Friday, December 16, 2005

Using those Not So Good Photographs in your Scrapbook Layouts

By Christina VanGinkel

Weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and other celebrations often result in lots of photo opportunities. Even at celebrations, such as weddings, that may have a professional photographer there to capture the special moments, there are usually quite a few amateurs roaming around with cameras. At weddings, it is often popular to put out throw away cameras, so you never know who might be snapping away, from a young child in attendance who wants to try out the cameras, to the inebriated second cousin of the grooms. This of course, usually results in tons of photos, some good, a few exceptional even, and quite a majority that brings on the question of what was the person snapping the shutter thinking. Even among these photographs though, there are probably quite a few that can be saved for scrapbooking, and that is what is so great about scrapbooking in general, that even the worst photographs can often be salvaged into something.

Take all those shots of the partygoers for example, that have a head missing here, or a misplaced arm there, shots that do not show more than a face or two, and really have no defining moment caught. Dig out your larger paper punches and make a mosaic out of the faces in the crowd that are identifiable. This idea alone will use up many of the photographs that you thought were a waste. Put together on a page with names to match the faces, or even a few question marks, marking the big question of just who attended!

Similar shots that may have a bit more salvageable material in them than just a face or two, should be scanned into you computer so that you can crop the most interesting parts, turning them into new pictures, even though on their own, you may not think they have all that much noteworthy about them. Once you have assembled and cropped the best of the worst, use your photo imaging software to create a collage. The free program, Picasa2, offers this feature if what you have available does not. I used it to assemble an assortment of pictures that we snapped of my grandson at the County Fair a few months back. Some of them were side shots, or you could see the game he was playing, but not him, or the lights from a ride. I cropped each one to identify a moment from that afternoon and evening that on their own did not mean much, but when assembled back together into a collage, made a stunning backdrop for the one photo that I was able to capture that day that truly highlighted his experience of a first visit to a fair.

Some shots that would have been perfect, save for being terribly out of focus, just a big blur essentially, but maybe marking a special moment or time at the big affair, should be put through a graphic program's artistic filters. You might be pleasantly surprised that even though that blur is as bad as it is, once it has a colored pencil filter applied, or even a light charcoal, film grain, or even transformed into a watercolor, it may turn out to be the perfect photo for your next layout.

Maybe this is what I like so much about scrapbooking now that I think of it. I am not the greatest photographer by far, and I am often the one behind the lens when a snapshot is taken that is about as bad as they come, yet I still love to pour through these photographs on the smallest chance that there is a smidgen of an embellishment amongst the print. If I can find a use for some of the worst snapshots I have taken through the years, and turn them into things in a scrapbook layout that make others ooh and aah about the cool special effects I used, or to make them ask me how I ever thought to come up with a layout that incorporated all those peoples faces for example, it leaves me hope that many others, even those as un-artistic as I am, will also enjoy this hobby that has given new life to amateur photographers just like myself across the globe.

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