Thursday, 17 September 2009

Should the Photograph Be Bigger?

Autumn has arrived in my neck of the world. The last of our flowers are wilting and the sunshine is starting to loose it's warmth. I have to admit it wasn't a particularly warm summer here in England anyway, but now in the morning and evening there is a decided nip in the air. Soon the leaves will turn and the descent towards Winter will have started in earnest. The wonderful colours of Autumn will be my compensation for the colder days to come.


One of my last garden blooms

About now most of us find we have stacks of photographs from summer piling up to add to our album pages. With this backlog in mind, I had some of my layouts printed to clear my PC for the new ones to come. I was proudly showing them to one of my friends when a chance remark made me stop and examine my pages more closely. It made me think...yes, I do occasionally indulge in thought, lol.

Irene doesn't scrapbook herself, but she was really interested to take look at mine. Imagine my surprise to hear her ask why scrapbook pages gave so little prominence to the actual photograph!!

Being artistic and crafty herself, she's looked before at scrapbooking on the Internet but decided that she preferred her photos as they come. Whilst she agreed many of the layouts she had seen were beautiful and extremely artistic, she did feel that they were more a showcase for the persons skills or artistic expression than for photographs.

Okay, by now she had my FULL attention!! What..she thought I was not giving centre stage to the lovely Lilly in my pages!!!

As an illustration of what she meant, she mentioned pages with one small photo with cluster/s behind or around it, the rest of the page using lots of white space. I have to admit, I for one, love these sorts of pages. I tried to explain that those really can have a dramatic impact because of the space the eye was led to the photo and made it the star.

She was not convinced!! Rubbish..was her loud rely!!! It merely meant in years to come when fashion and fads had moved on, people would peer at our pages and wonder why we had made the gorgeous photograph so small and left so much blank space.

I have to admit, by now my feathers were extremely ruffled. Then the realisation of how she saw things started to dawn. I stepped back and thought about what she had said...she was in some ways right. Some of my pages didn't have journaling and the photo was a very small part of the overall layout. At first glance they do appear to be more artist expression pieces than memory pages for the future. Eeek!! What have I done!!

It raised the question in my mind should the photograph be bigger or more prominent on our pages? I know that we all have our own style but if you look around many, not all, layouts don't give prominence to the photo or journaling. Often they tell us more about the scrapper and their skills than they do about the person or event in the photograph. me...are guilty of no journaling at all on some pages, to note the event, date or person.

Bettina sent me this beautiful page of her granddaughter Lili and perhaps she has got the right prominent at a good size, plus an indication of who and when. The fun wordart conveys the emotion behind it. I love it, for me it ticks all the boxes!! A great example of an album page with loads of style.


Credits: Lilly's Quilt Freebie Cens Stuff, Wordart by Bethanie

No the example below of one of my pages is just the opposite!! Loads of fun but not good!! No name or date just a sentiment that I felt about the lovely lady in the layout....oops!! Rethink needed!!


Credits: Cens Stuff, Kite by SammyD at Scrappin Digi Kreations 


The next layout was for my brothers 50th birthday album this summer. It' s got names and dates plus it says in the park, but I should have put where the park was perhaps and little journaling. I should also have put the names in the top picture in the order the people appear on the photo!! It would help!! I know who they are and where but others won't, so perhaps a few more facts on this heritage one.

(Yes, the child standing up on the swing is me!! The boy is my brother and the dark haired girl is my youngest aunt.)

arthur _01


But that still left me begging the questions.....

Should the elements and white space play a less prominent part in our pages? Should the photograph and journaling be the stars? Have we lost the plot on this and we can't see the wood for the trees? Are we more concerned with showing off our own skills than preserving the memories? I am guilty of at least some of the above!!

So many little answers!! This needs some more thought!!

As a family historian I can imagine the frustration of future generations at the lack of journaling and questioning why we choose to utilise the space the way we did. But....the albums will pass on something else to them as well, they'll let people see the scrapbooking style and fashions over a period in time. They'll show the talent and skill of the person who made the album and illustrate the technics available at the time. So, perhaps our album pages will end up conveying  different or incomplete information about us and our memories but they will still be marvelous records to pass on.

That chance remark has certainly made me think and look at my layouts differently. I've looked and reexamined what I'm doing and why. I'm not saying I'll change the way I do everything but I certainly will think more about how I preserve my memories.

What are your thoughts on this? Should the photograph be bigger or the journaling always present?

Check back tomorrow I have a little something for you!! Until then take care have fun!!


daisydilly (vicki) said...

great advice June. I, too fail to post dates etc. Worse I recently ran across some pictures I had failed to put dates on. This post made me realize I better go put some journaling /dates on my layouts before my brain says goodbye!!ha ha

Michele said...

Well I think it depends. lol I must admit I think that so often especially in the digi world, it seems less emphasis is placed on the journaling or information and more on the creativity of the person. I find this even with myself. When I did traditional scrapping almost EVERY page had journaling on it. But I find I let it slip on my digi pages because I want people to look at my pages and think WOW that is a great page. But I appreciate this post as I have a feeling I may doing my WOW pages (with a bit of journaling included) for the CTs I am on, but do more of my regular journaling pages for my every dya scrapping. Thanks for reminding me that this is for years down the road when my little one asks "what was I like, or what were we doing there" that he knows because the story is on at least one of the pages that go together.

Stash Empress said...

I'm pretty much a novice at this, so you'll have to take my comments with that in mind. My whole reason for taking up digital scrapping was to showcase photos (my children, grandchildren, special days in our lives, etc.) -- so my focus has always been on having big photos -- so you can *SEE* the ppl in the photos -- that said, I love papers/elements, etc. -- just they should be behind, around, etc. the photo --- not the main event.... and I'm not a big fan of white space.... but that's just me -- and I'm not terribly artistic, so.... {shrug}.

Mary Ann said...

I also am pretty new at this and not very artistic. I digiscrap to preserve the memories and tell the stories so I don't do much white space and I always have lots of journaling as I consider myself more of a storyteller for future generations. I like having bigger pictures. Just my 2 cents as I am not a graphic artist but more a family historian.

Tammy Dunlap said...

I think it all just depends on the photo and page. I always try to put the date on my pages, some slip by by accident... lol! I do need to put more journaling on the places of the photos, where it was and who it was. I forget that I know who they are but my grand kids and other family members may not remember or even know when I am gone and not here to tell them. I also always try to keep my photos on the larger size as not to get lost with all the elements and things on the page, even if I want to have a very embellished page so that the photo does not get lost in the midst of it all. Thanks for making me think on this!

Bettina Groh said...

Personally I feel the page is about the photo... especially photos with people I care about! But since I started digital scrapping I have watched "styles" change. When someone comes out with a new style... everyone does pages just like it. I play a lot with my pages and so try some of the newer styles and techniques..but those aren't necessarily ones I "save" or the ones I am most fond of.
Those are the ones which highlight someone or some time and it takes a photo to do that!

Amberpony Creates said...

You like my Memory Pages. They are almost always Multi-Photo with A Title and Description if not journaling. After I have all that on there I add the fun stuff. I extract some photos to remove the unwanted. But I leave things that show us what time in History it was taken. So See I make Memory Pages not Lay Outs.

Funny You mention these things because recently I read in a thread was a very creative person who was going to tear apart her albums from the last year because they were to Artsy!!! Gasp!!!! I suggested she just add to them insted.

Ok I came by to let you know that I have my Kit "Best Buds" Up at in the Round 2 of the Next SASy Lady Designer contest and the soon to be today is the last day to vote. and Gasp I am way behind. I am not one for winning Popularity Contests :o( I appreciate your support last Round. I Enjoyed being Totally Challenged by this Round "Pink is not my Color and Palettes well I am still getting the hang of them. But I manged to come up with a Vintage Kit Just in time. Take a peek the link is at my Blog. Thanks.

Swapna said...

Hi June... I don't totally agree can be there just because they are pleasant to look at... but if it is a special day, place or event at which the snap was taken maybe you could add more details.. after all, they say a picture is worth a thousand words... and I have always enjoyed your pages.. maybe you can add something more as and when you wish..but I wouldn't say you were totally on the wrong track :)

Susie2shoes said...

How strange you should have chosen this very subject to blog about. My Mom has allowed me to re-create her very battered wedding album. Her very words were, "let the photo be the main thing on the page, I don't want any of that pretty ribbons & bows". Tell it like it is mom, why don't you. But perhaps I thinks she's half right. Bubbles a fellow scrap booker told me that the main part of the scrap page was the photo. I try to do 1/3 photo, 1/3 journaling and 1/3 fluffy stuff. So glad your 'pute is in good health again, I couldn't bear not to read your lovely blog.

VJ's Scrap Room said...

Good morning:)
I agree..the photo should be the focus.I love the fluff too and beautiful pages..but if I have to look around to find the photo...then there is too much fluff.KWIM? I try to have the name of the person in the photo and a date..but you make me realize..I need to add more journaling.Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this with us!:)

Have a fantastic weekend!!


Anonymous said...

Too many times pages are just kit designers' showcases. The reason for scrapping in the first place is to document someone's life through photos and journaling. I do BIG pictures - often as portraits to frame and hang. Journaling is my passion and strongest point. To leave a message about the past is to leave a treasure. To leave a message for the future tells the observer something of who I am (or was...) and what I wish for the subject. Tying the generations together is the reason. Big photos, with lots of journaling, even if it is on a separate page, make the journalist's point better than lots of flowers and ribbons. My boys don't need no stinkin' flowers, anyway, lol!

Gram G

Holly said...

In general, I tend to agree with Irene. I am a very simplistic scrapper and I keep a "chronological" scrapbook. BUT, my mother-in-law scraps in the more popular style...I have to say I love that my son will have both styles to commemorate his childhood-it all depends on WHY you scrap-you follow your heart and style b/c otherwise it becomes a chore and who needs any more of those? :)

Jaye said...

I completely understand your friend's comments.
A lot of peoples' layouts have WAY too many elements that overshadow the photos. Proper use of white space solves this problem a lot of the time.
We should slow down and focus more, because after all the goal is to showcase the subject.

Kim's Scrappin' said...

I was just saying to myself that I need to do more journaling on my pages. Some pages I do have journaling, or at least a name or date, but some only contain the pictures. Most of the pages that I do for the CT's that I'm on don't have a lot of journaling, but pages that are made for me that I plan on printing I will add more journaling. So I guess it just depends on what I plan for the layout.

Nikkie's Journal said...

I have to agree more with your friend, but that being said, the answer is not cut and dry. I think there are times when the more artistic layouts can work well in an album, it shouldn't be the majority. I look at some of the 'popular style' layouts and realize I have no idea what the picture was because the layout itself overpowered it. I prefer the layout to accent the photos. I also journal a lot because that is why I started scrapbooking - to tell the story that goes with the photos. The main things I want viewers to see and remember are the photos and the stories, not the bling that surrounded it.

Brooke said...

Finally, someone who thinks the way I do :0) I have 5 kids and take tons of pictures. I fill most of my pages as full of pictures as I can, but I have to have each of the pictures as big as possible because that is why I scrapbook. I just want to accentuate the picture, not overshadow it. I was once told that a page wasn't complete without journaling, so that piece of advice stuck. That said, I have to admit I was starting to sway towards the artsier side of scrapbooking, so thanks so much for the wake-up call! :0)

Ann said...

I rarely add journaling mainly because i just never know what to write. I do sometimes add dates but not often enough. I think I do usually go with bigger pictures and less frill in most of mine though

suruha said...

Hi, there,

Reading some of the other comments, it seems that the larger photo is winning. LOL I have to make mine big just so "I" can see them comfortably, anymore. I could stand to write more on them for the history aspect, too. However, I don't think there is anything wrong with making the layout your "showplace". How many of grandma's quilts do we have and cherish? They are passed down for their beauty and craftsmanship. Needlepoint is done for the "show" of one's talent. Isn't that what we are doing? Combining the photo with a beautiful layout, all fancy and neat looking, is you showing your family's history IN YOUR OWN WAY. I say celebrate what you do! 'Cause you do it so well! LOL

Bless you and thanks for giving us some fuel for thought.



Anonymous said...

June I can't beleive she said this as a few days ago I was trying to figure out how to take a photo with Noah add more of unrelated photos and make it a piece of art for Noah. I mean take the other pictures fromt he same secense eg when I took many photos on our trip and lay them as back ground (strategiclly) and put the prominent photo on top..therefore create with photos so I loved this post.

See ya soon hope last night for a day and then off to Canada with my girlfriend for wine tours Saturday and Sunday..having a ball.

Dorothy from grammology

Anonymous said...

I think the photo should be the main focus of the page and the embellishments should enhance the photo. At the least, the page should include names, date, and a short explanation of the event. I enjoy scrapbooking, but my goal is to leave a family history record for generations to come.

tiggconn said...

I was wondering why suddenly there was a lot of blank spaces on layouts recently. I tend to journal and journal and journal! I prefer to have all the info on my layouts so someone in the future knows what and why I choose to scrap the pics but I really think it's a personal preference.

Glynis said...

I sat and wrote dates etc on all our pics, before we emigrated. I am glad I did as it helps with my scrapbooking now.
Should the photograph be bigger? It depends on your artistic eye and mood at the time, I am sure.

Shinade aka Jackie said...

As an adopted child who spent years and years tracking down biological family I know for me names and dates are very important.

My mother who raised me was very careful with almost every single picture she ever took in her life. Almost every single one has the names and dates on them.

I really appreciate the fact that they are there because many of the people were passed on before I was even born.

I think somewhere in the middle is good. I love design and wouldn;t want a scrapbook with lettering all over it either.

But, in appropriate places and correct sizing I would agree that specifics are very important for future generations!!

I hope you have a grand weekend June!! It was sunshine here today and I am running supeer late.

But, I see you have a photoshop tutorial posted. I must say Yayyyyy!!! We finally were able to afford to order me Photoshop.

It ships on the 21st. I am so excited!!

happy weekend!!

scrappyjacky said...

I do think that we need to think about those who in the future will be looking at our scrapbooks.....and think more about journalling and especially names,dates,places etc.
I'm sure we're all guilty of sometimes forgeting how important it is....I certainly am.
Your post gave me real food for thought...thanks.

Anonymous said...

I have to assume that everyone prints their layouts and doesn't only keep a digital album. For those beautiful, artistic layouts that you don't want lettering on, just turn your picture over and print pertinent details on the back. I do that frequently! Names and dates are SO important!

Gram G

Anonymous said...

Well, I have to admit, that while I like the looks of "white space" pages, I seldom do that type myself, for the exact reasons you present. I have a few pages that only have one photo, but that photo is usually large, not small. When I publish layouts, I don't always include the journalizing for privacy reasons. When I finally print them, they will have more info on them.

I guess it all depends on your motivation for scrapbooking. I can see the value of having an artistic outlet, definitely. However, as a wife and mother of 4 living on a small farm, I tend to include multiple photos on my pages. I'm not just doing this as an artistic venture, I'm trying to preserve some of our memories. So, while I still add artistic elements, I like my pages to be mainly about the photos.

Keryn said...

Hi June,

I do tend to journal and make more of the photo but I think that is because I had been a traditional scrap-booker for years.

Also I know that I have looked through mum's old photo albums and often say to her - who's that, where was that etc. so make a point of having some journalling.

However I also love the artistic designs which other do. Mine have always been fairly basic - not very creative - lol.

Hugs, Keryn

Jen Hanson aka Digiscrapthat said...

Wonderful, thought provoking post! In the very beginning I wasn't putting dates on all my pages. Then I ran into photos of my childhood that I had no idea when or where they were from and it made me realize the importance of dates and journaling. I usually try to always do journaling, but sometimes it's just not necessary. Sometimes the photo is just a gorgeous photo of my beautiful children or Grandbaby and no words are necessary,except maybe for a fun title or quote. If it's a special moment, such as a first tooth, special event at school, funny thing they did or said, I definitely journal. I take photos of the kids homemade gifts to me for Mother's Day, Birthdays, etc. and I do a layout and journal exactly what they made, what they said about it, etc. Our 3 youngest children were adopted from Korea, so it's really important to journal as this is their "Lifebook". Their beginnings in Korea through to their lives as part of our family. I have found myself longing to be as creative as some scrappers are with the white space, lots of layering of elements, etc. and I'm not so hot at it yet. But those are the layouts that are the simply beautiful photos I want to showcase and I do keep the photos large. Thanks for posting about this Cen! I'm really enjoying reading everyone's answers.

Swapna said...

Hi June,

I have an award for you :). Please visit my blog to collect it.

Jane Blogs said...

Love the "Death to All Spiders". Are you selling the co-ordinating hats? ;)

Thanks for your lovely CU freebies, the delicate frames are beautiful.
Do you have a blinkie I can add to my site?

Cindyrelly said...

Great food for thought June :) I have been kind of thinking that in the back of my mind for awhile but Thank You for bringing it to the FRONT. I went to a chat at Moo Too last night on geneaology and I am trying to get re-motivated to pick up and do that correctly... too much focus on being clever and not enough on the details. I just hope the future generations will appreciate! Thanks for the above Tut too... now if we would finally get well around here it would be nice to have some energy as we have all been sick in One way or another all of September... Come on October already! I hope you feel better soon :) Poor thing :( I feel your pain!

goodtexan said...

You're so right. I really know what people mean by some LOs are designer's showcases and I think the two pager rules, one page for pics and the other for journaling....

Jessie James said...

I don't think the size matters so much as the fact that we need to record information for the future. It is nice to shw our artistic talent and that tells future generations about us the person, but we are also looking to tell a story and give information. I have loads of photos of past generations but know not who they are or how they relate to my life.

Joba said...

I don't often include alot of information on LO's posted in the digi galleries for privacy issues. I add this info for printing though. I vote for big pictures or multipic Lo's for practical reasons _to get more of the story told