How many photos did you shoot on your last vacation? I asked this on Twitter and answers ranged from 93 to 500, and all the way up to 1,800!
With all those photos as options, what is the maximum amount of pictures you’ll feel comfortable using in one scrapbook project for that vacation?
Will you do one scrapbook page? A vacation album? A mini book? Basic photo pocket pages?
Here are a few things you can do right now to help you with that often overwhelming decision:
- Pick out your favorite must-use photos before you decide on your scrapbooking format. Count the number of photos.
- Of those favorites, identify the photos that would make great focal point photos and need to stand alone on their own page
- Decide which ones you would feel comfortable cropping into smaller sizes. How small could they be and still look good?
You should now have a solid idea of which of those format options will work best for your needs (scrapbook page, mini book, etc). Of those remaining options, you can just choose the one that sounds like the most fun! The hard part is that first step of whittling a large group of photos down to a manageable, usable amount. Instead of asking, “Which ones can I do without,” I usually ask . . .
Which are the ones that best tell the story?
There is something about that question that helps me identify photos I most want to work with, and still feel okay about not including the others in my scrapbooks. Of the 114 photos I took on our recent trip to San Diego, I chose fourteen pictures in one quick sitting, thirteen of which I shared on my personal blog here and here.
What makes one photo stand out over another? Here are some of the characteristics you can look for when choosing which to print for your next scrapbook project:
Makes you pause
It doesn’t matter if the picture is technically great or not — if it catches my attention in a different way from the others, if I get a little feeling in my heart, if I catch my breath when I see it, even for just a second, or find myself wanting to gaze at the picture longer than the others, then it’s usually going to land on my scrapbook project.
You might say that any picture of someone smiling is showing an emotion. But a posed smile is not the same as a genuine belly-laugh smile — genuine emotion prompted, not by a camera, but by life itself.
Captures a quirk or demonstrates a personality
Aiden’s shorts kept falling down and he spent most of the beach time with his hand trying to hold them up. I love having this subtle but humorous capture . . .
Has energy and movement
There’s just something about those legs, mid-walk to the water, along with the excited faces, that made me love this photo.
Makes a statement
Posed shots are not my favorite but there’s no denying, my daughter Trinity is photogenic. Her confidence, the boogie board, plus the lines of her body intersecting with the ocean line all add up to one strong, confident statement. It makes you stop and look. And that just feels good.
Shows a relationship
In this picture, Izzy is showing the kids how to catch a wave with their boards. I love pictures of two people doing something together.
Gives a different perspective
It makes for great variety when you have one good shot that either comes in close or zooms way out to show the setting.
Captures the action that is happening
Again, these types of shots are great for genuine, un-posed story-telling. They’re also more interesting because of their energy.
Tells the missing parts
Let’s face it: if we only use our favorite photos, much of the story will be missing. Sometimes the only shot I have of a person that was present at the event is not a great one. Once I’ve chosen the photos I love, I sometimes add one or two that are lower on my love-list, because I need them to complete the story. I don’t have an example of that kind from this particular trip, but you know what I’m talking about, right?
Putting Your Finger On It
While you’re getting used to assessing WHY certain photos grab your heart, another more general guideline is to pay attention when you find yourself saying, “There’s something about the way she . . .” or “There’s just something about his . . . “ In other words, learn to notice the feeling that signals a photo is better than most, and with some analysis and learned skills, you may eventually learn to identify the reasons and get those great shots more often!