How to organize photos for scrapbooking in 3 easy steps.

Before you start – are your photos already organized in chronological order? If not, you may want to read 5 tips for organizing your printed photos. If your photos are digital, take a couple of minutes and read 4 tips for organizing digital photos.

Step 1 – Decisions, decisions…

Getting your brain on board with organizing your photos for a scrapbooking project is the first step. Your brain LOVES to know the rules or limits and it loves to have a plan. Decisions become much simpler when there are guidelines to follow. In order to simplify the process of organizing photos for scrapbooking, you need to decide a couple of things.

First, – How many photos will you put on a page? This isn’t a set-in-stone rule, it’s a guideline. I scrap 12×12 so I allow myself to choose 6 photos for each page I’m planning to create. This is true regardless of the event, trip, holiday or theme I’m scrapping. You may decide that 8 photos are your guideline or that 4 photos are your guideline.

Second, – How many pages will you create for that event, trip, holiday…etc? Before you can start sorting photos for a scrapbooking project, you’ll first want to decide how many pages you’re going to create and what the theme for each page is going to be. As an example, if I’m going to scrap a Disney trip, I might decide the themes I’m going to scrap about will be; Travel to Disneyland, Characters, Rides, The Parade, Hanging out at the Hotel, Travel home, Snapshots.

Once I’ve chosen the themes, I’ll decide how many pages I’ll do for each theme.

Travel to Disney – 2
Characters – 4
Rides – 4
The Parade – 2
Hanging out at the Hotel – 2
Travel Home – 2
Snapshots – 4
An additional benefit to planning this way, is that you’ll have a much better idea of how much paper you need for backgrounds. I try to stay consistent with background paper so the person who is looking at my scrapbooks has a strong sense of the continuity of the story.

Step 2 – Choose the photos

Now that you know how many photos you need to choose for each theme in your project, it’s time to start sorting photos.

I find it helpful to create some sorting templates for each theme. That will allow me to sort pictures by theme quickly.

After I’ve done the initial sort I’ll go through each pile and choose the number of pictures I need to complete the pages. If I stick with the Disney example above, I’ll choose the following;

Travel to Disney – 2 pages, 12 photos
Characters – 4 pages, 24 photos
Rides – 4 pages, 24 photos
The Parade – 2, 12 photos
Hanging out at the Hotel – 2, 12 photos
Travel Home – 2, 12 photos
Snapshots – 4, 24 photos
The “Snapshot” pages are a way for me to include some of my favorite photos that don’t really fit in with any of the themes I’ve chosen. I usually put the “snapshot” pages at the end of each section I’m scrapping. I even do this at the end of each year. These pages go together quickly and are just “fun”.

Another example for setting up “themes” would be around a holiday, Christmas, – themes might be Christmas Party, Shopping, Decorations/Trimming the tree, Christmas Eve, Unwrapping Gifts, Christmas Dinner.

These guidelines are just that, guidelines. If you decide on your themes and then realize that there are a few more themes you want to add in, you can always do that, you might have forgotten that you spent a day at the waterpark when you went to Disneyland – it’s easy to add that theme in as your sorting photos.

Step 3 – Store your photos until you’re ready to scrap them

Choose a storage tool that allows you to keep your photos organized the same way you will “scrap” them.

Once I’ve sorted my photos for scrapbooking I’ll either store them in a Fab File (if it’s going to be a while until I get to them), or in a Project Planner Binder if I’m going to be working on them in the near future. (For more details on each of the products discussed below – read The best products for organizing photos and how/when to use them.)

Fab Files keep your photos grouped together by event and theme. The reusable file folders allow you to easily label photos and include a few notes as well. One of the biggest benefits to Fab Files is that they are small which means they are easy to grab off the shelf, they’re easy to travel with, and they take up a small amount of space on your work surface.

Project Planner Binders are the next step – I’ll use one of these binders when I’m putting everything together for an album – photos, mementos, journaling notes and occasionally some “special” papers or embellishments that I’ll ONLY use for those pages.

I like to use the ScrapRack Perfect Six page for organizing photos by layout. Each pocket on a Perfect Six page will hold up to 6 photos. I use each “row” of pockets to represent a double-page spread.

Perfect Six ScrapRack Storage Page P43

I keep the pages in a 12×12 Craft Binder. I can also add in Expanding Project Planners for mementos and other ScrapRack pages for “special” papers and embellishments. When I’m ready to scrap that event, I can grab the binder and know I have everything together to complete the project.

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Thanks so much for stopping by today!

5 Responses to How to organize photos for scrapbooking in 3 easy steps.

    • Where is the download for the sheet called “Event Details” you can use to describe your photos and the dates to match the pix

      • The download is available in the Get Organized Challenge Class #7 page (Mementos and Holding Album creation). Here’s a link to the document: /wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Event-Details-and-Information-2019.pdf

  1. So – does this mean that you never print any sized photos other than 6 x 4? 6 photos per page seems like a lot – especially when the style now days seems to be one photo and tons of layers and embellishments. Just curious, thanks

    • Hi Debbie –
      I generally print everything in 4×6 and occasionally will print something larger if I have a plan for the particular photo in a larger format – I might print a larger photo of the whole family outside the gates to Disneyland and then use that photo as the first page or the last page from our Disney trip. I choose 6 photos per page because that is the “maximum” number of 4×6 photos you can fit on a 12×12 page. I rarely use all 6.
      I know putting 1 photo on a page is a trend, but I use my scrapbooks more for family history and remembering people, places and events – so it is very unusual for me to put just 1 photo on a page.
      I think that’s just a personal preference/style. I try to keep the number of pages I create for an event to a maximum of 12 pages (6 double page spreads) – it seems that people get bored looking at page after page of the same event. Again, a personal preference, but as an example I went on a cruise 10 day cruise with my mom – I only did 1 single page for each port of call – so the whole cruise section of my scrapbook worked out to just 5 double page spreads – or 10 singles. I’m not saying this is the best way, or even a good way – it’s just my way. 🙂

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