This is a guest post from team member Ronnie Crowley.

When I was a paper scrapper 90% of the time I would start with a sketch. I had several books and I would save binders of sketches by number of photos. When I started digital scrapbooking it wasn’t really a big change for me to use templates as a base of a layout. In actuality, it was even easier once you know how to clip papers to layers.

My work flow though doesn’t start with a template. I first have to choose the pictures I’m working with and the way I do this is a skill I learned in a class with Katie Nelson (aka Katie the Scrapbook Lady). Her class isn’t currently available but if it ever runs again I would highly recommend it. The class was called Power Scrapping – Digi Style. Power Scrapping was something I first came across in my early days as a paper scrapper with Creative Memories but it was never something I had done. Katie’s class was an eye opener. Now when I am working on a project with lots of photos, it is the method I use.

The basic idea is to collect your pictures into folders for each layout your planning on doing. For the Italy trip I’ve been working on recently, I have the following structure set up. (click photos to enlarge)

You can see I have separated my folders into the locations. Some of these have been divided even further when I wanted to do more than one layout for that place. You can also see some of the folder names have the word scrapped against them.This is how I record when I’m done.

When I have a moment to scrapbook I open a folder and see how many pictures I have. I then open the Elements Organizer. (I currently use Photoshop Elements to organize my supplies but you could do this is whatever system you use.) In my organization structure I have a tag for templates – so I can find just all my templates.

Under the template tag I have my templates tagged by number of pictures. I can drill down to the templates with the correct number of pictures.

I can then scan through these and find the template I want to use.

Once I have my template I add the pictures. (Editor’s Note: Here’s a video tutorial on using templates.) The rest of my work flow is pretty basic. I start with papers, selecting them using the colors from my pictures. The beauty with digital scrapbooking is I can switch paper in and out until I’m happy.

When I’m not scrapping for a specific designer I like to pick and choose from my whole collection of supplies, mixing and matching from different designers. If I decide I want a red paper I would search under my tag for red. Sometimes the selection of my papers will lead me to embellishments within a kit that I want to use, but other times when I’m ready to embellish I will look for them under my tags for color and type – say red buttons.

Once all my papers and embellishments are added, I have one final step before I save my layout for printing. I go through each layer of my layout and check the shadows. In my mind shadows are what make a digital layout and so this last step is very important. When I’m doing this I’m checking that the angles are all working and are consistent. I also check that the blend mode used is consistent.

Remember that any work flow is constantly a work in progress. As I develop and change as a scrapbooker I will tweak my work flow to develop it further. If you come back in twelve months I’m sure I’ll be doing something different. There is no right or wrong way; there is just the way that works for you.

Is your process similar to or different from Ronnie’s? Share in the comments.