The photos you see in the layout above look better on that page than they did on their own. For a while I didn’t even want to scrap them because they had such a busy background and the colors under the library’s florescent lighting were harsh and uninspiring.
Setting the busy, imperfect photos on solid blue cardstock brought out their better parts. The solid spaces between each photo grounds them so they don’t feel chaotic. The cool dark blue enhances the coloring, bringing out the contrast and countering the yellow tint. They no longer feel like the “bad photos” I once considered them.
I asked members of a 2 Peas In A Bucket forum to share layouts with me that started with imperfect photos and became pages they loved. There were so many responses. Below are nine problems many of us have, along with the scrapbookers’ design solutions. Each sub-title is a link to a layout with the problematic photo it describes. Click on the link to see the layout.
Stephanie chose to focus on the emotion of the photo. You see that in her journaling, but she also did it by eliminating all other details of the photo. She turned it black-and-white and brought her title all the way across to the very place where the emotions show; on the face.
Jessie’s solution was to use her picture for a layout that is introspective. Jessie said that in addition to the photo being tilted, it was also blurry. She took a more artistic approach with the photo to capitalize on its problems. She tore it down the side, “adding more imperfection,” Jessie said. Sometimes an imperfect photo is the perfect story-teller for our unique and imperfect lives.
Christmas photos, in particular, often have this problem. Lara’s situation was worse because she was stuck with a disposable camera one year. She cropped her photos down to their most important parts, allowing her to use a lot of photos without too much busyness.
Aly ran into the same problem with her daughter’s birthday photos. Not only did she crop her pictures down, she also cropped around the birthday girl herself for the focal point photo.
Rachael came in close with embellishments to focus in on the main subject. She also chose colors that went with the journaling of her layout, rather than the location of where her husband was. She used the yellow in his shirt and the blue in the hat and background to tie in the other colors she wanted to use on the layout. The gold-yellow was a great way to work with his clothes without committing to the exact shade of yellow he’s wearing.
Emily’s picture is from her husband’s childhood. It has an orange cast. To compensate for a photo that is too warm, you can usually put it against a cool color to compensate. In this case, Emily’s photo was about pumpkins, so orange was an important color in the layout. Putting the photo against orange would have caused it to practically disappear. Instead of doing that, Emily’s orange lies around the edges of the layout, where as the photo is surrounded by white and a cool shade of blue.
For photos that are too cool, try using a warm tone to counteract it. For a bland photo, use high contrast colors on your layout to bring out contrasting tones in the photo.
Marieke put the emphasis on the child that was in focus and he became the subject of the layout, rather than both him and his sister. She embellished the corner of the photo where the shirt of the blurry child is so that most of the empty space is around the in-focus child, drawing attention to him. Marieke also journaled about the child in-focus. As a result , the blurry part of the photo is incidental to the layout.
Jessie’s picture originally had a beach background, but the most important part of it, her husband, was too dark. She increased the exposure to brighten the her husband’s face and blow-out the background. The now-white background became a place for part of the title and embellishments (but could be used for journaling, as well). She lost the beach background, but gained a great picture of her husband and was free to scrapbook on any subject she wanted.
Photo is ruined beyond the abilities of good design to repair it.
Whether the picture was damaged or the subject in the photo hid from the camera, no picture is beyond scrapbooking if you love it or if it tells a story you love. Sometimes the problem with the picture itself is that story. Here are three examples:
Janet’s layout has a photo where her child had drawn on himself and then held his hand up to the camera as she took his picture.
Theresa told a great story of how her husband kept her photo in his billfold for years before she laid the damaged picture to paper.
Helen’s layout illustrates exactly what her daughter does every time helen pulls out the camera anymore. She ducks.
Every photo that has meaning to you is worth scrapbooking. My layout above is simple and the photos are not my favorite, but I adore the page because it captures a part of my family life that I value and love.
Related Articles And Podcasts:
Can You Make A Layout With Not-So-Great Photos?
Crop A Good Photo Out Of A Bad One
How To Draw Out Color
Use Of Light And Dark
* * *
Our Comfort Zone
Journaling: Library Jan. 2007. One of our family favorite regular hangouts.
Products: Cardstock (Bazzill) * Patterned paper (Scenic Route, Daisy D’s, My Mind’s Eye) * Journal spot (Heidi Swapp for Advantus) * Metal tab (7 Gyspies) Word sticker (7 Gypsies) * Pen (American Crafts) * Other (“comfort zone” cut out of a magazine ad and library book list).