colors, quotes and Q&A

Ok, so when's the last time you visited the color and quote page (and archive) at Big Picture Scrapbooking?

I ask simply because it's pretty cool and could potentially provide you with some needed inspiration!
I LOVE it.

So, I'm back with some Q&A for you. As you may or may not know, I've made some adjustments to the way I handle incoming email, which I'm sure you know can be a real time and energy sucker (I love getting email and email is NOT a bad thing necessarily, but as I've paid attention to what takes up my time and what drains my energy there is a direct correlation to the number of messages in my inbox) When there are things you are itching to do and you can't seem to make time for them, you often need to do some eliminating. Luckily I have two partners that totally get me and want to help me and they are — thanks Paula and Kayce! Rather than respond to email questions personally, I'm going to address them on my blog (unless of course someone asks me not to. In these cases, I will respond in private) so, anyway here goes …

Q: I finished Photo Freedom recently and I'm working on taking the plunge into better photo organization – my hangup?  I don’t upload and print photos.  Is this a necessary thing for the tangible ability to flip through the storage binders??  Or couldn’t I use photo tags in my photo organizing computer program that will allow me to ‘virtually label’ my ‘keeper photos’ both chronologically and using ‘category drawer’ labels and THEN print the ones I want to scrapbook when I’m ready?

A: So, this is a really good and important question and a good place for me to say that I will always give you my hard-earned opinion because I want you to know what I have learned through years of trial and error. Obviously, you can and should do your own testing and tweaking of this system until you reach an adaptation that works for you. Ok, here's the deal (hard-earned opinion) YOU CAN'T SCRAPBOOK PHOTOS YOU CAN'T SEE (and touch) If you are a traditional scrapbooker (at least some of the time) I believe you must have a stockpile of printed photos that you can see and review over and over again. Yes, you can see photos on your computer and yes you can print photos when you are ready, BUT (and I think it's a huge but) there is something magical in having printed photos in viewable albums that you can flip through again and again and again. It is in the very act of flipping through binders that these images are seared into your brain so that a subconscious prioritizing can occur. Without really being aware of it, you will, with storage binders in place, scrapbook those memories/pictures that are MOST important or most telling over time. You will in the physical viewing and triaging of your binders make connections that can only be made when you can flip back and forth and pull and sort by category, etc. etc.  As you deplete pictures in these binders there is also a wonderful sense of accomplishment and absolute feeling that you are making progress and that is critical. Now, if you are digital scrapbooker you clearly do not need as many physical prints available to you. NOTE I said "as many" — I still whole heartedly believe that your family deserves to have at least a limited selection of printed pictures available to them, while they wait for you to get them scrapbooked. Frankly, our families don't really care if pictures end up on pages or in mini books or printed photo books or just storage binders. What they want to see are the pictures you are constantly snapping — and trust me, if they get to see them, they'll be much more willing as photo subjects. I think digital scrapbookers should still print 5 to 10% of the pictures they take and either put them into storage binders to include in a physical project here and there — or simply slip them into photo albums to be enjoyed right away.

I know this is long, but I have one final thought on this issue. I don't know about you, but when I get the urge to engage in the creative  process of assembling a page, my urge is fragile. If I have to sit down at my computer and scroll through pictures and potentially edit and determine the size I want the pictures to be (based on a  potential sketch I may not have selected yet) my energy would go right out the window. If on the other hand, I can come downstairs and in a matter of minutes put my hands of prints and begin to play — I am productive (meaning, I can in fact make a page) and I go to bed feeling refreshed and I wake up happy and eager to run back downstairs and look at my completed page and I have a sense of renewed energy for the day at hand. I cannot tell you how often this happens for me and how often I need this to happen for me, so that I can sustain the work that I do.

Before you weigh in on the issue of "to print or not to print" ask yourself this very important question:
Are you scrapbooking as often as you'd like to?
If the answer is NO.
Try implementing the idea of storage binders (with just one season's worth of pictures) and see if it makes a difference for you.

and … have a wonderful Monday.


  1. Hi Stacy :) I took LOM in 07 but didn’t implement the binders. This year during my re-take, I did implement the binders and I have to admit, I was very reluctant to use them but I now LOVE them! In fact, I need to order some more.

  2. I generally print photos off no matter what. Even with backups and copies made, I’ve lost several months of photos when the backups have failed and digital copies were ruined. At least with the printed photo, I have one copy that will last as long as I take care of it, that I can make copies from and my kids can see when they get older.
    If your hard drive, your external hard drive, and your CD all get ruined in a fire, but you uploaded photos to one of the many sites that print them, chances are you can get them printed again. If you relied on your backups and never got them printed, those photos are lost forever.

  3. HeatherC says:

    I agree that you have to print. I try to print a large #of prints at a time, sort into my version of storage binders, so then when I want to scrap, I can. I hate paying for shipping, and I do not have a good photo printer at home, so I take advantage of sales at places like Walgreens and stock up on a large # of photos that I think I would like to scrap in the future. HOWEVER, if I get an idea to make a mini album or a specific page, I will print photos as I find them so they are ready for when I am actually ready to start that project. I am just so thankful for digital photography and I do not have to wait to finish a roll of film before developing!! Thank goodness for technology!

  4. I love the binders & the printed photos make all the difference to me.

  5. Amen to the fragile aspect. I am implementing binders after doing the 07 and 08 classes.
    I cannot tell you the number of times, now that you mention it, I have just gotten up from the computer and printed nothing and scraped nothing. It was overwhelming.
    Time for more printing. I didn’t believe you until the second go around in LOM after I had made a LO every single day of Lain’s LOAD. How much easier that would have been after 12 hours at work to have had photos ready to go in the binders.
    Lesson learned.

  6. I love how you answer questioned on your Blog about your book. I am reading it for the third time and still loving it and learning from it. I am working right now as I type this on getting all caught up on printing my pictures why I do laundry today. Almost there and I know I’ll be glade once it’s done. Have a great day and thanks for all your help

  7. I just finished Photo Freedom for the first time (loved it!!). In your other books I did not pick up on the storage binders concept and I probably would not have even tried it right now except that I just finished taking Darci’s class and it was so easy and so wonderful to scrap 13 layouts! I had FUN for the first time in a long time. I have been one of those that has not printed my digital photos but I’m working on correcting that now. You are right if I can’t touch it and scrap it right this second I’m not going to. I printed a bunch of pictures specifically to use for Darci’s class and then printed more because I wanted to use different ones once I saw the layouts and the “subject/intent”. And then I printed nearly all of our vacation photos (we took a vacation right in the middle of class!). And now almost all of those photos have been scrapped and I couldn’t be more delighted!! I have another order of prints going out tonight and I can’t wait to get those into my binder and I’ll probably need to buy another really soon! I have found photo freedom and I’m loving it! I still need to get everything totally organized but I am excited! I so get it now!!

  8. Christine says:

    Hi Stacy, I’m so glad I read your blog today. I was wondering the same question and after reading your answer it makes sense. In fact, I just finished reading “Big Picture” and “Photo Freedom” and I’m excited to finally put together some books with real feelings and connections. A part of me is still hesitant to change my system. I’ve been scrapbooking for 10 years and while I’m not really “behind”, I’ve felt like something’s missing. That there must be more to me & my family than just holidays, vacations & events. I think I’ve found the “more” thanks to you. It’s a BIG change and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I’m going to take baby steps!

  9. Christina C. says:

    I couldn’t agree more! I am now a 75% digital pix taker (still won’t let go of my film camera!) and I print out all of my digi pix. At the end of every month, I send all the pix to my digital developer and also get them saved onto an archival CD. It truly is an inspiration to have those photos in my hands to run with and scrap immediately. And if I am making a layout and realize that I do need an enlargement, it is easy to find the print on my CD and have it developed within a few hours.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for Photo Freedom. It is really changing the way I look at my ‘habit’.

  10. Ooohh…I love this question AND the answer. After reading photo freedom a few times, I have finally started getting my pictures printed again (I am uploading pics to costco as we speak!). There is something so EXCITING about getting that package of new, glossy, lovely, yummy READY TO BE SCRAPBOOKED photos…totally inspiring! I have to agree…as someone who was stuck in the *I can’t scrapbook till I go thru my pictures on the computer and edit and decide which ones to print off on my printer*…I am definatley finding a sense of freedom in my scrapbooking now. I can sit down and get to work. Yay!

  11. catharine says:

    Just working on implementing the binders and finding so many great photos (and memories!)that I had forgotten about since so many of my photos were printed but simply stashed in a variety of boxes.
    My question is about a very minor detail…How do you attach you round tags to you section divider pages in your albums? I am having trouble envisioning something that won’t tear over time.
    Thanks for all of the great inspiration. I am getting more pages done this year than ever and loving the whole process so much!

  12. sherry d says:

    Until reading your response Stacy, i really didn’t give printing digi photos a thought, but it makes SO much sense! I have a printer to do my own and the task will be huge – any thoughts on how to do this without feeling overwhelmed? I’d like to print them myself. Anyways, the comment that got me most is the one where you mention sitting down at your computer only to see all the photos and basically lose momentum or desire and they’re left there for another time and no scrapping is done. Sounded just like me. Thanks SO much again for sharing with us.

  13. Heather says:

    You must be a mind-reader or this is a common question you just answered. I just got Photoshop Elements and I love it. Now I am totally inspired to convert to jpg and print, print, print. Fortunatly my local grocery store has $0.12 prints on Wednesdays. Wahoo!

  14. leigh ann says:

    I have to concure with the other ladies. I really hadn’t given it much thought but what you said made GREAT sense. Now i have to figure out which of the 13000 pictures i have taken thus far on digital to print–i think i better start slow…..

  15. Hello Stacy! I bought your book some months ago and was complete inspired by it. I started looking for albums for my photos and made plans. However, my laziness took over so my planned system never really took off. I am a digital scrapper. And I have three to four years worth of photos which are not printed yet. I have been complaining about my lost mojo and I believe that I know what my problem is. I am very disorganized and overwhelmed with the number of my files. Aside from that, I feel guilty for not having them printed. And why do I not get them printed? The mere thought of having to choose and edit them already tires me! However, I really, really wanted to scrap and preserve precious memories. In fact, I am keeping a notebook where I write things that I want to journal about. I promised my self that I will be definitely working on my files, have them printed and stored in albums. We can’t always rely on soft files, like what an old friend told me. So we really, really need to print them. And that would take off a huge burden on my part. I may not be creating LOs but my kid and husband can see the photos in the albums. Of course, I will definitely do the triaging as I believe that this will also help me scrap again.
    Thanks and more power to you!

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