Do you Scrapbook with One or Many Photos?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article called Scrapbooking Today versus Yesterday in which we explored whether the comercialism in scrapbooking today has de-personalised’ our scrapbook albums compared to the ones our Mothers and Grandmothers used to make.

I say ‘we’ explored this proposition because I received some awesome comments on this post, some of which were articles in themselves. I recommend you read the original article and then scroll down and read the comments.

One of the themes that came out of many of the comments was single photo scrapbook layouts versus multiple photo scrapbook layouts.

Here are some of the comment snippets (note they are taken out of context so you should read the full comment):

Even looking at the requirements for submissions, they ask for a close photo, of just one person .. and I think each time, how does this tell a story .. isn’t it about those series of funny photos, the story that happened, tickets, scenery photos whatever .. embellishments that mean something.


…how does using just one photo in a layout tell a story? A few days ago, a woman (a rubber stamp demonstrator) told me she would not take up scrapbooking because she had hundreds of photos and it was too daunting a task to make a page for every one. There is little in today’s scrapbook promotions to suggest to the newcomer that other layouts are options.


Now originally scrapbook pages would always have multiple photos on them (assuming they were available), as well as snippets of memorabilia and then any other pretty bits and pieces that would embellish the whole. There was no real focus on the artistic or creative side. It was purely the fun of capturing a bunch of memorabilia that told a story.

I think most of us probably would have started scrapbooking with that approach in our minds. I know I did. All my layouts had multiple photos on them. and other than putting them on a matt or in a frame and adding a small accents to the page together with journaling, that was how I designed my layouts.

And I do love going back through those albums and leafing through the layouts; enjoying the memories they evoke. Bear in mind that I brought up my daughter prior to the advent of digital cameras and as a family we had never been either very good or very prolific photographers. So I don’t have a lot photographs to choose from.

And somewhere along the line, I think it was when I had embraced digital scrapbooking, the artistic side started to kick in. And I found that one photo on my layout gave me the scope to create something that was as much about the design, look and feel, as it was about the story.

Sometimes one photo is enough for the story, if it captures the essence of the moment in, say, your subject’s expression. But often (not always) it’s because it is easier for me to create a pleasing layout design with one photo than with multiples.

Having said that, when I do scrapbook layouts of past events; such as my daughter’s earlier birthdays, I will always use multiple photos, even though they are frequently of shockingly bad quality (even after a bit of work in Photoshop Elements…thank God for the scanner) because those photos have a ‘scarcity’ value.

And I wonder if the sheer volume of photos that we now have at our disposal is a contributing factor to the popularity of the single photo scrapbook layout design. Is the sheer volume of photos making it too hard to select a few and is it, in fact easier to just pick one for your scrapbook layout? Or do we now have so many that we don’t treasure them as much as we used to?

What do you think?

Are you a single photo scrapper or do your layouts usually include multiple photos? Or maybe, like me, you apply each style to different genres of your scrapbooking (does that sound too deep?).

Why do you prefer to design your scrapbook layouts with a single photo or with multiple photos?

Other Related Articles:

Scrapbooking Today versus Yesterday

Scrapbook Journaling with Your Handwriting

Top 10 Scrapbook Ideas to Rekindle Your Scrapbooking Inspiration

Step by Step Digital Scrapbook
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10 Responses to Do you Scrapbook with One or Many Photos?

  1. Maggie July 30, 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    Thanks for your comment on my new blog. How sweet of you!

    I like Ali Edwards blog and Becky Higgins blog, among others because I love how they have taught me to “photoblock” and work creatively with several pictures, while still leaving some “white space” to let the eye rest and recover.

    I am currently putting about 30 pictures on 2 12X12 pages. I am printing smaller and smaller (mostly 2X3–smallerl than wallet size) to save on ink and get one year on about six pages for their school books. Sometimes, I wish I had a larger photo, and will work that in more and more, but I’m learning.

    Maggies last blog post..Getting Ready for School– Survival Skills for Mom

  2. Maggie July 30, 2008 at 11:05 pm #

    I should have linked to my new scrapbooking site…let me try that again!

    Maggies last blog post..Summer Work on Red’s First Grade Pages

  3. Antoinette July 30, 2008 at 11:47 pm #

    I do a bit of both :) Sometimes there are a lot of photos I want to add, but I try to have 1 big photo and the others as small as possible. Other times just the one picture is enough to tell the story and adding more would ruin it. Although I like both styles, somehow the layouts with just 1 photo look “stronger” – not sure how to explain it.

    Antoinettes last blog post..Flaunt Thy Layout

  4. I mix layout types, depending on the situation. When I went to the Antarctica a few years ago, I put at least four photos on each page, because I had so many photos and I couldn’t imagine leaving many of them out. On the other hand, if photos are scarce, of if one photo is particularly meaningful, I use one to a page. For smaller albums (8″ by 8″, for example), I usually use one photo and do at least some of my journaling on the photo in Photoshop.

    For large album, I have sometimes used one large photo and several small ones that support the large one.

  5. karooch July 31, 2008 at 5:47 pm #

    Oh Wow, June! The Antarctica sounds like an incredible experience. I bet you have a sensation album from it.

  6. It was the trip of a lifetime, for sure. I was celebrating a landmark birthday. I have two albums from that journey — both jam packed with memorabilia and photos. I’ve been photographing and posting some of the layouts and embellishments from that trip on my blog. I worry a bit that the colors all look dark and drab when viewed online. The colors of the Antarctica are white, black, blue and gray — so although I tend to favor bright colors, these particular albums are definitely a different color spectrum for me to be working with. I wonder if all scrapbookers lean towards a certain color scheme in many of their albums.

  7. karooch August 1, 2008 at 9:17 am #

    I think many of us do tend to get comfortable with certain color schemes June. I wrote a three part series of articles a few months ago on Scrapbooking Color Schemes to help people in choosing colors out of their comfort zone.

  8. KylieM August 5, 2008 at 3:12 pm #

    Well it has taken me ages to reply to this, I have had it marked as ‘new’ on my bloglines just waiting for me to have a chance! I posted today about it as well. I love scrapping with multiple photos, it doesn’t matter if the shots arent perfect then .. its adds to the fun! You can see from the LO’s on my blog today that sometimes it is impossible to get that perfect shot, but together they make the perfect LO. That being said, I have a number of single shot LO’s that I adore. Ones taken of my kids, in motion, in thought .. just showing their personality. The one thing that I really do detest tho is ‘set up’ photos, that is an action shot that is paused so that a photo can be taken, it looks so fake and I think loses its appeal.

    I also believe that a number of photos can be very strong on a layout, it just depends on the story you are telling, and the layout you use. In the end it is personal preference, this is a hobby, and who says there are rules!?

    Thanks again Karen for a wonderful article.

  9. karooch August 5, 2008 at 8:35 pm #

    Very definitely this is a hobby Kylie. And the only rules are the ones you choose yourself. But it’s always interesting to share our different opinions. And it’s nice that we do have different opinions I think, otherwise all scrapbookers would be clones…yuk.


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