Why Your Photo Library Trumps Scrapbooking
By DS101 on in Perspective with No Comments
I am still organizing my photos. I keyword and caption images at least weekly, daily if I can find the time. I also have a backlog of photos and information dating clear back to the 1800′s to scan and organize. It may seem overwhelming, but one step at a time I am making progress.
I love this system! Every time I go through a month’s worth of photos with captions, keywords and ratings – I feel relief. I no longer feel the stress of trying to stay “caught up” with all my scrapbooks.
The reality is that when you record the caption to a photo – the memories and the why – along with keywords to identify Who, What, Where and When – you have almost everything anyone will need to know why that image was important to you. Ratings are icing on the cake – they will tell future generations which photos you liked the most while the captions will tell them why.
Honest question – if you could be given ten scrapbooks with 25 layouts each, and a decent amount of journaling OR a digital library of 21,000 images (each with journaling, keywords and ratings) which would you choose?
I can see the appeal of the scrapbook and yet I would choose the digital library EVERY TIME. Let me explain.
This layout was created a year ago with lots of different photos of mine and my best friend’s children. It is a layout that captures the essence of the many things we did that day and it basically says that time with friends is wonderful.
Yet when I peek into my photo library I learn much more…
The story behind the milk cow that inexplicably licked my friends daughter over and over. My feelings about a friendship of over 20 years, the reason one child isn’t smiling in a photo, thoughts on the bond between my twins, and more. There are literally 9 different stories for the photos in this layout.
I may not have the time to scrap 9 different stories right now, but with captions recorded in my photo files in my photo library, I am ready to do so with the “in the moment” thoughts of my heart thanks to my system. It takes a LOT less time to record the caption to a photo than it does to create a layout.
Now don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of layouts I have that document the story -
This layout tells the story of the first day of school. I love it. However, if I adopted the workflow that all my stories should be told in my scrapbook layouts, I’d lose the opportunity to preserve those stories with the photo files.
So yes – it is WONDERFUL to tell your stories in your layouts. However, I think we sometimes forget that scrapbooking is a CREATIVE PROCESS. You can alleviate a lot of the stress of being creative while trying to find space for journaling by simply recording the stories in your photo files. That way when your creativity is sparked – you can go back to your photo library reservoir of memories and tell the story just like it happened yesterday or leave the journaling off the layout and save it to the file in other ways.
A lot of people tell me I think to far in the future. I have to say it is because of this woman:
This is my great-great-great Grandmother Mary Taylor Simmons Robinson. I first heard her story when I was 18 years old. She traveled from England all the way to the United States and walked across the plains until her legs were frozen black all the way to her knees. Along the trail she lost a child, her husband, and her parents.
I often have wondered what kept her going. For years all we had of her were a few photos like the one above and this photo of the tiny cabin she lived in next to my great-great grandfather’s home.
Yet even with these photos (where everyone was identified in the photo), I still was left to wonder until 2002, when an amazing set of circumstances led our little family to stay with my grandmother for five months. In those five months I was given more pieces of my family history - which included several handwritten letters to my great-great grandfather from Mary in the late 1800′s.
The photos are beautiful, but it is the details recorded in these letters that are the treasure to me. Stories of the everyday – recipes for herbal remedies – thoughts on daughter in laws and more.
So yes, I may look too far in the future but how can’t I? Looking back to my family in the 1800′s has given me a perspective I can’t shake. I think of the questions I would love to ask Mary if I had twenty minutes. Am I answering them today for those who will follow me? Keeping a photo library with detailed captions, ratings and keywords with BACKUP seems to be a wonderful way to do just that.
Don’t get me wrong, I still scrapbook quite a lot – and yes I still tell my stories in my layouts. However, with the way my workflow is now, I don’t stress quite as much about journaling in my layouts when the stories are embedded in my photo files with my Lightroom Library. I am FREE to create layouts however I want – following my heart.
When I follow my heart there is bliss in creativity. How about you?