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How to make a timeless photo scrapbook

4 minute read

A photo scrapbook doesn’t have to be crafty – it can be as creative or practical as you want it to be. Here’s why you should start one and how to make it work.

The idea of a photo scrapbook isn’t remotely appealing to some, but in reality, it doesn’t have to mean breaking out the glitter glue – not if you don’t want to. Making a scrapbook can be yet another creative venture to pursue, or it can be a simple way to keep cherished memories, a practical tool that can benefit your photography, a photo project – and much more.

The first step is choosing a book. You could take the creative approach and get something with enough space for all the additions you want, or you could keep it simple with a hardback notebook. At the extremes, you could go completely DIY and make a book from scratch, or you could limit it to a binder with a plastic wallet to store photos. Buying a photo album to fill is also an option.

When you have your photo scrapbook, you’ll need some photos, and that means printing. There are many options when it comes to printing your photos – so many in fact that we wrote a whole feature about it.

You can print your digital photos at home or on the high street. If you shoot film, you can have prints made at the time of developing. You can even shoot on an instant camera for immediate physical photos.


Photo scrapbook

Image In her scrapbook, Photography News’s Jemma included a mix of instant photos and prints from her digital camera. Credit: Jemma Dodd


Whatever type of book and photos you have, it only becomes a photo scrapbook when you start to do more with them. And when it comes to that, you really are spoilt for choice, no matter your tastes.

The simplest thing you can do is break out a pen and start writing. Creatively, you could write about almost anything you want, like the people in the photos, or the moment it was taken and what you want to remember about that time. Practically, you could take a few notes for future use, like your camera’s settings, the conditions of the day, or what you think worked and didn’t work about the photo and the shoot.

There are also options when it comes to how you write in your photo scrapbook. Use the writing for artistic effect if you want to, or simply make a few notes on the back of the print and drop it in your folder.

The next thing to do is make additions. Again, this can be as creative or as practical as you like. You can add pure decoration, a memento like a pressed flower or another object from the time and place, or even a news clipping for context. Include an envelope or other means of holding objects, then add things that were important to you at the time, or maybe a map to mark specific places you’ve shot. It’s in doing all of these things that you start to create something uniquely yours, no matter its purpose.

Ultimately, that’s the real joy of a photo scrapbook. It’s not necessarily the fun of the creative process, it’s not just the practical benefit that it may have on your photography – it’s making something that lasts, and with real significance. After all, isn’t that what photography is all about?


Image On this page, Jemma has included a map of the area and souvenirs from hotels and restaurants alongside her photos. Credit: Jemma Dodd


For more tips, techniques and guides, take a look at our Inspiration section. You’ll find everything from how to make a joiner photo to the laws of street photography.

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