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Story Play | Photography | Imperfect Photos Still Tell Stories

This week we are celebrating photos as an integral piece in our memory keeping adventures. We've designated today as a day to celebrate imperfect photos! 

Do you have a layout that uses an imperfect photo as a "hero" photo or another example of a layout that uses "imperfect" photos to support your story? We'd love to see it! Share on social using #aeimperfectphotos.

What makes a photo "imperfect"?

  • It might be a technical issue. Too light or too dark. Too close or too far away. Strange color casting. Blurry or out of focus. 
  • It might be that you don't like the way you look in the photo. 
  • It might be that you snapped the photos a second or two too late and you missed a particular moment you wanted to capture. Maybe what you got was either right before or right after a "moment" you were trying to document. 
  • It might be an old photo that is simply a product of its time (color off, blurred, pixelated, etc). 
  • It might be those photos you snap to show someone something in your house - those quick ones you never think you'd use to tell a story. 
  • It might be that you are way too critical of your own photos (and potentially spending time comparing yourself with others).  

Imperfect photos will always be in the eye of the beholder. What you might think is imperfect I might see as totally creative and vice versa. Do you use "imperfect" photos? What do they look like in your memory keeping? 

When I think about using photos in memory keeping I'm often thinking about two things: 

  • Sometimes the photo is the hero of the story. It might be the jumping off point for the project/layout (a story spark) or it might be that it best supports a story I want to tell. Your hero photo may be your "favorite" of a series of photos or it might simply be an "imperfect" one you've chosen to go big with to emphasize your story. The beauty is that as the narrators of our own stories we get to choose which photos we use! 
  • Sometimes the photo(s) is simply supporting the story/words. In the case of what I'm sharing today the "imperfect" photos are all pieces of the overall story of my right now. 

As with so many parts of scrapbooking, there isn't a right or a wrong. What I hope to communicate today is that imperfect photos are something we all have and honestly, they are something to be celebrated because they are often so representative of our real lives. We don't live perfect lives. There are a million things that are imperfect about our existence and using imperfect photos simply helps to honor that part of our story. 


Go through some of your recent photo archives + deliberately pick photos that feel "imperfect" to you for whatever the reason. Use those - whether it's one photo or many - to tell a story about your life right now. I love being deliberate and intentional with photos like this and I let my desire to tell my stories win over any need/desire for "perfect" photos. 

Here's what I created using some recent "imperfect" photos. I love this idea of simply gathering a bunch of them together and going all in on them as a piece of your memory keeping adventures. 

Here's a quick process video with info on how to use the layered template in Photoshop that I've included for you below: 

Here's a look at my project via photos: 

For this project I used the digital version of one of the cards included in the Story Play Photography kit to create a layered template (download available for you below). I love using one card as a repeated element across my spread and detailing a bit about what each photo represents below the photo. This is totally something you could do a couple times a year - collect a series of recent imperfect shots and celebrate them by featuring them all together.  

You can download this layered template for use in Photoshop here.

When I was doing Project Life I feel like I included more photos like this in my weekly spreads. Some are snapshots, some are over-exposed, most are simply showing something about my everyday life right now. Each one tells a little micro story about this season. 



Tomorrow Ali and community members will be sharing additional ideas for documenting stories of photography using supplies from the Story Play Photography kit

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5 thoughts

  1. kimvanderveen says…

    Hi Ali
    I like this story play with photography so much. Thank you!
    Only your process video is on privat so I can’t see it…

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. totteacher says…

    Thank you for the freebie! yay! Makes telling stories even easier!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. daslebenistbunt says…

    Love that idea! Thanks for all the inspiration!
    Is it possible to use the template in canva?

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. DonnaV91 says…

    I don't feel comfortable with digital scrapbooking. I had to make copies of the 3x4 card onto cardstock and cut them out, and the I had to adhere the photos and write the details. Please don't assume that everyone likes or wants to do digital projects.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. janerichardson says…

    Great idea, thanks for sharing!

    Reply 0 Replies
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