By Christina VanGinkel
I am always amazed when looking through someone else's scrapbook, or at a copy of one of the many scrapbook magazines on the newsstand today, at the ingenious ways some people incorporated photos into their layouts. When I first glued a photo into a book many years ago, I made a matting of cardstock, and glued my photograph down onto the mat. Nothing fancy, just the basics, and I still do this today. However, thanks to so many other people's creative ideas, I have also learned to use my photographs in ways that are much more creative.
One ingenious idea, which I absolutely love, is when I see a photograph that has been distressed. I would never have thought to rough up a photograph, yet someone did, and so popular is this now, that some other ingenious person or company, even created a kit for distressing your photos. All you really need though is a sheet of sandpaper, some photo safe ink (they make ink that is specifically for distressing), some ingenuity, and a copy of the photograph to distress (never use your original, just in case you mess up, or distress it too much for your personal preferences). The inks that are made for distressing take into account things like color stability, how the ink will spread on photo material, and a palette that is considerate of the distressed look itself. After you distress one or two photos, if you discover this is a look that you really like, you may want to consider purchasing an inkpad or two made for creating this fun effect.
Tinting a photo, and repeating the photo several times in a single layout, with each photo a different tint, is also a fun way to use a single picture. I have seen this effect as a border, and as a complete background. I recreated it myself with a photo of my son's KX100 motorcycle. I manipulated the photo in Microsoft Picture It! to create a border on a page featuring my son on the bike. The border was simply the single picture of the bike by itself, repeated over and over again, to make the border, but each photo was a different hue, making what would have been an ok border into a stunning wow effect.
Another effect that is done easily on the computer is to change the transparency of the photo. This is an easy way, to make use of a photograph that might have some inherent flaws, useable. Maybe the colors are too bright, or they clash. By making the photo transparent, you lighten it enough that you can still see the focus of the subject, but you have in essence turned the photo into a background image. You can then journal right over it, or place other embellishments over individual parts of the photo. Transforming a photo into a black and white photo first, then making it into a transparency will also provide you with similar results for being able to place journaling right onto the photo.
Another method that allows photos themselves to be altered in the real world sense, such as when a photo is distressed, is when they are cropped to fit into a layout in a manner that their original dimensions would never have allowed. Take for instance a recent layout I saw that I just fell in love with. It was about a little girl who believed with all her heart that she was a princess. Just ask her, the journaling relayed, and she would tell you. The mother had taken cartoon like images of a castle, moat, dragon, and a fairy princess and created the layout. Where the princess' head should have been, the mother had cropped it away with a pair of scissors, and placed a photo of her daughter's head, that she had carefully trimmed to fit onto the cartoon body. She also embellished her daughter's head with a cartoon crown, which she then adorned with glitter. The whole effect was fun, and I am sure the little girl, um, princess, will have many fond memories of her days as a princess when she looks back on the layout many years from now!