April 20, 2009

Remembering Family Vacations Through Digital Scrapbooking

Sigh. You’re back from your family vacation and faced with unpacking, doing laundry and returning to the daily routine. As your family settles into the daily grind at home, photo collages can help keep the memories of those special family moments from fading.

Creating photo collages not only helps preserve those treasured moments forever … it can also be a fun family project or a creative, therapeutic outlet for self-expression. You may have returned from your trip, but your digital camera’s card can take you back. And making photo collages is one post-vacation activity that can be very enjoyable. Some even look forward to it while they’re still on vacation!

More and more, families today are discovering that the easiest, most innovative and enjoyable way to preserve their vacation memories is through digital photo collages. Many busy families lack the time, space, money, materials and sheer patience to create paper scrapbooks. Plus, in our digital age, we all want to download our digital pictures and share them over e-mail. Photo collages—also known as a digital scrapbook—take photo sharing a step further.

When you consider the user-friendly scrapbook software programs available, the fun graphics, quality printability and ease of sharing electronic photos with friends and loved ones , the booming popularity of the digital scrapbook is no surprise.

Photographing Your Vacation to Optimize Your Digital Scrapbook

You can use a still camera and then scan in your photos later, although a digital camera is most conducive to making photo collages. Be sure you charge your camera’s battery before you go and bring a charger or extra battery, camera bag and at least two camera cards with plenty of shots available.

Today’s scrapbook software programs allow you to choose your backgrounds, collage frames and special effects such as words, scrapbook clipart and collage art. Scrapbook page layouts range from simple drag-and-drop images into a readymade scrapbook template to blank scrapbook layouts you can design from scratch. Either way, collage makers can check out the wide range of options available for photo collages and keep them in mind when looking through the camera lens.

Many vacation destinations feature signs welcoming tourists to the area, and some collage makers photograph these signs to include in their digital scrapbook. Another useful tool is to take a general background shot of an empty beach or other unencumbered scenery to use as the scrapbook background. Small details such as flowers, birds and butterflies can also make pretty accents on your digital scrapbook.

Of course, you’ll want shots of the whole family and individual family members enjoying vacation activities, as well as pictures featuring your family in a setting that reveals a unique aspect of your destination. Often these will comprise the star images of your personalized photo collages to help you look back on your vacation.

How to Make a Collage

Once you’ve returned from your trip and wish to start preserving your vacation memories, keep the following tips in mind as you embark on your digital scrapbook:

  • Create your photo collages while your vacation is still fresh in your mind, if possible.
  • Import your photos onto your computer and keep them organized in a folder.
  • Create a subfolder of your favorite pictures and name it “Digital Scrapbook” or “Photo Collages.”
  • Choose a photo editing program that senses whether each photo should be horizontal or vertical and automatically adjusts it as necessary while importing; this will save you from having to manually rotate all your vertical pictures later.
  • Adjust lighting where possible and delete fuzzy, unflattering, uninteresting, poor-quality and redundant photos.
  • Edit your photos to zoom in on attractive faces and crop out excessive, uninteresting backgrounds. Cropping can also conveniently erase saggy beach bellies and that random tourist’s bald head in the corner.
  • Consider whether your partner or child will approve of their photos before including them in your photo collages and sending them to your friends and extended family. Your family’s digital scrapbook should be shared and enjoyed by all.
  • When choosing your scrapbook layout, keep in mind which photo collages are most apt to be universally favored by your family. A pink, flower-laden background may not appeal to your teenage son for a family photo, although it might make a nice personalized photo collage to print and frame for your daughter’s bedroom wall. Create several scrapbook designs to ensure that each member of your family can appreciate at least one of your photo collages.
  • Choose a scrapbook layout large enough to accommodate the number of photos you wish to feature in one digital scrapbook, and keep in mind that less can be better when choosing accents and scrapbook clipart.

When you feel satisfied with your photo collages and have received the approval of your discerning featured family members, it’s time to share your vacation memories with your friends and family who care to see your digital scrapbook. Be sure to include a description of your vacation destination and date somewhere in the e-mail, such as in the subject line, if you have not included this information in the digital scrapbook itself. And don’t forget to print copies of select photo collages for your parents and others who may not have Internet access.

Now prepare yourself for many compliments on your family vacation photo collages!

Memory Lane is an avid scrapbooker who has written numerous articles about digital scrapbooking. Be sure read her blog about the art of digital scrapbooking at www.artopiaphotocollagemaker.com.

By MEMORY LANE

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