Get back to basics with photo albums

by | Scrapbooking Ideas | 8 comments

Think back to 2, 10, even 20 years ago. Were you scrapping then? I bet, for most of you, the answer is no. But what came before scrapbooking?

Sometimes its a challenge to think about a time before we coupled art with our photos. For me (and many of you), memory keeping “back then” was centered on simple pocket photo albums or even those sticky page albums.

We took rolls of film, had the photos printed and then stuck the images in albums — even the completely blurry ones! Our digital world now has us operating at the other end of the spectrum. We edit readily, delete frequently and all too often do not print our photos.

What if that changed?

We can get so caught up, stressed even, in our little world of scrapbooking, that it is easy to lose sight of basic approaches to the same goal. We must ask if we can bring more value and a deeper sense of simplicity to our memory keeping. Is it possible to reduce the fuss?

Today it is easier than ever to bring storytelling to photo albums as well as mesh printed images with scrapbook layouts. Traditional 3-ring binder-style albums have also reached incredible heights of style. So long black pleather!

Super easy journaling

You might be thinking that photo albums are so far from scrapbooking, because they lack the written (or type) word. Nix that idea – because it just isn’t so. New products allow you to easily journal on or next to your photos.

You’re likely already family with the top quality digital products from Ali Edwards. However, if you’re a digi-only scrapbooker, you might not have thought of them in this way. Ali’s overlays are excellent tools to combine journaling with printed photos – which is exactly how she uses them!

An even more bare-bones approach comes from Pioneer, one of the top manufacturers of photo and scrapbook albums. A large portion of their photo album pages contain slips of paper for journaling next to, above or below your pictures. You can even get creative by replacing these strips with your journaling printed on a favorite colored card stock!

Mix & match

Scrapbooking doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing. The market is now flush with products to help you pair photo prints (or cropped images) with your scrapbook pages.

American Crafts stocks 12×12 pages that hold 12 (front and back) 4×6 photos and We R Memory Keepers recently launched a whole new line of multi-photo pages for 12×12 and 8.5×11 albums.

These products are opening up so many possibilities for new modes of hybrid scrapbooking.

Trend watch

All the pretty colors and patterns are a core attraction factor in scrapbooking. It’s possible to bring the same level of style to your albums with Rag & Bone Photo Binders. These albums hold four 4×6 photos per sheet.

As you examine your overall strategy for memory keeping, I urge you to consider how traditional photo albums might fit into your world. Are there opportunities to find more time? Photo albums, especially with all the modern bells and whistles, provide a great, no-fuss option for helping you stay caught up!

I’m thinking more along these lines – because I just can’t scrap everything. What about you? How are you using photo albums as part of your memory keeping process?

This post kicks of my new series: 21 ways to tell your story. Throughout March, I’ll be sharing fresh perspective on a multitude of approaches for documentation and honoring your memories.

Did you find this post helpful?

We believe simple is not how your page looks, but how your scrapbooking hobby works. We have a free workshop called SPARKED and it is the best way to learn more about Simple Scrapper and start creating consistently.


  1. Laura

    I have only been scrapbooking a couple years; before that it’s all photo albums. I haven’t stopped keeping the photo albums up to date; I scrap the photos I love and get prints of many of those as well as others for the albums. The kids love the plain albums from when they were little, and I saw no reason to stop maintaining them just because I’m now scrapping a lot of our photos. Why not have both?

  2. Christine

    I’m not a chronological scrapper, so there’s not really a state of being “caught up” with my scrapping. But I do love the idea of getting photos printed again and putting them into albums, so that we can look at them offline. The photo album idea would work especially well for vacations or family get-togethers.

  3. Dawn

    Does anyone know where you can find landscape oriented page protectors 11×8.5?

    • Jennifer

      I don’t know of any off-hand Dawn, but I will keep my eye out!

  4. Melody

    Thank you for this. Fresh ideas. Great reminders. Are you going to do a post on the different photo book options during this series? That would be lovely!

    • Jennifer


  5. DrGranma

    You don’t mention the need for archival quality materials. I would like your comments on the need for archival materials using photo albums.

    • Jennifer

      To me, the use of archival quality materials is a given in this day and age. It is my understanding that any new products you buy for photos or scrapbooking should be safe.

      This is a great topic though, so thanks! I’ll do some more research on this and share what I find in a future post.


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