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Digital Scrapbooking 101 – Steps 1 & 2

Posted by PatriciaD on November 12, 2009

Digital Scrapbooking 101

Have you considered getting into digital scrapbooking but don’t know how or where to start?

Step 1: Photos

You have basically three choices here for photos.  Either take your photos with a digital camera and download directly from your camera to your computer (by far the easiest and most convenient choice) or take your photos with a film camera and when you have your film developed ask for the photos to be placed on a CD and/or finally you can scan the printed photos.  This latter choice may be your only option for your older photos that are sitting in a box somewhere.  You might also be able to take your old film to your photo developer to have them converted to CD depending on the quality of the film.  (see more on previous post)

Step 2: Software

Your scrapping software must have two basic functions.  It will need to be a layout program and a photo editing program.  Some only do one or the other of these very necessary functions so do not qualify as scrapbooking software.  Whichever program you eventually decide on it must support .png files and support layers.  It must be allow for settings of between 200 – 300 dpi for printing quality layouts and it must be able to create custom shadows.  Photo editing must allow for lighting changes, color changes, and a whole multitude of things like masking, red eye correction, patching and healing.

My personal favorite, by far, is Photoshop (PS) or Photoshop Elements.  The downside of Photoshop is that there is a sharp learning curve but you CAN learn it and once learned you can do just about anything you can imagine.  It is an extremely powerful program.  To decide which of the two programs to get is essentially a fiscal question.  PS Elements is the consumer version of PS which is the professional version.  As I write this PS Elements is usually about $80 (I’ve seen it for as low as $50) or so and PS is around $600 (but I’ve seen it for as little as $360).  That is a huge difference so unless you’re going to be or are a professional there may not be a question of which one.  But the really good news is that you can download a FREE 30-day trial version.

There are other programs but to be perfectly frank I would not suggest most of them.  There are several reasons.  PS Elements is not much if any more expensive than most.  PS or PS Elements is the standard in the industry.  If you were ever to decide to move from PS Elements to PS someday you would already know the basics.  Most of the tutorials you can find on the Internet are for PS and PS Elements.  By the way, Elements 8 just came out and if you buy it from Costco you can get a free tutorial CD from Linda Satgast with it.  Awesome deal!

Having said all that there is a program which I’ve heard is fairly decent, it’s free, but it will not do some things you will find you may want to do eventually.  Google’s Picasa is that program.  I’d rather dish out the eighty bucks for a proven program and one you can grow with.  But that is up to you, obviously.

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