 can go in the digital scrapbook world! Which one has more value? Read more on the newest page in the Digital Scrapbooking menu above (or at right): Digital Scrapbooking: A great value!
If you’ve downloaded my free template (or one from another site) but aren’t 100 percent sure how to use it, check out the newest page in the Digital Scrapbooking menu (above or in the right column): How to Design a Scrapbook Layout Using a Digital Template. Drop me a line in the comments section if you have any questions!
Posted May 7, 2011on:
Happy National Scrapbooking Day to everyone! I hope you find some time to get out the paper and supplies if you’re a paper scrapper or sit down with your laptop or at your desk if you’re a digi-scrapper!
If you don’t have time to scrap, how about taking 15 minutes today to do something scrapbook-related? This is the route I’ll be going, given our day is full of sports (one game down, one to go – except for my husband who has four hours of baseball ahead of him!), and Mother’s Day activities.
Here are five ideas for spending 15 minutes on this worthy hobby of ours!
- Pick up your favorite magazine. Read an article or two, or browse through the pages looking for layouts you want to scraplift or journaling that inspires you. Need some ideas? Try CreatingKeepsakes.com and ScrapbooksEtc.com if you need a place to start.
- Organize some photos. Come on, you know you have some photos that need to be organized, whether in print form or on your computer. How about picking out a few and placing an order for some prints?
- Journal. Have a layout in mind you want to do soon? How about working on the journaling now? You’d have it ready to go the next time you do have time to sit and scrap for awhile. For me, I really need to journal about my kids. I try to do this every six months or so. With Gabe’s birthday earlier this week, I should write a “Gabe at 9″ list. One of these days I’ll get around to scrapping it!
- Browse the Web. There are tons of websites out there that can inspire you! Try your favorite magazine site or your favorite designer’s site if you need a place to start. (Don’t have a favorite designer? Try jessicasprague.com, aliedwards.com, cathyzielske.com and beckyhiggins.com for starters.) Better yet, check out the list of blog sites listed in the right column or in this post to find some of the newest digital scrapbooking product designers!
- Buy something that inspires you! For me, purchasing new product will get me in the mood to scrapbook every time! If you’re a paper scrapper, visit your local scrapbook store or browse around online (try archiversannex.com for starters), or visit the shops of some digital designers for some versatile products! Digital products printed on your home computer can multiply your scrapbook stash without taking up any extra space. Just print when you’re ready to use them! If you’re a digital scrapbooker, there are TONS of sites out there that can get you scrapping in no time. (And for starters, might I suggest you check out this kit right here? It is on sale, after all! )
Whatever you do today, enjoy yourself! And for all of you moms out there, have a very happy Mother’s Day tomorrow!
I am wrapping up a class with JessicaSprague.com called The Art of Digital Design. Through it, I have had the pleasure of interacting with – and learning alongside – a group of talented designers who are also just dipping their toes into the world of digital scrapbooking product design.
Please take a few minutes to visit their blogs. I think you’ll be inspired by their creativity, and you might even find a kit or two to purchase for your own layouts!
(And stay tuned. As more of us get our sites up and going, I’m likely to be adding to this list!)
Art of Digital Design Blog Roll
- Becky Alexander
- Lacey Ring Bittner
- Anissa Burson
- Julie Enriquez
- Corie Farnsley (that’s me!)
- Amber Graham
- Maribeth Graf
- Kim Hackworth
- Pamla Klenczar
- Robin Koza
- Michelle Little Smith
- Dori Melton & Stephanie Costello (Luscious Life Studios)
- Christina Ming
- Brenda Neuberger
- Rosa Nissenbaum
- Diane Smith
- Michelle Little Smith
- Sarah Sullivan
- Nancy West Johnson
- Yvonne Michelle
Keep an eye on these ladies! You might be getting a glimpse of The Next Big Thing in digital scrapbook design!
(And AODD ladies, did I miss you? Please leave a comment, and I’ll be sure to add you, too!)
(Updated 05/14/11: I will continue to keep my AODD blogroll updated, but from now on, I’ll just update the list in the right column, rather than trying to keep both this list and the one at right current. So check out that list at right (My fellow newbie digital designers) for a better list of new scrappers’ sites to check out!)