Friday, March 20, 2009

How to Start Digital Scrapbooking for Beginners

My friend Bonnie K. asked a few beginner questions on Facebook. I've been receiving lots of beginner questions lately so I thought I'd share.

How do I start if I wanted to?

  1. You need a software program that will open PDF's, jpegs, and png files for the most basic tasks. You will be able to print out those files to add to a card or scrapbook page, however you will not be able to do actual scrapbooking. A program example would be Word.
  2. For actual scrapbooking, you need a software program for editing such as Photoshop Elements or ACDSee Photo Editor. Photoshop Elements is around $100-130 and ACDSee PE is about $45. These two programs are perfect for someone who just wants to scrapbook digital or hybrid. A free program that allows you to scrap online with their digital elements is (and they also have premium kits you buy and use only within their system. Photoshop Elements and ACDSEE Photo Editor allow you to use any kit you purchase or find for free).
  3. If you are a professional photographer and/or someone wishing to create a digital scrapbook kit from scratch, then you need the Photoshop Creative Suite which is quite an investment. (I prefer to use what others create, and so I love Photoshop Elements and I also have ACDSee Photo Editor).

To organize your kits, you can use the organizer in Photoshop Elements. I prefer to skip the Organizer in Photoshop Elements myself, because it is slow. I purchased ACDSee Photo Manager 10 (this is separate from ACDSee Photo Editor). ACDSee Photo Manager does not slow down your computer and allows for organization through tagging. I don't know how I scrapped before without ACDSee Photo Manager. I am not sure if it is available for Mac, however if you are on a Mac, then just use the free Organizer that comes with Elements.

How does it all work when you purchase a digi kit?
In your emailed invoice, there will be a link to a download link. You download the kit to your desktop. Scan it with anti-virus software. Then you need to unzip it with unzip software. I unzip it to the desktop, then I move the digital kit to the folder I want to store it. Then, while I have it in front of me, I tag it within my organizer so that I can find it fast and easy when it is time to scrap. (I also send the zipped file to the recycle bin after the folder is moved to where I want to store it. You do not need the zipped file any more.)

How do I use/access these files to make fun pages?
I suggest that you do not download a ton of freebies because soon you will run out of memory on your computer. When that time comes, the best thing is to purchase an external hard drive to store your photos and digital kits on. It is important to back-up your files on a weekly basis in case of a crash. Back-up onto DVD's or a second external hard drive.

It is just like accessing digital photos, they remain in the folder that you assigned them to.

Once you make all these cool layouts using digi elements, then what? how are your pages enjoyed?
  • I have a standard size printer and print my pages at 8"x8" which is a great size album that fits on any size shelf. You could also have them printed full-size 12x12 at shutterfly, polka dot potato or
  • You could have them printed in a photo book through a service such as shutterfly
  • You can incorporate them into hybrid pages

Do you make cds for people with all the layouts on them?

No, I do not. I would recommend DVD's or CD's depending how many you want to fit on a disk.



BonnieRose said...

thks for answering these questions Julie.. great!!! I guess first step is if I wanna dive in.. is to get some sort of software program that will work on my Mac? can anyone else suggest something?? thks, bonnierose

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Joy said...

Glad you have been stopping by to pick up my month papers! :) I like your tutorials here! Nice work!

Katie said...

I enjoyed looking around your blog, I started with my first digital kit last night, and am now trying to learn what to do with it. Great site with a lot of ideas and I hope you keep posting or at least leave it up so we can refer to your archives. There's a ton of good info in there.

kixvix said...

Great info here!


Lori said...

Great tutorials - thanks!

Digital Art Photography for Dummies said...

Really great tips here. I'm just starting to scrapbook and it's very helpful. Thanks.

If you need help with photos my book is

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Jans said...

I use HP's scrapbooking software. I have no idea if it is available to the general public or not. It was given to me as a gift from HP a few years ago. It has all the elements of a full photo editing software plus you can move the photos or clip art all over the place and at any angle you choose. Comes with a whole bunch of themes too.

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Anonymous said...

Great tips. I list lots of ways to use your images including processing directions for Elements in my book

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Lisa - the Multitasking Momma said...

What a great post for beginner digiscrappers. I started with Photoshop Elements quite a few years ago and found a lot of great free digi kits available - I quickly ran out of hard drive storage. :) Have you heard of Heritage Makers and what they offer in a one-stop-shop style? I found them a few years ago and do all my creating and printing through them. I would highly recommend them, especially for beginners as you don't need to purchase design software or digi kits - they're included in your online account which works for both pc and mac users. I would love to hear your review, if you have some time to check it out.

Rich said...

Great info for beginners and scrapbook page ideas

soggystamper said...

Thanks for the great article. Digital scrapbooking can be rather intimidating to a newbe.
Sue aka The Soggy Stamper

Falconbridge said...

Any ideas on a printer? I got a new computer Win 7 and now need new scanner and printer. I will probably get HP scanjet G4050 because I have many slides and negatives to scan. I loved my HP Deskjet 882C, and am looking for another great printer.

Julie Ann Shahin said...

I use an HP Photosmart D5460 because it uses the High Yield cartridges.
Here are some reviews:


Hope this helps a bit,
Julie Ann Shahin

Sarah said...

Great advice for beginning digital scrapbooking. I've been using the GIMP software. It's free and is almost as good as Photoshop.

start a scrapbooking business said...

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Kathy said...


Got my start with digital scrapbooking way back in the 90s with PowerPoint and have since graduated to PaingShop Pro. Wanted to pass on though that Microsoft Photo Editor and Open Office Suite (includes a photo editor) are both FREE and work wonderfully for beginning with digital scrapbooking.


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