It can be hard to find the time to compile a scrapbook, but that doesn't mean you don't want to document and preserve your children's early years. Many Circle of Moms members are fans of digital scrapbooking, which offers a fun, shortcut approach that can easily be shared online with friends and family. All you need are basic computer skills and a digital camera. Here’s how to start.
The Best Cameras for Digital Scrapbooking
Most scrapbooks, whether paper or digital, are visually driven, so you'll need a digital camera. Even the most basic will do. A fully automatic point-and-shoot camera with photo resolution of at least 8ppi (eight pixels per inch) will give you high enough quality to print up to 8x10 images. All the major camera brands (Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, etc.) sell cameras that meet these specs for $100 or less. The only real downside here is that these cameras can't stop action; they're best for set shots that won't blur when you press the shutter. If your kids don't like to sit still for a picture, you'll need to invest in a digital single-lens reflex camera, or D-SLR. Your price then shoots up to a minimum of $400.
When you have the camera you need, shoot away! Once you get your images on to your computer, you can begin scrapbooking. You can also include visuals that aren't photographic, such as printed invitations, cards, and event programs, but to do so you'll need to scan these documents and turn them into .jpeg files. Then they can be handled the same way as photographs; you can add color, texture, and alter sizes.
5 Digital Scrapbooking Apps to Consider
Now it's time to choose your scrapbooking software program. Here are the basic questions to consider, and a rundown of the top options available online.
- Do you prefer templates that can't be modified, or would you like full creative control?
- Do you need a program that works with photos and other images only, or do you want to add text?
- How do you want to share your scrapbook with others? Do you need a printing option, or perhaps an online login that allows friends and family to access your scrapbook? Below are some of the most popular options.
- Do you want to be able to work on your scrapbooks offline?
This is a completely free online resource from google that is primarily for collecting photos and sharing them online, or printing. If you need to alter images beyond basic size and shape, you'll need additional software to manipulate your photos. If you just want to collect and share photos straight from your camera, this is a good option. All you need to sign in is a free google account.
At $60, this program is a good value for all the custom options it offers. A big plus is that you can work on your projects offline. Circle of Moms member Christine C. loves their project center, which sparks her creativity when she's not quite sure what she's going for.
This software is a less expensive version of the full Photoshop application. Pluses include an easy-to-navigate interface, with complete creative control over lighting, layering, color, size, and many other custom functions. Jasmine S. loves its versatility for editing images, and she recommends Jessica Sprague's free tutorials for getting started.
Kimberly L. recommends Picaboo for its range of options, which include both templates and custom options. You can print books and share your scrapbooks online. You only pay for what you order, and there are lots of additional custom printables, like cards, posters, and mugs.
Circle of Moms' Child Page
Circle of Moms has its own free tool for capturing milestones, pictures, and funny quotes, and for sharing them with friends and family, either on Facebook or through a private "fan club" that you create through your profile. To try it out, hover over "My & My Children" in the pink navigation bar, and either select the name of one of your kids (if you included them when you registered), or click on "Add a Child Page."
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