Tips for Scrapbooking Heritage Photos

Jennifer Wilson

I’m your guide here at Simple Scrapper. Our community helps people find what fills you up and fits your life in memory keeping.

August 29, 2012

I am delighted to be sharing with you today some tips on a topic that is near and dear to my heart – Scrapbooking heritage photos easily and in your own style.

I know all too well that scrapbooking those piles of older photos can seem like a daunting task. The topic of Heritage Photos has been covered wide and large by various blogs (including our own Jean Manis – Scrapbooking Your Family History), but today we will discuss a few ways in which you can simplify the process.

I dug through my piles of completed pages, and asked the other Design Team members to do the same, and we came up with this list of tips that will surely have you getting those older photos scrapped in no time.

7 Tips for Scrapbooking with Older Photos

  • Use products you already have on hand.  I find that one of the most common impulses when starting to document older photos is to go out and buy an entirely new set of products. However, by using your already existing stash you not only save yourself some money but also keep the process simple. Sue Althouse says, “when using older black and white photos, you have the freedom to choose any colors you want!”

layout by Lisa Corbin-Polak

layout by Michele Holcomb

layout by Pam Lozano

  • Use patterned papers with a cream colored base. Most vintage inspired lines have that yellowed or faded look which helps the composition because the colors don’t compete with the colors in the photos. However, you can achieve this with newer products too, as long as you remember this cardinal rule.

layout by Sue Althouse

layout by Pam Lozano

  • Use darker backgrounds. Setting up the entire layout on a black, dark grey or brown background to bring your photo to life. Sue Althouse says, “I think the black background really helps everything pop!”

layout by Margrethe Aas Johnsen

layout by Sue Althouse

  • Always scan your photos. Although this is a must for digital scrappers, both paper and digital scrappers can benefit from this tip. Having a digital copy of your photo frees you to re-size or crop them to fit chosen sketches or highlight certain elements. Sue Althouse recommends, “Don’t be afraid to crop older photos, but leave some background detail. That old couch may bring back memories!” And as Ronnie Crowley suggests, “ scan the pictures so you don’t have to worry about ruining originals. Then there is less pressure.”

layout by Jean Manis

layout by Sue Althouse

layout by Ronnie Crowley

  • Distress edges. Even plain products can feel vintage if you distress the edge a little for that aged look that won’t compete with your photos. Jean Manis says, “use a mask with a distressed edge to fade a large heritage photo on the page”.

layout by Lisa Corbin-Polak

layout by Ronnie Crowley

  • Don’t worry if you don’t know the story. Sometimes we come across older photos we love but are afraid to scrap because we don’t know the story or don’t have a story at all. Just remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. Let the photos themselves tell the story. Or alternatively journal about something related to the timeframe of the photos although not specifically related to the photos.

layout by Margrethe Aas Johnsen

layout by Pam Lozano

  • Stay true to your style. Keep it simple.  You don’t have to re-invent the wheel when scrapbooking with older photos. The style you use for all your other photos will honor these special photos in much the same way and you will feel a lot less stress. Use sketches often to simplify the process. And remember to have fun!

The following page was created incorporating these tips. You can read more about the process on my blog.

I hope you will take our invitation to start diving into that pile of older photos and create pages that

Do you regularly scrap older, vintage or heritage photos?

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  1. Lisa H

    There are some super reminders here for picking up those photos and just going for it! Thanks for giving me some inspiration! And what a wonderful collection of gorgeous layouts – there’s a few there that really speak to me. Love how Pam just does her own thing in such an artistic way and still lets those gorgeous vintage memories shine bold. She knows I’m a HUGE fan 🙂

  2. Melissa Shanhun

    No regularly, but occasionally

    I love the bright colours with heritage pics 🙂 Something I’ll try!

  3. Lili dAix

    Merci beaucoup pour ces précieux conseils.

  4. Elissa

    I love the layouts, they are just beautiful. I am now inspired to do some more of my own heritage photos.


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