If you have stumbled across this article on your quest to answer the question, “Should I really go digital?” then you may want to continue reading. Scrapbooking took the world by storm in the 1990s, and it’s not going away. Maybe you’ve never scrapbooked in your life. Maybe you’ve been paper scrapping for years. But whatever your background, going digital might be the best thing that ever happened to you. So if you aren’t sure if you should take the plunge, here are my top ten reasons why it’s worth it:
- COST – Plainly put, it’s cheaper. That doesn’t mean there is NO cost, but the cost is considerably less, and there is MUCH LESS WASTE. There are paper scrappers out there with entire rooms devoted to the hobby. People who purchase every pair of funky scissors, every ribbon color, 12×12 papers stacked to kingdom come, gadgets for wire wrapping, chalking, cutting, and gluing. Scrapping comes with more stuff than a set of twins (trust me on this) and is almost as expensive. Most of the things those gadgets could do can be performed quickly by using Photoshop. One program that does pretty much everything. Your cost is now this: Buy Photoshop, which is a one-time purchase, and you are done–though you may want to upgrade every five years or so. You buy kits for about $2-6 apiece, and they never run out and can be reused over and over again. You print your pages–either through a company or at home. It’s that simple—no more trips to the scrapbooking store. Buy online and have it instantly. No, digital isn’t by any means free, but it’s so much cheaper, easier, and more convenient.
- SPACE – Paper scrapping is a mess. You know this. You cart everything around in your big bag, pull it all out, get it all started, and then what happens? Junior wakes up from his nap. The doorbell rings. Hubby comes home. And then, it’s time to make your decision: clean it all up, or leave it and hope you can get back to it before the children destroy it. Or, maybe you are one of those lucky, slightly obsessed people that have devoted an entire room of your house to scrapbooking. Really? A whole room devoted to a HOBBY? Digital scraping solves all these problems. Now you can sit at your computer, pull up all the files you need like your pictures, kits, etc., and when junior wakes up from his nap, all you have to do is walk away from your computer. No mess. Now you can convert that scrap room into something else–a home office with an awesome computer, maybe?
- NO FEAR– You can make mistakes–and you can undo them. Once you cut that picture in paper scrapping, you are committed. Fixing such an error would involve keeping your negatives or going to a store to print another copy or using expensive ink and photo paper to print it at home. If you don’t like it, you are stuck. Digital means no more indecisiveness or fear that you will mess it up or not like it. Digital lets you try it and try it again. And if you don’t like it, you can go in a completely different direction. You are not cutting up originals, and you do not have to get original printed from your already digital pictures. Most of my originals from high school are now cut up into stupid shapes and covered with stickers. I am so upset about that. With digital, you aren’t messing with originals. You can always go back. And, as most people are using digital cameras anyway, you won’t have to print individual pictures if you go digital. You can pull them right in from your computer.
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- RESIZING – When paper scrapping first came out, the powers that beset the standard size page as 12×12. This was necessary since printed pictures are usually 4×6, and you need the space to accommodate them. With digital, this is no longer a limitation. You can now resize your pictures doing entire pages with one large picture or squeezing 20 small ones on a page if you want. You no longer HAVE to stick to that 12×12 size. It’s still standing, but many digital scrappers are now printing on 10×10’s or 8×8’s, which are cheaper to print. I do 8 1/2 x 11–a size that drove me CRAZY in my paper scrapping days because I felt so limited. But with the ability to resize your photos, you have a lot more versatility in your layouts.
- LEARNING A SKILL – I started using Photoshop, not for digital scrapbooking, but photography. I then just gradually picked up the scrapbooking stuff. And now I use this program every day for digital scrapbooking, work projects, social engagements, and as favors for friends. Yes, the program is daunting. Yes, it’s a little pricey. Yes, it will take you time and effort to learn it. BUT–remember that learning this program is a marketable skill that can be used in many other areas of your life. It’s the kind of thing you can put on a resume. It’s the kind of thing that can help you professionally. It will help you with your general computer skills and make you more proficient on the internet in the computer world, something else you can put on your resume! This program is so versatile it can become something you do every day and something your work comes to rely on you for. That’s how it’s been for me! There are tons of tutorials online, free and paid, that will help you learn.
- PORTABILITY – Some might argue that digital scrapping is less portable than paper. And it’s true that if you don’t have a laptop, they are right–you’re stuck in your office. But if you DO have a laptop–trust me. It’s much easier to carry around a laptop than one of those big old scrapbooking bags. I store all of my kits on an external hard drive–kind of a necessity after a while, anyway, because they take up a lot of space. If I want to scrap with friends, I bring my laptop and the hard drive. That’s it. And YES, you CAN have the same copy of Photoshop on two different computers, as long as you are the sole user of the program. So if you buy it, you can install it on your home computer and your laptop and not feel guilty or break any laws.
- PHOTO EDITING – Photoshop allows you to “fix” or improve your photos before committing them to a page. If they are dark, out of focus, need to be repaired–you can do all of that in Photoshop. I lighten nearly every picture I use (clearly, I need a better flash!) The better you get at the program, the more you will learn to help you do everything from changing your photos to a black and white or sepia tone to editing out backgrounds or fixing tears or yellowing. You can also use those techniques to recolor any element or paper you are using to match your color scheme.
- PRINTING – Printing can be looked at as one of the downsides of digital scrapbooking–it’s a necessary expense, and it can be the most expensive part of the whole process. But with it comes a great deal of versatility in how you want your books to look. Personally, I wouldn’t say I liked the big thick books that were so hard to store and look through. Fancy scrapbooking elements made my pages thick and bulky, and finding storage space for completed books is a challenge. I like the slim look of a professionally bound book. But if you really enjoy paper scrapping, you don’t have to switch entirely. You can still print your pages on 12×12’s, then slip them into slipcovers in your thick books right along with paper scrapped pages. There are simply a lot more options when you do it digitally.
- MULTIPLE COPIES – When you paper scrap, making the second copy of a page is time-consuming and boring. Digitally, you can print another copy. So when you do books for each child, for example, you can put the same page in each of their books with very little effort on your part. Or you can change it just slightly for each. I’m having twins, and I plan on having many of the pages in their books be similar–same wording and pictures, perhaps, but using different colors or just changing the title from one twin’s name to the other. If you do your books in a bound book, you can order another copy. I made an ABC book for my daughter in October, and it just got water all over it. I love knowing that I can go online and order it again. Or I can go in and update it (which I plan to do after the twins get here) and then order the newer version. Can you imagine replacing a paper-scrapped book that was destroyed by water? It would be absolutely devastating!
- SHARING ONLINE – Digital pages are so easy to share with friends and family. You can put upload them to a blog, Facebook, or a website with very little effort. Trust me; it’s much easier than trying to scan in a 12×12 layout! Many websites where you print your books have features to give the URL to friends and family, and they can actually flip through the book online. They can even order it–say you create a book about Great Grandma Martha–they can go to the company you are printing it and purchase their own copy. Many digital scrappers don’t print at all–they share their pages online through various mediums, which is satisfying enough.