Magazine Article


Add Scrapbooking Effects to Your Portraits
Tap Into the Popular Look for Incremental Revenue

Artia Kit and Angelhair ArtiStrokes Kit by Lie Fhung

Grow Kit and DelicateDeia Kit by Lie Fhung
Gisele Wright

Linda Sattgast

Simply Recreation by Michelle Shefveland
Rob Friedman

Statistics show that one in five households in the United States has a family member who does scrapbooking as a hobby. In some parts of the country the number is even higher—one in four households. So it’s safe to say that many of your clients are already involved with scrapbooking.

Wouldn’t it be nice to offer these clients an incentive to purchase a higher value photo package by offering one with a scrapbook look?

Creating a Scrapbook Flavor

Let’s explore some of the themes being used today in scrapbooking then discuss how you might apply them to portraiture.

• Paper Layers

Scrapbookers use multiple layers of paper to cover the background of their scrapbook pages, mat their photos, and achieve a creative look. The paper may be patterned or solid and is often textured. Vellum, a semi-transparent paper, is also very popular. To give their pages a “shabby chic” appearance, they will often tear the edge of a piece of paper.

As you can see by the example (right), you can achieve a layered or torn look digitally. I got most of the paper for these examples from online designers; the rest I created myself in Adobe Photoshop.

• Distressed Look

Scrapbookers like to sand, ink, chalk, and otherwise distress their papers and photos. In fact, a “grunge” look is in. You can achieve this look digitally with a variety of brushes in Photoshop and you can also purchase digitally distressed paper.

• Tags & Embellishments

Just about anything can make it onto a scrapbook page (far right). Tags, ribbons (above), fiber, charms, photo corners, and paper clips are available in digital form online. Or create them yourself with a good photo editing program.

• Overlays & Word Art

Achieve an overlay look by placing type or a design element in a single color, usually black, above the photo or scrapbook page. Word art is type used in any way to enhance your page design.

Adding the name and date (left) is one area where you may see a lot of interest. Scrapbookers almost always include the date on their pages and tell who is in the photograph. I wish that the studio portraits of my children taken throughout their childhood had dates on them.

Getting Started

Once you decide to give this a try, you’ll need a photo editing program and the skill to use it. I use and recommend Adobe Photoshop, the gold standard software for photographers and designers.

If you’re using someone else’s templates, you can try using Photoshop Elements, which is similar in many respects to Adobe Photoshop but quite a bit less expensive.

If you plan to make templates yourself, however, I would spring for the full version of Photoshop because you’ll have more control over some of the finer points. Creating a scrapbook studio template requires different skills than touching up a photograph. If you need additional training, see the list of resources, below.

It would be easier if you could simply purchase templates with a commercial license to reproduce them. When I was at the Photo Marketing Association convention last March, the question I heard most often was, “Where can I find templates?” As designers see the need, I’m sure more artwork will become available, but right now your best bet is to inquire about commercial rights from designers of digital scrapbooking “kits” that can be purchased online.

These kits come with a set of papers and embellishments that were created to be mixed and matched together. Sometimes they come with a 12”x12” page template, where all you do is add the photos and journaling.

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