I was a scrapbooker before "scrapbooker" was a noun or "scrapbook" was a verb. From the very first time that I held a camera in my hand at age 8, I have been putting my photos and memories into albums and scrapbooks but with the advent of new technology, I have added video slideshows and photo books to my presentation medium. If you browse through my books through the years, you'll see that my style has evolved. It has also changed with the introduction of new tools. The thing that stays the same about whatever method I chose is that I have enjoyed the product of my work, and I have enjoyed the process of creating it. That's why I have made my last scrapbook.
I have found that I am a much better artist when I am using digital tools. With a photo book or video slideshow, I can try things out and wait to publish until I have things just right. With a scrapbook, my thoughts after finishing a spread could be amazement or disappointment. I think my main problem is that I just can't visualize what I want to do. I go by trial and error to see what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm not. With my last book, working with paper and adhesives and cutting things was just plain tedious -- tedious and not fun anymore.
From scrapbook to digital photo bookI'm making a photo book right now of our activities out at our hobby farm. I am enjoying the process of trying different layouts, backgrounds and adding embellishments at the click of a mouse. (I never used embellishments in my scrapbooks.) I find that I'm doing more journaling, providing lots more detail about our activities as I'm creating the book. For me, journaling in my scrapbooks was an afterthought.
This Farm Journal photo book is something that I have already recorded in two video slideshows. I made the videos in 2010 and uploaded to YouTube in October of that year. There are about 170 views on each of them as I write this and I'm sure that my husband was 150 of those. He has them bookmarked and he pulls them up to enjoy from time to time. I don't think the photo book that I'm making is going to replace the experience of watching the season go by in a video slideshow. So why am I making it?
Photo book vs. video slideshow
First of all, in the photo book I'm using more pictures. In the video slideshow, I used the photos that would best tell the story and illustrate the progression of time from planting the vines through to the end of the growing season. I have more photos, especially of people that I want to be able to look at that aren't in the slideshow.
Second, I'm providing more detail with text. I know that I can add captions to any part of the video but I think the purpose of the slideshow is to portray the visual story. Because it doesn't go into detail, the video slideshow is great for sharing. Everyone doesn't want to see every picture or learn about every part of the story. If a viewer is interested in learning more, they can ask us. Then we can take them to the photo book.
Along those same lines, the photo book is going to elicit more conversation. The conversation may just be between my husband and myself but when we're looking through the book we can stop and reminisce. We can ask and answer questions. We can linger. It's just a different experience from watching a video. How many times have you read a book and watched the movie and thought that the book had so much more?
You should enjoy the process
For people who like to handle tangible tools and materials, and create something that doesn't include a screen, traditional scrapbooking will never go out of style. Whatever medium you choose, you absolutely need to enjoy the process. I view it as therapy (see Photo Therapy) If you don't enjoy it, you might as well throw your prints into an album or do the quick wizard with your photo book or video, or leave your photos on your hard drive. Whatever direction you decide to go, chances are good that one day something will happen that will cause you to want to look back at the photos and videos that record your life. That will be the time that you pull out your scrapbooks, your photo books and your videos. And if you don't have any, that might be the day that you start.