Sep 8, 2008

Back-to-Basics: Cropping

I thought occasionally I'd blog about some scrapbooking basics. Lots of you are experienced scrappers, but I know there are a few beginners out there as well. Hopefully even the experienced scrappers can glean something from the information I share. And as always, I'm open to any suggestions, tips, or techniques you've picked up and would like to share.

Trimming your photographs is one of the first things that most scrapbookers are taught. At first, it seems difficult to do. Cut my pictures? You've got to be kidding. But, we do this for several reasons. The first of which is that allows you to fit more pictures on the page. It can also create a focal point for your page and removes distracting or unnecessary background images.

When I first started scrapbooking, back in the early '90s the trend was to crop your photos into unique shapes; circles and ovals were the most popular, but it wasn't unusual to see hexagons, hearts, and even stars. The current trend is focused less on the shape of your photograph and more on the quality of the photo. Close-up photos are very popular. You can achieve this look by cropping them closely even if the original photography wasn't close-up. It is especially easy to do this with digital photos. You can crop and enlarge them on the computer before you ever print them.

Tip: This may be personal preference, but when cropping photos, avoid using decorative scissors. The fancy edge draws your eye away from the photo and becomes distracting. Instead, use the decorative scissors to cut mats for your photos from complimentary colors of cardstock. This allows you to still have the decorative edge, without taking away from the photo itself.

When cropping photos, show only the most important parts of the picture. There are several different cropping techniques you can use. You can use scrapbook templates, silhouetting--cutting around the main subject, or bumping part of the picture out beyond the “frame”. Feet, hands, hats, balloons, are ideal. You are limited only by your imagination. Remember, to not overuse unique cropping techniques. They stand out and you don't want them to become common throughout your scrapbook or they lose their appeal.

Cropping effects are a great scrapbooking technique to add character and personality to a page. However, try not to go overboard. It is easy to fall victim to wanting new and exciting effects on every page. Remember you want to get your pictures into a safe album with journaling--not waiting in boxes for years while you cut paper into intricate shapes for every single shot!


Tristi Pinkston said...

I agree with your comment about not using the decorative scissors on the photo itself -- great advice.

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