STORY ARCS FOR VACATION ALBUMS
WORDS BY DEBBIE HODGE
When you get ready to scrapbook an album of your vacation memories, there are multiple ways to tell your story. Consciously choosing an approach will give you a structure for planning—and finishing!—a complete vacation album.
Consider these types of story-arcs for scrapbooking vacations:
*A road-trip that takes you to a series of stops lends itself well to chronological scrapbooking.
*If you travel instead to one spot and just enjoy that place—perhaps journeying out only for limited sightseeing—try a category approach to planning your album.
*It’s possible that a combination of categories and chronology works best for your particular trip. If, for example, you take a guided tour, going on excursions and then returning back to a “base” location, you could chronicle the stops on the tour chronologically and then weave in category pages about the constants like your cruise ship or tour group as well as the stories of interesting incidents.
*If you’re someone who doesn’t like a lot of structure and prefers to record your travel experiences in more relaxed way, consider creating layouts that record impressions, stories, companions, and moments. Put together a collage of layouts that reveal the whole without relying on over-thinking.
Below I share the step-by-step processes for planning albums organized chronologically and around categories.
TELL IT CHRONOLOGICALLY
This is a good approach for a ”road-trip” type of vacation. A “road-trip” vacation is not necessarily a literal trip in a car on a road or highway. The “road-trip” vacation is one that takes you to a series of what may be quite different locales over the course of one trip. Read on for the process.
1. REVIEW YOUR PHOTOS
Review the chronology of your trip by pulling out your stack of photos or bringing up the folder of photos in your photo browser on the computer.
2. MAKE AN INDEX CARD FOR EACH "STOP" ON THE TRIP
Label an index card for each “stop” on the trip. Lay out the index cards in a column in chronological order of the trip.
1. REVIEW THE "STOPS"
Look over these cards, and ask yourself:
* Does everything need to be scrapbooked? If not, pull those stop cards and toss.
* Are there points at which chronology doesn’t matter? For example, if you did a couple of different activities in a particular town, you might want all of those pages NEAR each other in the album, but you don’t necessarily need them in the exact order in which they happened. Breaking from strict chronology gives you some flexibility when it comes to fitting in one- and two-pagers. For any of those situations, put all of those cards in a row together.
* Are there repeat visits to a location that could be scrapbooked together on a page? Maybe you made two outings to a particular beach and don’t have any stories to set one visit off from the other in any remarkable way. Pull (and toss) those cards—but make sure to write their stop description on the other card that it’ll combine with.
* Are there “onesies” (or twosies or threesies)–photos that don’t merit their own page but that you could group together? Again, consolidate those events and discard extra cards—or make a new card for each “collection” page that occurs to you.
4. MAKE AN INDEX CARD FOR EACH LAYOUT YOU'LL MAKE
Grab another stack of index cards (if they’re a different color from those you just used-great!). Label one card “Opener” and put it at the top of a new column. Label one “Closer” and put it at the bottom of that column.
Work your way through the “stop” cards you’ve already made, and label a new card for each scrapbook page you plan to make. If it’s going to be a two-page layout, use two cards. Label each card with a “holding-place” page-title–something that identifies the page but that may change. Place these cards in their own column (between the “opener” and “closer” cards) in the approximate order they’ll appear in the album.
Be sure to plan for layouts that tell specific stories from the trip – anecdotes, funny or telling incidents, stories you just want to remember. Keep an eye out for photos that would work well on your album opener and closer pages.
Note: this is a “plan.” It’s a guide to get you started and to keep you creating. It’s all subject to change, though, and you’ll probably made adjustments to the plan as you proceed. That’s why we’re using these cards—they’re easy to re-order, toss, or create new.
As you work through your photos and get ready to make pages, make notes about memories, memorabilia, weather, colors – anything that occurs to you.
5. MAKE SCRAPBOOK PAGES AND USE THE CARDS TO MANAGE HOW THEY'LL COME TOGETHER IN THE ALBUM
As you make pages, keep a card to represent each page and shuffle them around to get an order that works for your combo of one- and two-page layouts.
TELL IT BY CATEGORY (& INCIDENT)
This approach is great for the kind of travel that takes you primarily to one locale. There’s limited sightseeing on this type of vacation, and it’s more about enjoying place, people, and activities. Maybe you’re visiting family or going camping, skiing or staying at a lakehouse.
With this kind of trip, it can be more efficient and present a better view of the whole event when the pages are structured around categories or logical groupings and have stories interspersed rather than sticking to a chronology of the visit.
1. REVIEW YOUR PHOTOS AND IDENTIFY YOUR CATEGORIES
Pull out your stack of photos or open up the folder with them in your photo browser on the computer. Identify the categories or logical groupings that immediately occur to you and label an index card for each one. You may toss some of these as your album develops, but, for now, just make those notes.
To come up with categories, ask yourself:
* who were the people?
* what was the locale like in general?
* was there a particular spot to which we frequently returned?
* what were the constants (i.e., repeated activities that might group together well)?
* what where the outings or activities that should be spotlighted?
* what were the stories?
2. ORGANIZE YOUR PHOTOS AROUND CATEGORIES
Group the photos for each category you’ve identified.
If you’re working with prints, you can move the physical photos around on the table with the index cards. If you’re working with photos on your computer in a photo organizer like Picassa or iPhoto or acdSee, move your photos around using tags or folders.
3. IDENTIFY LAYOUTS TO MAKE
Work your way through each category and its photos to identify the layouts you’d like to make—some categories may yield multiple scrapbook pages. Make an index card for each layout and label it with a “holding” title that may change. If you’re making a two-page layout, use two index cards so that you’ve got a mock-up of your album that makes it easy to visualize the order of pages. Label one card for your album opener layout and one for your album closer layout. As you work with your photos, keep an eye out for those that would work on the opener and closer pages of your album.
4. COME UP WITH A ROUGH ORDER FOR YOUR LAYOUTS IN THE ALBUM
Move the index cards representing your layouts around on the table to come up with an order that flows and tells the story of your vacation well. This is a “plan” but it’s not law. Let it evolve as you work, but also use it to keep yourself focused and creating. This way you’ll have that album completed well before the next vacation rolls around.
A PLAN HELPS YOU GET THE ALBUM FINISHED
Making a plan—even if you don’t totally stick to it in its original form—gives you the structure to get an album completed. Days when you’ve got just a bit of time to scrapbook, pull an index card, and make the layout it describes. You’ll be on your way to telling your vacation story.
ABOUT DEBBIE : Debbie Hodge shares scrapbook pages ideas, resources, and tutorials almost daily at her website Get It Scrapped! Her passion is showing you how to organize your memories and photos to make great-looking scrapbook pages that tell awesome (and hopefully meaningful) stories.