Archive for the ‘photobook’ Category

Lemme just say, I’m pretty proud of myself for finishing yet another photo book!  When I knew I had ankle surgery coming up, I started planning projects for myself to work on while I was recuperating.  I knew that I’d be off my feet for a while, and so I compiled a list of specific things I wanted to try to finish while I was confined to a chair or couch for most of the day.  One of those things was photo books.  I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again: I LOVE the end result of photo books, but I really dislike making them.  My kids love looking at them– and I love seeing them enjoying the books, too, so I grit my teeth and get them done.

In the time since my surgery, I’ve completed three photo books: Hersheypark 2015, Day in the Life 2019, and this book: Day in the Life 2018.  With the completion of this book, my DITL book set is completely caught up– I’ve been doing this project since 2013!  I am glad that I’ve made good use of this sitting-down time (and proud of myself for staying motivated) to accomplish these goals.

Here’s the cover of my 2018 DITL book:


For this book, I used the beautiful digital papers from Karen Funk’s “A Fresh Start” paper kit.  It’s a smaller set of papers, but I had a lot of photos for this book (there are 106 included), so there were fewer spaces to fill.


There’s not much new to say about my process that hasn’t already been said…but that basic formula that I use made this book a quick finish, even with so many photos!

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I surprised myself and managed to finish another digital scrapbook photo book– this one in less than a week!

This is my Day in the Life book for this year (2019! finished already! …but I still do need to complete the book for 2018…).  Since it was an unusual day (off my feet due to ankle surgery, plus I was leaving for an out-of-town trip that afternoon), I didn’t take as many photos as usual.  (In fact, I almost didn’t document at all, but in the end, I’m glad that I decided to take photos and write my journaling!) Husband was so kind to help me take many of the photos I try to capture annually.

Aside from the smaller number of photos, this project is a bit more straightforward than my other digital scrapbooks, because I have a fairly tried-and-true formula by now.  The backgrounds of all my pages are white, and I make flat (no shadows) collages of photos and patterned paper blocks on each page.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve made a lot of basic templates, which I use for these pages!


I used patterned papers from The Lilypad collaboration kit “All About Me” — it was a freebie blog hop kit that I collected in September 2019.

The title page and front cover are the same each year, too.  The title page is always a photo of the front of my house taken that day, with a title banner and typed credits.  In the past few books I’ve made, I’ve made a point to add the day of the week with the date.


The very first year I did this project, (back in 2013!!) I made the cover collage by tiling four Scrapbook Lady “Sixteens” templates together, and I add photos and patterned papers that I used throughout the book.  This cover comes together more easily if I add photos as I work on each page rather than waiting til the end!

The scripty titles are from Ali Edwards– back in 2012, she created this freebie, and I’ve been using them every year!

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(This is the final post in a series about a digital scrapbook/photo book I created for our trip to Hersheypark in 2015.  See also PART 1, PART 2, and PART 3!)


A tradition we started the very first year we went to Hersheypark was to get a photo of our kids (although it was just V that year!) with the statue of Mr. Hershey near the historic Carrousel.  We’ve managed to continue that tradition every year, and I have ended each photo book with those photos!


The back cover of the book features the park map from that year– thankfully back in 2015 I thought ahead and downloaded the .pdf from the Hersheypark website.  I took a “snapshot” (screenshot) from that pdf to use here.  I like having this little record of the layout of the park each year on the back of the book!


I like to make a contact sheet of all the pages of the book to see how they look together!


I ordered this book through Shutterfly, using their “Digiscrap” book style.  I’ve been using their 8×8 page templates for years, and it seems like the bleed and gutter margins are increasing (the templates they provided haven’t seemed to change; the ones provided currently for download have a file date of 2013 for the spine/covers and 2009 for the inside page!), so I’ll have to leave even more room around the edges than I already do.  Also, I am finding that the spine template is off: I used the exact same file as my 2018 book (with just the date and background paper changed) for the spine.  That book’s title printed perfectly centered on the spine (the book was printed in August 2018), but this one’s is shifted and overlaps the edge, which is disappointing (and I noticed it happening on a couple other books I printed recently).  I’ll have to remember these details for future books.

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(links to: PART 1 and PART 2)

Here are the next three spreads in this digital scrapbook/photo book…


Most of the pages were single-page, standalone layouts (albeit all telling one continuous story through the book, so no individual titles on each page), but this next one merited a two-page spread:


This is one of Husband’s and my favorite page spreads in the whole book.  I am so glad that we caught these photos of us going down the sack slid– the expressions on our kids’ faces are priceless.

To create this spread, I simply designed one side’s basic “sketch” and mirrored it for the other side.  I then added an extra photo space and the journaling on the right hand page.


Even though there were so many photos in this book, I was glad for the chance to feature special shots by making them large on the page.


One more post to go!  Stay tuned for the final pages and back cover of this book.

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(See part 1 HERE)

Here are the next three spreads (six pages) in the Hersheypark 2015 photo book.



To make my task a bit easier, I used a couple tricks I’d learned from the Rehoboth vacation photo book I wrote about in May: first, I again leveraged the Shutterfly software’s “storyboard” feature to help figure out how to divide my many photos over the 20 pages.  There are approximately 100 photos in this book!  Even though I made my final pages completely in PSE, it was nice to have a visual representation of the photo organization to help me as I went along.

Second, I made another set of “reference” documents (maybe contact sheets is a better term?) for the papers and the embellishments from this kit.  I opened all the files and made one .psd document with all the papers, and then I put all the embellishments into the other .psd document.  Not only did this allow me to see all of the embellishments at once, but it helped me to keep the shadow styles consistent from page to page.  I applied the shadows in the reference document and just copied and pasted the embellishments onto the layouts as I worked.


For this book, I decided to use the same white textured background on all the pages (except for the title page) for a bit of consistency.  On most of the pages, I also added a bit of digital “mixed media” from the kit, but occasionally, I left them without, like the following spread:


Stay tuned for more pages soon!

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Being off my feet after my ankle surgery has forced  enabled me to focus on some projects that I’ve been putting off.  I have a growing collection of photo books on our shelf, and I decided to use some of this time to fill in a gap in our Hersheypark collection.  We go every year, usually on my husband’s company day, and in 2015, it was my son’s first time.  That meant that there were more photos than other years, which in turn meant that it would be a more complex book to make, so I’d put it off.

Until now!

Over the next few posts, I’m going to show (off ;-)) the digital layouts I made for this book.  It’s an 8″x8″ photo book that I’m printing through Shutterfly using their Digiscrap book option.

Front cover: 


For my Hersheypark books, I usually make the title page very similar to the cover, but this time, I had some more photos I wanted to include right off the bat, so I added them in a photo strip with labels containing captions.


I embellished the book using the Sweet Shoppe Designs collaboration kit “Create Something Beautiful” — I’ve had it for a long time in my digital “stash,” and this was the perfect use for it.

As I make more of my photo books by digitally scrapbooking the pages in PSE (rather than using the printer’s site software), I have been growing my collection of basic me-made templates.  Every page in this book was my own template design, and I’m kind of proud of that!


I had three sets of photos/brief stories that I wanted to include on this next page, so I set them in columns to delineate them, while still keeping the look cohesive.


Look at those cheeks!



Stay tuned for future posts showing the rest of the digi layouts!

PART 2 …… PART 3 …… PART 4


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This is part two of a two-part post about the digital scrapbook/photo book I created for our Rehoboth 2018 vacation.  You can see the first part HERE.  

The next spread in the book is the only one that doesn’t “match”– for the most part, the stories of adjacent pages were at least coordinated, if not one whole story.  In those cases, I used matching background papers on the facing pages.  But here, I decided to emphasize the disconnect by using different papers.

I fit a LOT of photos into this book.  I adapted templates that I’d created for my other (square) photo book projects. I also made good use of Katie the Creative Lady’s (formerly Scrapbook Lady) “Sixteens” templates (looks as though they are no longer available), which I rotated one, two, or three times, and then adapted to fit onto my 8″x11″ pages by cutting off a row of photos.  They ended up holding about 12 photos in their revised forms.

I was delighted that one of the digital “wood veneer” pieces was a bicycle– perfect for this next spread about my husband and I biking through Henlopen!

…and the closing page:


I don’t know how many times I went through these pages, checking for consistent shadow styles, looking for typos and stray embellishments… I even had my husband look it over for a fresh set of eyes.

And yet, we didn’t notice the little stray button on the back cover!  It was the first thing my daughter spotted when we looked at the book when it arrived from Shutterfly, though!  Next time I’ll ask her to proofread, too!  I’m just glad it’s not on someone’s face…

21_Back Cover_8x11

It is so satisfying to have another vacation documented in a way that we can all enjoy it!


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Throughout April, my big project was to complete an 8″x11″ photo book of our trip to Rehoboth beach last summer.

And boy, was it a big project!  I wanted to create all the layouts in PSE before importing them to Shutterfly for printing, which meant I was creating a set of base templates in a size that I haven’t used very much (or at all from scratch!  I’ve made three other beach vacation books in this size, but they were created in Shutterfly’s website software).

Because of the nature of beach vacations (beach: sand+ocean, eat, play, repeat) the books that I make for them are not strictly chronological like most of the other photo books I create.  Instead, the books have more pages that are “categories” (e.g. sand creations, playing in the ocean, food we ate, etc.).  This time around, I decided to leverage Shutterfly’s “storyboard” feature to figure out which pages would have what photos.  It was nice to toggle the “hide used” button so that I made sure I was placing all the photos that I wanted in the book. Once I figured that out, I would use it as a reference: I exported the set of photos for an individual page and create that layout in Photoshop Elements.  Sometimes Shutterfly’s suggested page design helped me decide how to arrange my photos, too.

For my digital papers and embellishments, I decided to use a collaboration kit from Design House Digital– a freebie blog hop kit from 2012 called “Beach Party.”  I also used this gorgeous kit for some digital design I did for some church events in 2015 (of which I am still pretty proud!), and I borrowed some of the clusters and paper layers directly from those designs, which helped me get started on this book.

Another thing that I did to streamline my process a bit was to create a few “reference sheets” of all the embellishments and papers.  As I was working, my version of Photoshop Elements would occasionally get hung, and closing everything down and re-opening it was getting tedious and frustrating.  Having these reference sheets also helped me to keep my shadows consistent (since I would duplicate the items’ layers on to my actual book pages each time) and save particular clusters of embellishments to use as the basis for new ones.

Here’s the cover and title page:

00_Front Cover_8x11


The fonts here are “LD Handwritten Greetings Regular” (script) and FFF Tusj Bold (block letters), and throughout the book, I used Baskerville Regular (size 10 with 11 point leading) for the text.

I’ll share the first half of the page layouts in this blog post, and the rest in an upcoming post.

You can click on each page in the spread to see it a little bit bigger!


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Every year, on October 4, I document our day, from waking to sleeping.  I document as many little details as I can, and then I put them all into an 8″x8″ photo book.  I started in 2013, and as of last week, I have the books done through 2017 (yay!)

It has helped that I have a particular format that I follow for each year’s book, although it’s not a quick project to complete!

Day in the Life - 2017 photo book

I actually finished 2017’s book last spring: even while I took the photos for the project, I had a very specific vision of how I wanted to display the photos on each page: in general, one large one with small ones supporting it.  It was an easier project to complete, because I had around 79 photos earmarked for inclusion, plus a plan in mind as I got going on the pages.


I really love how this one came out, and for future days-in-the-life projects, I plan to have a similar intent in mind as I take photos.  In fact, I have 2018’s photos and words waiting for me…

It was really bothering me, though, that I still had the gap in my book collection from 2016.  For some reason, I had an extra large number of photos for this book– I have 117 earmarked my Lightroom collection for that day!  However, I was a woman on a mission last fall with a couple photo book projects, and I powered through most of the 2016 book… until I got to page 18 (out of 20).  I hit a creative wall, and I just couldn’t get further.  Plus, I had Christmas crafting to do!  So it got put on hold, even though it was so close to being completed.

Recently, Shutterfly had a weekend sale for a free photo book, and as is typical of me, that deadline got me moving again.  I was determined to get this book finished, and I did!  I gritted my teeth and made page 18 work, and then it was smooth sailing after that, thanks to all that I’d completed (including a lion’s share of the work on the cover!) back in the fall.


This 2016 book was the most photo-intensive book I’ve done so far, and I think it’s my limit (at least for a 20-page book!).  I hope in the future to streamline the number of photos I use… but in this book, there were a few series of photos that told the story better than just a single picture.


It makes me so happy to see my little photo book shelf filling out.  It is such a satisfying feeling to have these projects all lined up.

2019-03-16 16.44.18


Even better is the fact that my 7-year-old loves to read these books.  It makes my heart happy to see that she also appreciates this documentation… and it motivates me to keep going.

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This is the fourth in a series of posts about a digital scrapbook I made of our 2018 Hersheypark trip.  You can see the first post HERE, the second post HERE, and the third post HERE.


There were some really great templates included in the Snapshots kit that I used for this book.  Just like when I use sketches for my physical scrapbook pages, I definitely made changes to the digital templates, but I was really thankful to have them.  The page below (about the Carrousel) uses a digital template from the kit.


Oh man, the Starships.  Who knew that I could be so terrified of a kiddie ride.


This next page, about the Hershey’s Syrup character, was also made from a template.  I changed this one by adding a second photo space and changing the aspect ratio and the size of the photos.  The shading that came with the template is phenomenal!


The last page of our photo book is always a photo of the kids with the statue of Mr. Hershey!  This year, our friends took one of our whole family with the statue, which I treasure.


The back cover of every Hersheypark photo book is a screenshot of that year’s park map.  I like to think that we’ll be able to see the evolution of the amusement park over the years, because I expect (and hope) that this tradition will continue for years to come!


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