Sunday, February 12, 2012

Five Steps for Scrapbooking Heritage Photos

A year ago I was asked about the heritage scrapbook layouts that I'd been sharing in scrapbooking forums and galleries. Comments and questions touched on what to do with too many photos, what if there were only a few photos in the family, and how to move past the fear of actually using the photos.

Here is an amplified version of my reply.

I have five steps for those of you with too many heritage photos or too few:
  1. scan it
  2. scrap it
  3. research it
  4. talk about it
  5. share it
You know how, when we started scrapbooking, we were afraid to actually use these precious papers. It's the same with heritage photos. We think they need just the perfect layout and we are scared to commit to using them. We are paralyzed by that fear.

When we scan the photos, they lose their power. We can scrap them many times, in many ways. If we have too many photos, we can toss those that are not scrapworthy. With the scanned images, we can even do interesting things with digital manipulation.

The Rest of the Story

If you have too few heritage photos, the last three steps may lead to acquiring scanned photos from cousins and other researchers. You have to work hard to find those connections, but if you truly want to see photos of your ancestors, it is worth your time.

I cannot emphasize enough that scanning photos is the most important step to take. It allows us to preserve photos that may be in bad shape or may be lost to a future disaster. It enables us to quickly share the photos on photo-sharing sites, by email or attached to online family trees. It empowers us to use the photos on our scrapbook pages, whether digital or physical.

Club Scrap Renaissance paper kit, chart from Family Tree Maker 11
One Photo, Used Many Times
One enormous benefit of scanning is being able to reprint and reuse a photo at will. Here is an example of using one photo many times. My paternal grandparents' wedding photo is one of the few photos of them together. The original photo is not even in my possession. By following my five steps, I have a scan of this gorgeous photo that I use as often as I need it.

Club Scrap Journeys paper kit, title cut with Cricut
Club Scrap Memoirs digital kit


  1. Great suggestions and ways to use a photo many times and ways.

  2. Beth you have done a wonderful job! I really like the photo tip.

  3. I really like the examples of the different layouts with the same photo. So many times, it is hard to know where to put a photo in the families. This solves that problem nicely.

  4. Very nice job on your new blog, Beth! You are doing such a wonderful service for generations to come. I've kind of let the geneology bug go for a bit, but intend to pick it up again soon. I'll be referencing your blog when I do.

  5. Yeah, Beth! Need to read the rest after this. Thanks for getting me to go digital & yes I've been loving the ability to re-use photos rather than being limited to duplicate sets of prints. Is it possible for you to add some big arrows on this blog page to point to the two photos you cropped from the big original? I think that would be a helpful addition.