Friday, January 22, 2010
Event Scrapping Made Easier
The two pages above are some of my favorite from the last year. They highlight pictures taken at a family reunion with my husband's side of the family. I love seeing the kids playing with their cousins and remembering the good time we spent with everyone there.
Most scrappers I know have definite feelings about event layouts. These are the pages like the ones above --- they highlight birthdays, family reunions, get-togethers or trips, holiday parties, weddings or other religious celebrations, bridal or baby showers, and so on. When I broach topic of event scrapping, some of my friends and peers cringe at the thought of it, and there are those who avoid it all together. Other folks really like pages on the important gatherings or milestones, but don't know how to create pages they like without going crazy.
I can understand where the frustration comes in. When we are snapping photos at a party or doing group pictures after church, they often have to be taken on the spot with almost no preparation. Time constraints, poor lighting, lack of an interesting backdrop, squirmy subjects and other variables often get in the way of getting that "perfect shot."
I love posed pictures, and believe they have their place. However, the candids taken at get-togethers and celebrations are some of the ones I look at and love the most. I recently glanced through a mini-album I did of family vacation a few years back. I burst out laughing at pictures of my younger brother and me,the goofy faces we were making, and the silly antics that resulted while we were supposed to be stacking firewood (the photo on the lower page is the one I'm referring to):
I had a little epiphany of sorts when I realized that if I chose not to scrap these photos because they weren't "perfect," the richness of my life wouldn't captured in my pages. I would miss the silly grins, the impromptu games, special moments during meals, and all of the other great things I captured on camera without planning ahead. These very imperfect, non-posed pictures often taken in crappy lighting conditions have turned out to be some of my favorites.
Now, of course, I'd like to become a better photographer, and have all of my photos look better overall, but in the meantime, there is a way to work with the imperfect ones I want to scrap.
I decided to tackle a set of my own event photos that have been dogging me ever since we adopted the kids. I have a set of about 70 or so photos from one of the baby showers (or, I guess it would be more apt to term it a "family shower", since we got four kids at once) that was held in our honor. A couple of ladies from my church group threw my family a wonderful shower on a hot evening in July. Honestly, on that day, I was so stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted that I didn't get the shots that I usually do when there's a party. I didn't get any photos of the food or gift tables, and in fact, I took no pictures at all. Trace took some, and there were also multiple frames snapped by party guests who were helping us out, since we were trying to keep track of the kids and open gifts at the same time.
The outdoor lighting was hard to work around. We either had bright, bright sunlight, or we had dark shade created from the umbrellas and canopies that were set up to keep everyone cool. The kids were so overstimulated and wired that most of our pictures of them show them wandering the yard. All of the snapshots of me are either from the back or side.
Even with all these factors in the mix, I was thankful that so many moments were captured from that wonderful evening. I knew that a cute scrapbook page could come together if I gave it a try. Here's the end result (click on the layout to see a bigger view of it):
These are the steps I took to get this page done without getting overwhelmed:
1 - Narrow things down. First thing I always do when I'm staring down a large group of pictures is get rid of the ones that are not salvageable. If the powers of Photoshop cannot transform them, then they have to go. The ones that are too dark, incredibly overexposed, or taken by mistake get the ax. From there, I chose the ones that were my favorites, and then went with those that could be cropped down to show people, objects, or something else that helped tell the story I wanted to convey.
2 - Use photo editing software to make improvements. Because of the lighting problems I mentioned earlier, most of the pictures needed some sort of small fix. In Photoshop Elements, I either adjusted the brightness of the photos, pushed the color if it was too blue, too green, etc. And, in a couple of cases, I also added a warming filter to improve they way they looked.
3 - Crop and group photos. I used part of a digital template to provide a framework for the photos. Anytime I feel daunted by a page, I pick a template and work the rest of my page around it. I then popped the pictures into the photo masks to force them into the spaces I wanted them in. See this entry on using templates if you want to learn how they work.
4 - Keep paper and embellishments simple. With so many photos, I wanted them to take center stage, but I also didn't want the page to be just about snapshots and all white space. I used a few well chosen embellishments and two coordinating papers. It gives my page a unified and fun look without being too busy.
5 - Do at least some journaling. I personally never have trouble writing on my pages (I struggle with cutting out some of my journaling instead of coming up with it). However, if writing isn't your thing, just jot down the basic facts so that you'll remember why the event meant so much to you.
So, now that you've read my take on event pages, what do you think? Do you like event pages or loathe them? Have you scrapped any lately?
Thanks again for stopping in...:)