February 18, 2011

Digital scrapbooking & photo books. They're still scrapbooking!

When I started scrapbooking, almost everyone I knew used traditional film cameras. We took our handfuls of film rolls to Costco and got "double prints" for sharing with family and friends. We always had a stack of photos ready to be scrapbooked.

Then digital cameras edged their way into the mainstream. People expressed fear that scrapbooking production would slump because "nobody develops their photos anymore. They just keep them on their hard drives." That turned out not to be true. Yes, we have drives full of photos, but getting them OFF the computer and into our hands turned out to be easier and cheaper than ever, with easy to use in-store and online developing programs. (the problem with digital is the sheer volume of photos to choose from. Indecisiveness is the productivity killer -- not accessiblity)

And THEN digital scrapbooking started to emerge. Digital elements and kits were FREE! and CHEAP! and you could use them over and over again. Who would ever buy paper and stickers when they could digi scrap for practically FREE??? Turns out that dire prediction wasn't accurate either. Guess what...some of us don't want to use the same digi elements over and over. Some of us like to play with paper and stickers and glue. Some of us are very "hands on" and need to see it in all its layers and dimensions. And then there's the perpetual "undo button"...again with the indecisiveness. It's those unlimited options that are killing productivity.

Funny thing about digital scrapbooking...a certain cross-section of digital scrapbookers pooh-poohs the old fashioned paper scrapbooking, yet have you noticed that digital scrapbook elements are designed to look like virtual elements. Alot of effort goes into making digi scrapbooking look "realistic." Paper scrapbooking won't go away because if it did, digi scrapbooking lose it's source of inspiration.

Digital scrapbooking isn't FREE either. Those FREE digi elements of yore were just teasers...any digi designers worth their salt don't give their work away for free anymore. And if you want to hold that finished layout in your hands, you're going to need to print it. Printing traditional 12x12 isn't cheap. Neither are photo books. And you really do need to invest in a speedy laptop with lots of memory.

Ahh, yes. Photobooks. Promoted by some as the non-scrapbooker's scrapbook. Call it what you want, but if you're preserving and sharing your memories and photos in a book...it's a scrapbook. Doomsayers predicted that photo books would spell the end of traditional scrapbooking. And they were wrong...again. Photobooks are an ideal way for scrapookers to share their traditional layouts with more people! Upload copies of your paper layouts and use them as the pages of a photo book. I think photo books are a great way to make scrapbooks as gifts for friends and family who wouldn't appreciate the creative effort that goes into a scrapbook layout. And if you've checked out some photobook programs, you've noticed that many design options are made to look like traditional scrapbook pages.

People who love scrapbooking in the traditional sense will continue to scrapbook that way. Some of us can't get enough of paper and stickers and ribbon and glue. Those that have made the transiton to digital have done it for whatever reason(s) that they didn't like paper scrapbooking. And that's ok! If it weren't for digital, they might have stopped scrapbooking altogether. And that would be sad.

I'm not against digital scrapbooking. I'm not against photo books. What I am FOR is anything that promotes the preserving and sharing of photos and memories. You can call it something other than "scrapbooking" if that word is to quaint or kitschy.

Lain Ehmann at Layout A Day has more to say about this!

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