words + photos : monday

Hello words + photos.
For me, this is really the heart of scrapbooking. When I look back through all my layouts the ones I love the most are the simple ones that really focus on just the photos + the words. As so many of us know, it is way too easy to get caught up in the latest & greatest product, the desire for more, and never feeling like you have "just the right thing" to complete your project.

This week I am going to consider the following: What if I used all my creative energy towards the words + the photos and forgot about the rest of the stuff for one week? Imagine if all that creative strength went into my story (or the way I take my photos) rather than worrying about matching patterned paper and choosing embellishments?

What if I just told the darn story?

Is it still scrapbooking if no "extra-stuff" is present? Of course it is.

Now there should be no doubt that I love to play with products. I love to be inspired by new (and old) stuff and enjoy the creative process of working with patterns and embellishments. By taking a week out to focus on the words + photos I am challenging myself to really pay closer attention to the way in which I tell my stories.

Want to play along?

To begin this week I want to introduce you to my favorite layout. What I love most about it is that it completely tells a story from point A to point B. There is a balance between the words + photos and the only other product on the page are some chipboard letters.


[ from my book Life Artist ]

I love this layout for the design and the concept. It is organized and graphic. There is nothing extra distracting from the subject at hand. The photos show a variety of different angles and distances. These photos are not perfect (especially the one of the three of us which was taken while holding my arm out and pointing down) but they capture our routine authentically and accurately. The colors, the chaos, the winding down, the emotion - it's all there in the photos with support coming from the words.

This is a layout I will look back on in ten years and treasure.

Another thing I love about the above layout is that it is a concept that can be repeated. If I was to complete another page on this same theme this week the story would be similar but different. The PJ's are different now (he has outgrown all the matching sets and now wears big boy pants + white t-shirts to bed), he is doing more things on his own, etc. This is an evolving story. A part of our story I want to tell.


Here's another favorite from a few years back:


[ from my book A Designer's Eye for Scrapbooking ]

Again, the focus is on the photos and the words. The photos are the "decoration" as well as the content. They could tell almost as much of the story even without the words. Choosing which photos to take and which to use (and/or enlarge) are a big part of the way in which I tell my stories.

The enlarged photo of the boots was printed on cardstock and the title was added in Photoshop.


And here's a new layout using 4x6 photos:


Each photo was printed using the "white border" option on my small portable Kodak printer. The words for this layout came directly from a blog post back in February 2007. As you may be able to see, I took photos of photos and photos of displays (as well as of the monuments + friends). So many things to capture in DC.

Again the emphasis here is on the photos + the words with just a bit of patterned paper and embellishments - those extras were added mainly because I had left too small of a space for any white bordered photos to fit where the "travel log" embellishment piece was placed.

I created variety with the photos by not lining them all up from one level to another. Also notice that there are no white borders around any of the edges of the layout - any photo that came in contact with the edge had the white border removed along that line.

Over the next couple of days I will go into more detail about the way I choose my photos and the way I choose my words. Come by tomorrow for my philosophy on taking photos and some fun ways to play with printing your photos (and a cool giveaway).


[ The full words + photos series can be found here: monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday. ]

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84 thoughts

  1. Gina Carvallo says…

    I think I will enjoyed this very much, I like your concept a lot! Forget all embellishments could be a real challenge to me. I will be here everyday.
    Thank you, you really inspire me.
    Regards from México!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Camille says…

    yeah so i just had to read this blogpost again... to really absorb it. again.
    so refreshing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. rani Shah says…

    Thank you for doing this; I am in such strong need of wordage for my layouts, I long to tell the story, but then when I do it, I get frustrated because of my handwriting or lazy about getting on the computer. I think I just need to realize different perspectives on this and really think about why I am doing this and what story do I have to tell,m share, leave for the legacy. Thanks Ali-looking forward to all you can impart and all I can take in!

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  4. Annette says…

    you are always such an inspiration. Love this idea. Comes at a perfect time since I', starting a photography class tomorrow. Hope to learn some stuff to take good photos. Thanks again for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Janet Ang says…

    Thank you so much for stressing the importance of how less "material things" can really be more, especially when it comes to documenting the really important things in life; Family, through words and pictures! I, too, have easily been trapped to buying more "scrap goodies" because they are fun and addicting... love it, want it, buy it, done.
    I'm looking forward to more suggestions from you regarding journaling.
    Pax et Bonum,

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  6. Mieke Duyck says…

    Once again, you teach me a valuable lesson: I totally agree that we need to go back to the essence of scrapbooking: capturing special memories and creating pages we will cherish over the years, without all those "trendy" (and therefore quickly dated!) embellishments!
    Thank you!

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  7. Amy Dow says…

    After a weekend of celebrating NSD with too much shopping...it's nice to rethink the purpose and just use the words and photos to get back to the "guts" of scrapbooking! I am not an artist AT ALL! I was an English major turned Teacher turned Mom and my purpose is simply that...to put words with photos for memory's sake. Thanks you for the time you put into your blog. There are many of us who really take in what you teach and appreciate your time and effort (especially when your time is so precious!)
    Thanks Ali, I will do my best to be a good student this week, and hopefully I will have some great layouts at the end of the week as my reward!
    Amy Dow

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  8. Bianca Alonso says…

    I'm LOVING this week! Thank you very much for sharing your ideas :)))

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  9. Water meters says…

    thanks so much for sharing this concept.

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