Getting Started

You might be asking yourself, what is digital scrapbooking and how do I get started?

Digital Scrapbooking is a lot like paper scrapbooking, but instead of the laundry list of supplies required for paper scrapbooking, all you need is a computer, software, some family photos, and a few high quality scrapbook kits (optional: scanner/printer). Digital Scrapbooking is all about preserving memories in a creative way that your family will be able to treasure, for years to come.

dlrsfkI love to share my passion for preserving memories through the art of digital scrapbooking and I am honored that you have chosen me to help guide you. To help get you started I am going to provide you with two FREE Getting Started Scrapbook Kits and a FREE page template. I’m also going to give you step-by-step instructions so that by the time you finish reading this page (provided you follow along), you will have completed your first digital scrapbook layout.  Just click on the images in this post to be directed to my store where you can purchase the products absolutely FREE!!

Unlike its traditional counterpart, you can get started with digital scrapbooking with very little up-front cost, or even free. There are a lot of high quality free digital scrapbook kits out there. You can also find free software and more than likely you already have a computer. So how can you get started?

First things first, you need to choose a graphics editing program that will allow you to work with layers. I recommend Photoshop Elements, which you can get mlrsfkhere for $99.99 (on sale until 9/5 for 59.99). You can also try it for free for 30 days. Photoshop Elements is very feature rich and will give you the most freedom and flexibility when creating your layouts. The learning curve is not as steep as the full featured Photoshop, but still very powerful. Another popular software program is Paintshop Pro. It has a lot of the same functionality as Photoshop Elements but is a little easier on the wallet at $79.99, the Ultimate version has a few more features and cost the same as Photoshop Elements. You can also download a free 30 day trial here. One great solution for beginners is MyMemories Suite, which will set you back about $40.00 but is very easy to use and comes complete with a solution to manage your photos and the multiple scrapbook kits you will inevitably acquire.

If you are interested in a free software solution, there are a few available. One popular choice among digital scrapbookers is GIMP, which you can download here.  Another solution worth mentioning is Paint.net, which is basically a souped up version on Microsoft paint. You can download it for free here.

Questions to ask yourself when deciding on a software solution are:

What is my skill level?
How much flexibility do I want in creating my layouts?
How much money am I willing to spend?

Once you have chosen and installed a software program and downloaded your free digital scrapbook page kit (and optional template), you are ready to get started.

These tutorials are going to be taught using Photoshop, but it can be adapted to any software program. I will be outlining two tutorials, the first will be How to Create a Layout From Scratch and the second is How to Create a Layout Using a Page Template, which you can download here.

How to Create a Layout From Scratch

First choose your photo(s) as this will be the focus of your layout.  For this layout I am going to be using one
photo,but you can always use more, if you desire.  I am going to be using my FREE Daddy’s Little Rockstar Kit (free download linked above, click corresponding photo).  The photo I am using is of my youngest daughter, just after her first birthday.                                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>DSC_0024

You’ll have to figure out what works best for you in terms of workflow.  I like to open the folder on my computer that houses the kit I am wanting to use and choose all my papers and elements (you can use CTRL + Click to pick and choose the items you want) and then drag them into photoshop all at once.  This method doesn’t work for everyone, some people prefer to start with the background paper and add the photo to it and then pick and choose additional papers and elements one by one.  There is no wrong way to do it and you can always change your mind so don’t be afraid to play until your heart is content.layers palatte

My biggest piece of advice is that you rename each of your layer files as you drag them over to your chosen background paper so that you know where each object is.  It will save you lots of frustration.  Here is what my layers palette looks like after I dragged all my various elements to my background paper.  Remember you aren’t committed to anything, you can always add or remove layers as you see fit.

TIP: Holding SHIFT as you drag on drop onto your background paper will center them item, on the background.  

tutlayoutNext I am going to arrange the layers on my background, you can change the layer order by clicking and dragging layers in the layers palette.  These are very basic instructions but you can find more in-depth tutorials doing a simple google search.  Just type what you want to do + the program, i.e. layer order photoshop tutorial.  Here is a link to my results.

This is my finished layout.  Watch the video below to see how I got there.

How to Create a Layout Using a Template

To create a layout using a template you first need a template.  You can click on the image to your left to download a
free template, which is the same one that I am using in the video tutorial below.  Using a template is very simple, all you need to do is freetemplate_IzzieBelladrag the papers and photos into the template and place them above the layer you would like them to become.  Then press CTRL+ALT+G or right click and select create clipping mask.  You have a lot of freedom and flexibility with templates, but the basic layout is there.  You can add things and take things away and even rotate it for an entirely different look.  The template featured here is a very simple one, but there are so many great options both free and that you can purchase.  Enjoy!